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Family of Killed Bronx Cyclist Demands DOT Finish Washington Bridge Bike Lane

New York City should be safe for working-class immigrant cyclists like Zenaido Rosas-Pinzon.

Photo: El Diario de los Deliveryboys en la Gran Manzana via Facebook|

Friends and delivery workers organized to gather donations for Zenaido Rosas-Pinzon’s family.

Family and friends of the cyclist who was killed by a driver on the Washington Bridge called on the city to finally make the span safe, after the Department of Transportation delayed a protected bike lane there that was supposed to open last fall.

Zenaido Rosas-Pinzon was run over by a driver on Thursday night on his way home from his job as a dishwasher in Manhattan, according to his brother, who hoped the city would at last make the connector less deadly with the overdue protected paths.

"It's a crowded route, people are coming to and from work. It’s necessary to have a lane that is especially for the bikes," Cruz Rosas-Ponzon told Streetsblog in Spanish. "We hope to find justice."

In 2022, DOT promised to turn the bridge's outermost car lane on the north side into a two-way bike path with jersey barriers. At the time, officials said the work would be completed by the summer or fall of 2023. But some six months past that schedule, the path is still under construction and agency reps said it won't be done until this summer.

Rosas-Ponzon, 30, and his brother both biked to work at a restaurant in Manhattan, with the surviving sibling saying they rode because they thought the trains were too dangerous at night.

Zenaido Rosas-Pinzón seen on a different span over the Harlem River near the one on which he was killed. The family has set up a Go Fund Me page to help with funeral costs.Family photo

The victim had immigrated from Xalpatlahuac, a city in the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero, according to a Facebook group for delivery workers called El Diario de los Deliveryboys en la Gran Manzana.

He wasn't a delivery worker, but the group and neighbors have rallied around his death to raise funds for his funeral and to repatriate his body to his family in Mexico.

"The bike was Zenaido's transportation, his way of getting to work," said Antonio Romano, who runs a car wash uptown. Romano has been supporting fundraising for the victim's family out of his car wash van on Amsterdam Avenue and W. 157th Street in Washington Heights this week.

"We are here as his friends and family collecting money for the funeral expenses," he said.

Friends also set up a GoFundMe to help Rosas-Ponzon's family reunite with his remains.

DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez has often talked about the importance of getting more working-class immigrant New Yorkers on bikes, citing his own immigration story coming to the Big Apple from the Dominican Republic decades ago — and even working as a dishwasher, like Rosas-Ponzon before his untimely death.

A delivery worker and organizer with the group Los Deliveristas Unidos said it was crucial the city improve the bike infrastructure for their safety and that of cyclists in general.

"There is a very serious problem of infrastructure across the city, in Queens, in Brooklyn. They don't have enough barriers to protect deliveristas," said William Medina.

The Washington Bridge is one of 11 uptown spans DOT earmarked in a 2018 report to better connect cyclists and pedestrians in the Bronx and northern Manhattan, but the blueprints have been slow to yield results. A bike lane on the Broadway Bridge in Inwood, for example, won't happen until a larger rehab wraps in 2027.

The delays have been deadly, said the safe streets advocacy group Transportation Alternatives in a post on social media Wednesday.

DOT did open up a bus lane on the other side of the bridge last year, and cyclists often use that red-painted lane instead of squeezing into the narrow pedestrian path on the shoulder. Rosas-Ponzon was riding on that side of the bridge too when, according to cops, he "lost control" and fell into the road where the motorist then struck him.

The bike lane, seen on May 28, was supposed to be done last fall.Photo: Lucia Deng

The protected bike lane was still blocked off with barriers and littered with construction equipment Tuesday, and DOT blamed the delay on "complexities" of building on that span — though the agency has certainly constructed protected bike lanes on other bridges, most successfully the Brooklyn Bridge, along with the Pulaski Bridge.

An agency spokesman defended DOT's record on making streets safer for delivery workers and riders in low-income neighborhoods, citing their e-bike charging pilot, wider bike lanes to accommodate varying speeds, and expansions of the bike network in the Bronx.

"We offer our deepest condolences for the loved ones of Zenaido Rosas-Pinzon and this horrible crash is a reminder of why we work relentlessly to deliver safer streets for all New Yorkers," said Vin Barone. "DOT has installed a record number of bike lanes in recent years, focusing explicitly on expanding our bike infrastructure to support e-bikes and delivery workers."

He also reminded that DOT roadwork, including painting of bike lanes, cannot be done in the winter. And the agency continues to tout its commitment to equity by prioritizing new projects in high density neighborhoods "with higher non-white populations and without a deeper history of past projects."

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