Bayonne Bridge Bike-Ped Path Opens — With No Safe Way to Get There

The Goethals Bridge pathway, meanwhile, is set to open "in the coming weeks" — once the Port Authority and DOT figure out a safe route for cyclists.

The Bayonne Bridge. Photo: Vince DiMiceli (with a portion of his hand)
The Bayonne Bridge. Photo: Vince DiMiceli (with a portion of his hand)

The Bayonne Bridge’s new bicycle and pedestrian path opened on Friday after nearly a year of delays — providing a non-auto link between Staten Island and New Jersey for the first time in six years.

The 12-foot-wide shared-use path connects Trantor Place in Staten Island to John F. Kennedy Boulevard in Bayonne. It’s the first time since the bridge’s former path was shuttered in 2013 that people can get off the Rock without a car or boat. The new path replaces a bike and ped route that was notoriously narrow with low railings.

“When I was in high school, I used to go on the old bridge all the time. The railings were super low, the path was a lot more narrow back then,” said Transportation Alternatives Staten Island organizer Rose Uscianowski.

For years, the Bayonne Bridge was the only way to get off of Staten Island by foot or by bike. That will change “in the coming weeks,” according to Port Authority spokesperson Steve Coleman, when a similar path opens on the Goethals Bridge, which connects Richmond County (aka Staten Island) with Union County (aka what people who trash talk New Jersey are typically talking about).

The Goethals pathway’s opening is delayed until the Port Authority and city DOT figure out a safe way for cyclists to access it, Coleman said. Its terminus currently opens out onto a three-lane one-way street that leads to a shipping terminal.

The end of the sidewalk at Goethals Bridge. The entrance to the bicycle path is past the overpass on the left, about 100 yards away and across three lanes of traffic. Photo: Vince DiMiceli
No man’s land: This is the roadway leading to the new, but still unopened, bike path on the Goethals Bridge. The entrance to the bicycle path is roughly where the SUV is in the photo above. The city DOT has not yet figured out how to get cyclists safely to the bridge across three lanes of traffic. Photo: Vince DiMiceli

But accessing the Bayonne Bridge isn’t much better. The pathway opens onto Trantor Place: a two-way road with curbside parking and narrow sidewalks. Like every street in Staten Island, there are no protected bike lanes.

“In terms of infrastructure, there’s nothing. You feel like you’re in New Jersey,” said Uscianowski, who grew up in nearby Graniteville. “Coming from the bridge. There are no dedicated bike lanes. There are no paths at all.”

The Bayonne Bridge pathway's terminus on Trantor Place.
The Bayonne Bridge pathway ends here on Trantor Place. Good luck, cyclists! Photo: Vince DiMiceli

To improve conditions for cyclists, Uscianowski and other advocates of the so-called “Harbor Ring” greenway around New York Harbor have pushed for a greenway along the island’s North Shore [PDF] — either along Richmond Terrace or along rail tracks the MTA is considering using for bus rapid transit.

The Port Authority and DOT insist they’re working on it.

“We continue to work cooperatively with Bayonne and New York City to enhance the connections between our shared use path and the surrounding communities for those who cross the spans on foot or by bicycle,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said in a statement.

“We are excited about the new pedestrian and bike paths on the Bayonne Bridge and the Goethals Bridge,” said DOT spokesperson Lolita Avila. “We are currently developing plans and will continue to have discussions with Port Authority on how we can safely connect the paths to the street network.”

With Vince DiMiceli

  • HamTech87

    “either along Richmond Terrace or along rail tracks the MTA is considering using for bus rapid transit”
    Let’s make sure it is Rails AND Trails, and not displacing transit.

  • One of most helpful post.

  • redbike

    But accessing the Bayonne Bridge isn’t much better. The pathway opens onto Trantor Place: a two-way road with curbside parking and narrow sidewalks.

