Spring 2005, p.8

Cycling News: Bridges
The Fix is in for the Willy B Bumps

The fix is in for Williamsburg Bridge bumps.

Last fall T.A. magazine reported the results of our survey of Williamsburg Bridge users, which found that one in four bridge users have crashed on the bridge’s 26 hazardous expansion joint covers, better known as “the bumps.”

In February, when T.A. made these findings public in a report titled, “A Bridge to Scar,” the response was resounding: several media stories resulted and new powerful allies including advocates for disabled persons’ rights joined the fight. Most importantly, the study, resultant media and the tireless work of T.A. volunteers encouraged a throng of anti-bump activists to attend a key community board meeting. Thanks to the enormous turnout, Community Board Three voted to call on the NYC Department of Transportation to create a plan to replace the hazardous bumps on the Williamsburg Bridge path.

DOT or duh? Stating the obvious will not prevent crashes on the Williamsburg Bridge path.
DOT or duh? Stating the obvious will not prevent crashes on the Williamsburg Bridge path.

Representatives from the DOT agreed to study options for replacing the “bent plate” expansion joint covers and report back to the Community Board with solutions to make the path safer for walkers, bikers and disabled people. By studying the replacement options, it is implied that the DOT will implement the safest alternative to the existing two-inch high metal bumps. Several bridge engineers with whom T.A. has consulted are unequivocal on two key points: one, the bumps are in clear violation of ADA guidelines, and two, there are affordable alternatives that are much smoother and less steep.

No timeframe was given, but T.A. estimates that it will take three to four months for the DOT to come back to the Community Board with possible solutions. In the meantime, the DOT has erected several confusing signs enjoining cyclists to “Ride Straight Crossing Bump.”

Over 3,000 people use the Williamsburg Bridge each day, and T.A. asks that everyone bike and walk across it safely and responsibly. Speeding down the bridge path can endanger walkers and other bikers. And, though the majestic views are captivating, please remember to be aware of other bridge users walking and biking past you.

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