Trottenberg: Dedicated Queensboro Bridge Bike Path “on the Agenda”

With Con Ed work routinely shutting down the bridge's sole bicycle and pedestrian path overnight, DOT is looking at repurposing the south outer roadway for active transportation.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. Photo: David Meyer
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. Photo: David Meyer

DOT is looking into ways to provide better biking and walking access across the Queensboro Bridge, where the sole car-free path has been off-limits at night for much of the past two years, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said yesterday.

Since the end of 2015, Con Ed work has frequently closed off nighttime access to the bike-ped path on the bridge’s north outer roadway. For New Yorkers who use the path at night — many of whom are getting to and from late work shifts — Con Ed supplies an inefficient and time-consuming shuttle bus, which can add 45 minutes to the trip.

When the nighttime closures started, advocates called on DOT to allow biking and walking on the bridge’s south outer roadway, which is closed to car traffic at night.

Queens advocates also want a long-term fix for the crowding on the bridge path during peak hours, when the shared right of way gets packed with walkers and bikers. They’ve started a petition to open both outer roadways, with one dedicated to biking and the other to walking.

After yesterday’s car-free Prospect Park press conference, I asked Trottenberg whether the agency would open the south outer roadway to biking and walking during the Con Ed closures. She said the agency has heard those concerns. “We’re sympathetic, and we are going to study it.”

DOT is also considering a permanent arrangement where bikers and walkers each get a separate path. “We are going to be studying what would be feasible in terms of dedicated use for cycling,” she said. “It’s on the agenda.”

Trottenberg anticipates more closures on the north outer roadway in the near future, this time for DOT repair work, which makes the need for an effective alternative even more urgent. But agency officials remain concerned about potentially unsafe traffic conditions at the foot of the south outer roadway, which has been closed to traffic overnight since a series of fatal crashes in 2011.

  • Vincent Howland

    anyone ever talk about the lack of access to the Whitestone Bridge? that’s the one that gets me.

  • van_vlissingen

    If you’d like to take on that campaign, the TA Eastern Queens committee would probably support you.
    FWIW There was bike access to the BWB until it needed to be re-engineered because of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster.

  • Vincent Howland

    Alright, I’ll look into it. I’m on the Bronx side, but good to know there’s support over there.

  • van_vlissingen

    If you’re in the BX, it might be easier to work with the TABx committee. Maybe gauge their interest. I bet both TABx & TAEQ would be into this.

  • J

    Why does it take two f***ing years to get this “on the agenda”? Maintaining basic access on critical pieces of infrastructure is a core function of DOT. Glad it’s happening now, but the long delay really shows the low priority they place on cycling.

  • Simon Phearson

    Oh, for crying out loud. More closures, after Con Ed’s done, for DOT work? Couldn’t they have coordinated this a bit differently?

    I bike-commute over this bridge. Unlike many who rely on it, my work is sufficiently flexible that I can arrange to come home before they close off the path, but I can definitely say that the overnight closures have cost me real productivity at work and have impacted my willingness to stay in the city for after-work events (because I always have to think about getting my bike home).

  • Adrian Horczak

    Halleluja!!! This is the fix we need for the congestion and nighttime closures! It will be great when this happens, but let’s make sure there is no stupid U-turn at the Manhattan entrance.

  • Gino

    We need more people to sign the trans alt petition to open the south outer roadway!!!


Without access to the north outer roadway, cyclists have to either wait for a circuitous shuttle bus or find another way over the bridge. Photo: Angela Stach

DOT Has Closed the Queensboro Bridge Bike/Ped Path Overnight for 16 of the Past 24 Months

The Queensboro Bridge bike/ped path has been closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for 16 of the last 24 months while ConEdison conducts electrical repair work. Currently, a six-week closure that began on May 21 is making nighttime trips especially difficult for working cyclists. Despite the regularity of the closures, DOT still hasn't worked out a reasonable alternative for people who count on overnight access to the path.

Cyclists Press DOT for Night-Time Access to Queensboro Bridge

Najee says: C’mon @NYC_DOT, QBB is a commuter bridge day&NIGHT, don’t make getting 2 night work so hard. @transalt — Angela Stach (@radlerkoenigin) April 28, 2016 The Queensboro Bridge biking and walking path could be closed for construction on weeknights for months, cutting off access at times when many people still use it. Members of Transportation […]