Fall 2002, p.4

DOT Waiting for Cyclist to Be Killed on Brooklyn Side of Manhattan Bridge

Official DOT policy: Ignore reality and pretend cyclists will take 1/4 mile detour and dismount.In a city of monster potholes and crazed cabbies, it takes a lot to rattle veteran cyclists. But even the most seasoned riders agree that the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge is frightening and unsafe. The 200 cyclists and pedestrians exiting the bridge path each evening during rush hour brave on-rushing traffic on Jay Street. Rather than improving conditions on Jay Street, the DOT erected signs guiding path users on a circuitous, quarter mile long route, which requires bicyclists to dismount for a block. Not surprisingly, this route is ignored by 99% of path users. T.A. has implored the DOT to make Jay Street safer--a traffic light is one option--in correspondence dating back to 1992. When it comes to the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge, the DOT is clearly putting the flow of motor traffic before the safety and well-being of bicyclists and pedestrians.

The DOT's position makes no sense. Jay Street is the most logical route to the Manhattan Bridge. The official NYC Cycling Map shows Jay Street as the "Recommended on-street route" to the bridge path. In the summer of 2001, the DOT installed a crosswalk, a blinking red light, stop signs and a stop line at the Manhattan entrance to the bridge. These signs and markings have made a noticeable difference in the safety of cyclists and pedestrians crossing the bridge. Now, the DOT must make similar improvements on the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge.

DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall
40 Worth Street
NYC 10013


Cyclists who asked the DOT to make the Bridge's Brooklyn side safer received this dismaying e-mail answer:

Dear Client,
Last year our Director of Traffic Operations looked into the issues you have addressed regarding the safety of bicycle riders exiting onto Jay Street from the Manhattan Bridge. It was determined that the current bicycle route was the safest route. Suggestions for a mid-street crosswalk, traffic light, stop signs and curb cuts have been investigated and it has been determined that they would not be appropriate. The final bike path across the Manhattan Bridge will be ready in 2004, and it will be handicapped accessible.
Customer Service, NYCDOT

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