October/November 1999, p.9

MTA Bridges Relents and Hires Bike Expert for Study

How serious is the MTA Bridge and Tunnels about exploring bicycle access to its bridges? In May, the agency hired noted bridge engineers Amman & Whitney and bicycle consultant Charles Komanoff to conduct its "Feasibility Study for Bicycle Access at TBTA Facilities." It then followed this encouraging move by dismissing Komanoff because of his "advocacy" background. (Komanoff is former President of T.A.) Strangely, the agency neglected to replace Komanoff with another cycling expert. Thus, the agency intended to conduct its first bicycle study without a bicycle planner.

This would not do. During the summer, T.A. and State Senator Tom Duane sent a series of withering letters. T.A. wrote: "If the goal of the feasibility study is to improve bicycle access to MTA Bridges than an 'advocate' like Mr. Komanoff would likely be more motivated than others to identify feasible solutions to that end." Finally, in September, the MTA quietly hired the respected RBA Group as the study's new bicycle consultant. The bridge study will consider improving bicycle access to the Triborough, Throgs Neck, Henry Hudson, Marine Parkway and Cross Bay Bridge. MTA rules currently ban actually bike riding on all these bridges except the Cross Bay. Despite the controversy, T.A. hopes the study will produce sensible recommendations for encouraging bicycling on these important bridges.

Write to thank the MTA Bridges for conducting the bicycle study and encourage them to move quickly to bring bicycles to its bridges.

Michael Ascher
President, MTA Bridges and Tunnels
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019

Read the latest news on this subject.