Mounting pressure from T.A. and a bevy of elected officials, community groups and bridge users has prompted the DOT to reexamine bicyclist and pedestrian safety on the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge. In September, the DOT told Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz that it is studying the intersection of the Manhattan Bridge off-ramp and Jay Street. To the DOT's credit, this fresh look at Manhattan Bridge access is a one-hundred-eighty-degree switch from its position in June, when the agency rejected T.A.'s request for safety improvements. Markowitz, City Councilmember Yassky, State Senator Connor, Recycle-A-Bicycle, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition and the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Taskforce all called on the DOT to make bridge access safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
In July, T.A., with the help of students from Recycle-A-Bicycle, surveyed 190 Manhattan Bridge path users and found that 80% use Jay Street (from Downtown Brooklyn and points south) to get to the bridge's bicycle and pedestrian path, 20% come from Sands Street and the north and 0% walk or bike on the DOT's signed route, which takes a quarter-mile detour from Jay Street to Tillary Street to the Adams Street service road to Sands and back to Jay to the path.
Next year, when the DOT opens a second path on east side of the Manhattan Bridge, the vast majority of bicyclists will use Jay Street to access the new path. The entrance to the new path will be on southeast corner of Sands and Jay Streets and, unless the DOT makes safety improvements, bicyclists and pedestrians will still have to contend with the dangerous motorists who race down the Manhattan Bridge's off-ramp onto Jay Street.
Write to DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall to thank the DOT for conducting a new survey and ask her agency to make it safe to walk and bike to the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge.
Iris Weinshall, Commissioner