    This is disingenuous. Yep, Trantor Place at the Staten Island entrance to the Bayonne Bridge pedpath is two-way; that two-way status extends — all of 1½ blocks south of the pedpath entrance. The rest of Trantor Place is one-way. Restricting motor vehicle speed, there’s a public school adjacent to the two-way segment and another public school about a block north.

    Is this ideal? Perhaps not. Could it be improved? Perhaps.

    I biked the bridge pedpath Sunday 26 May. Access to the Staten Island entrance of the Bayonne Bridge pedpath is safe, easy, and unimpeded. Dunno whether it was folks checking out the newly opened pedpath or the excellent weather, but (apart from group rides) I saw more folks today — on bikes and on foot — enjoying the pedpath than cumulatively on all my previous visits.

  • Narrow Sidewalks can create problem but this connection bridge will be very helpful.

  • steve

    so they are thinking about this now?
    Just extend the side walk on Goethals road north ,down to western avenue .
    That wouild go a long way to getting closer to the gate from Forest ave. .
    Then look to your left and when there is no traffic , you cross over .
    You could see if any cars are coming 1000 ft away. It’s not that hard .
    Maybe put a light with a button that actually works when you press it, also.
    What would this cost ? 1 tenth of 1 percent of what the bridge cost . geez!

  • Sapkal Kalpesh
  • Lester

    There is a safe way for pedestrians and cyclists to get to the Goethals Bridge walkway on Staten Island. It is a workaround to avoid the railroad underpass and dead end sidewalk on Goethals Road North; pedestrians and cyclists can take Richmond Terrace all the way to Western Ave, then follow Western Ave until the traffic light with Goethals Road North. From there, the sidewalk can be followed to the walkway entrance. It’s a simple suggestion for the PANYNJ and NYC DOT to implement and keep everyone safe. Makes us wonder why this is taking so long.

  • steve

    I posted about a month ago , and still can’t believe that nobody after years of planning and what , a billion and a half dollars later, and nobody thought about this . That’s beyond breathtaking. . But whatever. All they have to do is extend the sidewalk down to Western Avenue on Goethals road north from right before the train bridge . At that point you just wait for the light to turn and cross the street and walk up to the path , It’s that easy. Sure you have to over shoot it and backtrack , but it’s safe. Let’s face it , most people are going to either bike or take a vehicle. I have been by there a thousand times with no problem on a bike . Imo, very few people will walk there , being that it is kinda out of the way , unlike the Bayonne bridge path. If you are taking a vehicle there , just park on Gulf Avenue , walk under the bridge and cross over when the light turns and up to the path.
    Most bikers i believe will figure it out regardless , Walkers like i mentioned will take the side walk (if they extend it) or when they get to the point where they are across from the path can cross over , but if you are uncomfortable with that , just walk down to Western Avenue , cross over and up to the path.It’s like a thousand foot of sidewalk, I think they could handle that . Geez!

  • md arman

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  • Mark

    Protected bike lane for Trantor Place – seriously? Is it really that scary just to ride in the existing street there?

    Plus, the Harbor Ring sounds nice but it shouldn’t be necessary to have to wait for that whole project just to have bridge access. I say put in bridge access and if the bigger project comes later, bring it all together then.

  • Mark

    “‘When I was in high school, I used to go on the old bridge all the time. The railings were super low, the path was a lot more narrow back then,’ said Transportation Alternatives Staten Island organizer Rose Uscianowski”

    Not only that, but keep in mind that the second half (in either direction) was big-tome downhill. So, picture flying down that hill just a couple of feet from the low railing (it came up to just above your knees on a bike, if I recall), but coming toward SI it also had a serious curve to the left. I did that in high school a bunch of times too; nowadays I don’t think I’d be able to stomach it

    Not only that, going toward Bayonne, you’d be coming down off the hill and the path just suddenly ends at the top of a flight of stairs with no warning. So if you weren’t paying full attention, well, condolences….

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