March/April 1998, p.4

Skid-Free QBB

Read the latest news about this issue.

For the hundreds of cyclists who have wiped out on the Queensboro Bridge over the years, suffering broken limbs, serious lacerations and worse, T.A. has uplifting news. After years of pressuring the DOT to install a non-skid surface on the Queensboro Bridge bike/ped path, T.A. last month won a written commitment from the agency to do just that. During reconstruction, the agency will replace the treacherous steel grid decks on both the north and south outer roadways with concrete filled grating treated with a skid resistant "microsurfacing overlay." Until now, Queensboro cyclists have been forced to negotiate the elemental incompatibility between rubber tires and slick metal whenever even the slightest mist covered the bridge path. "It's deadly. I've seen so many people take spills-myself included. I'm surprised the city hasn't been sued," says T.A. member and QBB commuter James Langergaard. Happily, those days will soon be gone.

Still missing, however, is a written commitment from the DOT that the completed bridge path will be open for use by cyclists and pedestrians twenty-four hours a day. The permanent path is due in Fall 1999, when both north and south outer roadways will have been rebuilt and when the DOT will decide where to locate the path. Title 23, para.109 of U.S. Code for Highways forbids "any project . . . that results in the severance of an existing major route[s] for nonmotorized transportation traffic . . . unless such project provides a reasonably alternate route or such route exists." But the DOT could be planning to sever the Queensboro route for part of the day, as is done now by forcing cyclists and walkers to be carried on the shuttle bus.
Dozens of T.A. members wrote local elected officials in February, asking them to press for a DOT guarantee to cyclists and walkers of full-time path use. Council member Tom Duane told DOT that accommodating full-time bicycle and foot travel over the bridge was essential to "any comprehensive policy regarding transportation . . . to encourage alternatives to vehicular transit . . . [to] ease traffic congestion." Congress members Carolyn Maloney and Charles Schumer have also pressed the agency to respond to calls for full-time use of the bridge.

Ask your elected officials to urge DOT to commit in writing to a twenty-four hour bike/ped path on the Queensboro Bridge.

Queens Borough President Claire Shulman
tel 718-286-2870/fax 718-286-2885
Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields
tel 212-662-4440/fax 212-932-1130