Summer 2003, p.2

Cycling News
DOT to T.A.: No Safety Improvements for Manhattan Bridge

The DOT refuses to install its own 1996 plan for signs and signals to make the Jay Street Manhattan Bridge entrance safe.
In a June meeting, the Department of Transportation rejected T.A.'s urgent plea to the agency to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety at the Jay Street entrance to the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge. T.A. and many Brooklyn elected officials have urged the DOT for over a year to install the agency's own scheme to make the location safer. The 1996 plan includes permanent stop signs, pedestrian signs and a crosswalk. Once constructed, these measures would alert motorists exiting the bridge and driving on Jay Street to the presence of bicyclists and pedestrians, greatly improving their safety. 

In spite of their own admission of the need for change, DOT officials say that there is too much bridge traffic to make Jay Street safer. In other words, the DOT believes that the flow of traffic is more important than the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians at the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge. 

Instead of making the Jay Street path entrance more secure, the DOT obtusely insists that cyclists and pedestrians take an absurd quarter-mile detour that requires cyclists to walk their bikes for a half a block or ride on the sidewalk. In July, T.A. surveyed 113 cyclists and pedestrians crossing the Manhattan Bridge and found that one hundred of the people surveyed (88%) get to the bridge path via Jay Street and zero (0%) by the DOT recommended route. The remaining thirteen people (12%) approach the bridge from the north, using neither Jay Street nor the DOT's route.

Because of the way the Manhattan Bridge cuts across the street grid, Jay Street is the most popular and direct walking and cycling route to the bridge's path. More importantly, the street will continue to be the most popular route after the permanent bicycle path on the east side of the bridge opens in the next few years.

Join T.A. and City Councilmember David Yassky, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and State Senator Marty Connor by writing to DOT Commissioner Weinshall and asking her to make the Brooklyn Side of the Manhattan Bridge safe and accessible for bicyclists and pedestrians. 

Commissioner Iris Weinshall 
NYC DOT 
40 Worth Street 
New York, NY 10013

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