Bridge Access Safety Crisis Continues as the DOT Fails to Fix 6 of 8 Entrances
Biking and walking to and from the city's four East River bridges can be scary, dangerous and confusing. The big bridges carry an enormous amount of traffic and the Department of Transportation is under tremendous pressure to move cars in and out of Manhattan as quickly as possible. This means that any changes that have the potential to reduce traffic capacity near the bridges are automatically rejected by the DOT traffic engineers. In other words, the safety of cyclists and pedestrians using the bridges is less important to the DOT than moving cars.
This is wrong and the DOT can and should do better. After all, the DOT has already significantly improved cycling and pedestrian access to the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges using new signage, signal timing, bike lanes, crosswalks and a modestly priced reconstruction of a traffic island. Unfortunately, despite numerous written requests and meetings with T.A., the DOT has no plans to make improvements to the other six bridge entrances, the worst of which are the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge and the Manhattan side of the Queensboro Bridge.
The DOT should convene a taskforce of bicycle, pedestrian, bridge and traffic planners and engineers to work on making the popular routes to the bridges safe and easy to use. Some of the entrances to the paths may require capital investments, which is all the more reason that the proposed DOT bridge taskforce should start making plans and funding requests now. Commissioner Weinshall, please do something to help bicyclists and pedestrians get safely to and from the East River bridges-now.
Note: If the DOT does not like these recommendations, then it should use creativity and initiative to develop its own plans for safe bridge access.
In May, T.A. protested the DOT's plan to widen an exit ramp of the Shore Parkway and create a "free" right turn lane, allowing cars going to the Caesar's Bay Bazaar shopping mall to turn continuously across the Bay Parkway entrance to the Shore Parkway Greenway, putting thousands of path users in danger each day.
Write to Commissioner Iris Weinshall and urge the DOT to work with the Parks Department to ensure safe human access to the Shore Parkway Greenway at Bay Parkway.