Get Ready For a Very Uncomfortable Year on the Brooklyn Bridge

There’s crowded, and then there’s the Brooklyn Bridge on a nice warm day with construction fencing off half the walking and biking path. Image: DOT

Just as the weather warms and tourists once again mob the Brooklyn Bridge to admire the skyline and snap some photos, DOT has announced that construction work will narrow the one place on the bridge path that’s even remotely close to comfortably wide.

The maintenance work involves “steel improvements at tower locations as well as structural joint repair on the Brooklyn approach.” For people walking and biking on the bridge path, that will mean squeezing around construction fences blocking off one side of each tower.

Nowhere to pause for photos, nowhere to not be in the way of other people. Image: DOT
Image: DOT

During overnight hours, part of the Brooklyn side of the path will also be halved.  The closures, which are more intrusive than previous construction barriers, will be in place through December. Additionally, between April 6 and April 20 DOT will close half the Manhattan approach during overnight hours.

This doesn't work for anybody. Photo: Stephen Miller
This doesn’t work for anybody. Photo: Stephen Miller

Making matters worse, NYPD continues to park its Interceptor vehicles on the bridge path, as it has since the department was embarrassed by a pair of German artists who climbed the bridge towers to install white flags last year.

There’s only one way to make this situation bearable: Convert one of the bridge’s car lanes to a bikeway for the summer and see what happens.

  • celticfrostythesnowman

    I think it’d be a fair assumption that toll equity among East River crossings, e.g. congestion pricing, would shift a good deal of motorists from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Battery Tunnel, which has direct BQE & West Side Highway access. No numbers on this, though.

  • Solo500

    The double parked “interceptors” need to be made more useful. Perhaps they can stock bike parts and fresh fruit drinks. / Amen to making BB all pedestrian and opening up a dedicated, protected bike lane on the roadway.

  • dave “paco” abraham

    Has anyone heard from T.A. or CM’s Lander, Chin, or Levin, to follow up on their old proposal for expanding the space there? http://www.streetsblog.org/2012/08/07/council-members-propose-widening-brooklyn-bridge-bikeped-path/

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Motor Traffic Is down from 147,000 Cars per Day to 97,000 Cars per Day in 2014.

    The bike/ped Route Is over capacity.

    no Brainer to convert one ( or even 2 ) motor lanes to bike lanes, removing bikes from conflict with walkers.

    congestion would be reduced, plus more people would cross

  • urban_wanderer

    The bikers take up too much space on the Brooklyn Bridge walkway. It should be a pedestrian walkway. It’s a popular tourist bridge and bikers just can’t speed across it. They should go on the Williamsburg or Manhattan bridges. The other alternative is to create a dedicated bike lane somewhere on the bridge, as the article suggests. Right now, crossing the bridge is an intolerable experience for everybody.

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