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Oct. 2-Oct. 8, 2020
Cyclists take over Queensboro Bridge to
demand more space for bikes, pedestrians
BY MARK HALLUM
The south outer roadway of the Ed
Koch-Queensboro Bridge was packed
with anything but cars on Sunday as
hundreds of cyclists rode free, demonstrating
to the city Department of
Transportation the aching need to give
cyclists and pedestrians more space.
Of 10 lanes total, the bridge reserves
nine of them for cars despite the tight
pathway for any other form of transportation
being packed with users, something
that has been exacerbated by the
57 percent spike cycling and 40 percent
— according to Transportation Alternatives
— on the bridge alone this year due
to the pandemic forcing New Yorkers to
pick a different way to get around as
subways and buses have given the impression
of being unsafe.
Jon Orcutt, of Bike New York, told
amNewYork Metro that the city was
long overdue in facilitating its own encouragement
of cycling and the need
for extra space on the Queensborough
Bridge needed more not than ever since
New Yorkers have been taking the government
up on that advice.
“We need the city to catch up with
us,” Orcutt said. “The city has said for
years, we want more New Yorkers on
bikes. There are consequences to that,
now we have a bike capacity problem on
the bridge. The city should respond, the
policy is working, more people are using
bikes … What’s pulled everyone out
on bikes this year has been more space
Photo courtesy of Bike New York
on streets and so bridge is incredibly
But the city believes there to be one
major obstacle to taking cars off the
south outer roadway: fences.
DOT has said the barriers on this
section of the bridge do not meet the
eight-foot standard for pedestrian and
cyclist safety, and the cash strapped
agency just can eat the cost at this time.
Another problem? DOT says that as
long as construction is forcing some
traffic to be diverted from the upper
roadway, they will need to prioritize as
much space as they can for motorists.
This work is scheduled to wrap in the
fall of 2022, according to DOT.
Councilmen Ben Kallos and Jimmy
Van Bramer have both agreed to use discretionary
funds to DOT so the fences
can be extended from the current four
feet while proposals to convert the roadway
have pass community boards on
each side of the Queensborough Bridge.
Vol. 8, No. 40 36 total pages
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