Eyes on the Street: Pulaski Bridge Bikeway Looks Ready for a Ribbon-Cutting

Update: A DOT spokesperson tells Streetsblog that while finishing touches are being made, cyclists should follow the posted signage, which directs them to the shared pedestrian-bike path on the west side of the bridge. The new protected lane will be “unveiled” later this week.

It hasn’t officially opened, but you can ride on DOT’s long-awaited Pulaski Bridge bike lane linking northern Brooklyn and western Queens. Word is that a ribbon-cutting is set for the end of this week.

Over the weekend, Twitter and the Streetsblog inbox lit up with alerts that the path is rideable, though there are still cones and signs at both ends marking the bike lane as closed.

The Pulaski project has been in the works since 2012, when Assembly Member Joe Lentol requested that DOT explore the possibility of converting a car lane to a protected bike path so pedestrians and cyclists could have some breathing room instead of sharing a narrow, cramped pathway. The bikeway advanced in fits and starts since then, and after some delays it’s finally here, separated from car traffic by concrete barriers and a metal fence.

It’s not every day that part of a six-lane bridge gets repurposed from motor vehicle traffic to make room for biking and walking. The Pulaski bikeway points the way forward for bigger crossings like the Queensboro Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge where cyclists and pedestrians are an afterthought, jammed together on paths without enough space to move comfortably. We’ll have a full report when the new path officially opens.

Access to the new bike path is (technically) still prohibited. Image: @DataVizier
Access to the new bike path is (technically) barred for the time being. Photo: @DataVizier
Photo: Michael Bonetti
Photo: Michael Bonetti
  • Robert Wright

    I went over twice on Friday. On my northbound journey, I was put off by the cones. But, on my way back, I rode on the new bikeway. It’s such a huge improvement compared with what was there before.

    But, while I’m happy this is finally open, there’s another point to make. It has taken four years to get this work done. It’s not the simplest piece of cycling infrastructure. But it’s not the most challenging piece of work. If it takes this long for work to be done, what hope is there for the development of a decent, comprehensive cycle network?

  • J

    True. We’ll never get there with one-off projects. We need a higher level planning effort to create a network. It could be at the city-level, the borough level, or even the neighborhood level, but it needs to focus on the tools that work: protected bike lanes, off street bicycle paths, and bicycle boulevards (which NYCDOT has yet to implement). This is what Seattle did at the city level, and NYC should do the same.

  • AnoNYC

    DOT has at least been focusing on the most dangerous bottlenecks like bridges. Almost every bridge in NYC will be very bikeable within two years. Pulaski was just the beginning, almost all of the Harlem River ridges are going to get similar treatment. Either removing an automotive moving lane, cantilevered, or a reconfigured pedestrian path.

    I agree though that implementation has been way too slow. The outer boroughs really need more artery reconfigurations (e.g. Queens Blvd). I think that would make a real difference because you get a long distance low-stress ride.

  • Word today was that cones were up, vehicles were in the lanes and people were working on the bridge.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Finishing touches, perhaps.

  • Vooch

    At high level, we could be advocating for a DOT mandate of 50 miles of protected bike lanes per year ($25 million). It should be an easy sell, after all would take a decade at 50 miles annually to install 500 miles on the city’s 6,300 miles of streets.

    the current DOT mandate is only 5 miles per year.

    However in 2016 they are building 16 miles of protected bike lanes.

  • Reader

    The bigger problem is that simple things like painted bike lanes – projects that require no infrastructure changes – have to go through community board review. That process is what’s really broken and holding NYC back.

  • vnm

    Hopefully.

  • david

    Looks like they are figuring out what to do on the drawbridge section. This morning they were putting orange rods at that area. There is about a 8 inch drop off from the bike path to the walking path. The fence by the edge leading to the water is not at the same height as the rest of the bridge either.

  • I have heard from a few people they were pouring concrete in some areas today. If so, the bridge won’t officially be open for a few days at minimum.

  • As a person who was hit by a fixie riding asshat from behind and knocked down (cracking a hip, knee and elbow on the rain covered pavement) on my onto the walkway from behind like a Mexican surprise party, this GOOD FUCKING NEWS.

  • KeNYC2030

    After the Pulaski, the Brooklyn.

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