Here’s the DOT Plan to Make the Bronx Side of the Madison Ave Bridge Less Terrifying

The project would add safer pedestrian crossings and a short stretch of bike lanes protected by flexible posts at the foot of the Madison Avenue Bridge in the Bronx. Image: DOT
The project would add safer pedestrian crossings and a short stretch of bike lanes protected by flexible posts at the foot of the Madison Avenue Bridge in the Bronx. Image: DOT

A stretch of 138th Street linking the Bronx to Manhattan is in line for walking and biking improvements from DOT. The project would add bike lanes and safer pedestrian crossings to the blocks between the Madison Avenue Bridge and Third Avenue [PDF].

Currently 138th Street has painted bike lanes east of Third Avenue, but the segment approaching the bridge is a free-for-all of excess asphalt, with dangerous crossings and no bike lanes.

“If you’re coming down Grand Concourse and you’re going to turn onto 138th Street, nothing is identified there,” said Transportation Alternatives Bronx committee co-chair Kevin Daloia. “There’s no identifiable crosswalks, no identifiable bike paths. It’s a very busy area. The intersections there are very wide.”

DOT has sketched out 40 potential projects to improve the often scary walking and biking connections to the 16 bridges connecting Manhattan and the Bronx, and this is one of them.

At the foot of the Madison Avenue Bridge, where traffic is most intense, the project calls for a short stretch of bike lanes protected by flexible posts, as well as more direct marked crosswalks leading to the bridge and painted expansions of sidewalks and pedestrian medians.

Between Walton Avenue and Third Avenue, the bike lanes would be unprotected, and pedestrian crossings would be improved with painted markings and three concrete islands. At the southern end of the Grand Concourse, DOT also proposed pedestrianizing a semi-circular driveway outside the Fince del Sur Farm.

The proposal would pedestrianize this semi-circular roadway outside the Fince del Sur urban farm. Image: DOT
This semi-circular driveway outside the Fince del Sur urban farm would be converted to pedestrian space. Image: DOT

A related improvement considered at DOT’s Harlem River access workshops last year would add protected bike lanes to the Madison Avenue Bridge roadway. That would be a more resource-intensive capital project going through DOT’s bridges division.

DOT said last spring that it would release the final Harlem River Bridge Access Plan in the fall, but the document has yet to materialize.

  • vnm

    This is excellent. One last thing I hope they can take the opportunity to tackle is that there’s a pretty deep curb separating the southern sidewalk of the Madison Avenue Bridge from the roadway. So people maneuvering bikes or pushcarts have a hard time navigating that. Wheelchairs would be impossible. (The north sidewalk is fine, it has a curb cut leading smoothly to the asphalt.)

  • J

    Am I missing something or does this project propose 3 westbound lanes leading onto a bridge with only 2 westbound lanes? Seems like a recipe for disaster.

  • AnoNYC

    There’s a rarely used road alongside the bridge, I guess the third lane is for that. You’re right that it shouldn’t have a moving lane configured there. It creates confusion and conflicts at the bridge entrance (where 99.9% of traffic is headed).

  • J

    Oh, maybe there’s an exclusive signal phase for that movement. It’s not exactly clear in the presentation, though.

  • vnm

    Right now it’s not an exclusive phase. On the green phase for westbound traffic from 138th, motor vehicles can either keep to the left for the bridge or keep to the right for the stub-ended street that leads you to a storage place or under the bridge and back around to eastbound.

  • AMH

    YES, I got a pretty sore ass the first time I rode off the bridge and didn’t realize it was a huge drop-off in time to stop.


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