March 23, 2015 By Christian Murray
The Department of Transportation starts construction Tuesday on the two-way protected bike lane spanning the Pulaski Bridge.
The dedicated bike lanes, which were expected to be completed in 2014, will bring an end to the tense relationships between cyclists and pedestrians who currently share a lane.
The change will result in a two-way protected bike lane that will span the bridge for cyclists. Meanwhile, an existing 8 ½ foot wide lane—that is currently used by both cyclists and pedestrians—will be for the exclusive use of pedestrians.
“We have needed this for some time,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “The pathway was too narrow—and this is a great addition for the bike lane network.”
Van Bramer said that it is especially timely with Citibike expected to come to Long Island City within a few months.
The decision to add the lane comes after years of friction between cyclists and pedestrians.
In 2009, when the community sought a solution to the problem of bike/pedestrian congestion, the DOT added markings and signage to help organize traffic and increase safety on the bridge.
“Since then, the pedestrian volumes have increased almost 50% and the bicycle volumes have more than doubled, which is huge growth particular in the bicycle mode,” said Nick Carey, Project Manager at NYCDOT Bicycle Program, last year.
However, the creation of the dedicated bike lane will bring some changes to Brooklyn-bound motorists.
The three lanes on the bridge going from Queens into Brooklyn will be cut to two, to make room for the dedicated bicycle lane.