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Council Members Push DOT to Open Pedestrian Pathway on Queensboro Bridge ASAP

The pedestrian/bicycle pathway on the northern side of the Queensboro Bridge. Pedestrians and cyclists currently share the space (Google)

Aug. 31, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Two council members are pushing the Department of Transportation (DOT) to add a dedicated pedestrian pathway to the Queensboro Bridge as soon as possible.

Council Members Ben Kallos and Jimmy Van Bramer want the DOT to open a pedestrian pathway on the bridge’s south outer roadway. Currently, pedestrians and cyclists share one narrow path along the northern edge of the bridge that many say is congested and hazardous.

Under the plan, the northern pathway would be dedicated for bicyclists and the south outer roadway–currently used by motorists– would be repurposed for pedestrians.

The lawmakers, who represent districts that flank the Queensboro Bridge, wrote a joint op-ed, published Thursday calling on the city to add the pedestrian path now.

The council members said the pandemic has lead to an uptick in the number of cyclists and the need for separate bike and pedestrian pathways is now more urgent than ever to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe.

The pair even pledged to use a portion of their discretionary capital funds to help make it happen.

“I’m actually putting up money to get it done. It takes more than talk,” Van Bramer told Streetsblog. “We need this to be done now.”

The DOT has said that it plans to reconfigure the outer roadway– and create the dedicated pedestrian pathway–after it repairs and upgrades the bridge. The revamp is expected to be completed by the fall of 2022.

“DOT is currently undertaking major and urgent safety upgrades to the Queensboro Bridge, which is a 100 years old,” a spokesperson for the agency told the Queens Post last week. “Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg have made it clear that it is their intention to repurpose the South Outer Roadway… as soon as the current construction work is complete and the funding is available.”

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg has since said the department is open to ideas and the agency has since reached out to the two council members to schedule a meeting.

“I was very heartened to see that the council would be willing to cover the cost of the project,” Trottenberg said at a press conference, according to Streetsblog. “We are very open to sitting down with elected officials, and if some of our assumptions are wrong and we can do this differently and less expensively, we would love to do that.”

A spokesperson for Kallos said the DOT has since reached out both to his office and Van Bramer’s and they are currently scheduling a meeting to discuss other options.

Kallos wants to assess if it’s possible to roll the construction of the pedestrian pathway into the current bridge project, according to his spokesperson, or if there is way to create a temporary solution in the meantime.

The council members and transportation advocates have been calling on the city to implement separate bike and pedestrian lanes along the bridge for years.

Earlier this month, State Sen. Mike Gianaris, Van Bramer and Council Member Costa Constantinides — among others — wrote a letter to Trottenberg and the mayor citing an “urgent need” to add the pedestrian lane.

Juan Restrepo, Queens organizer for Transportation Alternatives, called Trottenberg’s recent comments “the biggest shift” to date in the DOT’s attitude toward moving up the timeline on the pedestrian lane.

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They need to install bike stop lights on the bike lanes as they cross 27th, 28th, and 29th streets along Queens Plaza North. The time to cross the many lanes of traffic are hardly enough time, making many people rush to cross. On top of this, you have bikes flying through the bike lanes. I have seen someone almost get hit by a bike every time I have crossed. They need to install bike stop lights that sync with the vehicular lights be put in place. It will increase safety for both pedestrians and cyclists.

Jeffrey “25,000” Bezos

Jimmy Van Jobkiller wants to create a hundred construction jobs? So cute. Almost there, Jimmy, just 24,900 jobs to go.
Jeffrey Van Bezos


Hey, it’s good to know our political representatives are still around. We thought they had immigrated somewhere when they failed to show up and do anything to stop the lawless mayhem taking place repeatedly in our waterfront park. So, they ate still here.


If they go ahead, and it’s anything like Pulaski Bridge’s amended lane, it will be finished 2026. Ridership is the busiest I’ve ever seen it in my 15 years going over this bridge daily. Normally things drop off as the weather turns, but this might be a banner year. Really what’s needed right away is some re-painting of clear traffic rules on the ground and added enforcement. I’d complain that there are motorcycles on the ped path, and there are, but the e-bikes and scooters go just as fast, so what’s the difference? They could open up the SOUTH side of the lower eastbound roadway to bikes only. That would do it. Again, if it took them 5 years for Pulaski, might as well just paint the ground rules and think about enforcement (though I’m not sure you can take NY out of the NYer). Transportation Alternatives could say more about the entry/exits of each end of the bridge, which have been perilous since the invention of the automobile (the bridge was completed 1900-1909).


Last time they expanded a pedestrian pathway it took them 6 years to complete it (Pulaski Bridge). Honestly, I’m all for it. Really, with all the electric bikes that go 35mph, there should really be a lane that’s sep for walking. It would be nice to see some Safety enforcement on the bridge. I ride and run over this majestic 1900-1909 bridge 2 times a day. I’ve never seen it so busy. Everyone went out and bought an E-Scoot. Everyone. There is the outer road way on the South Side that could be bikes only. But, if you want it completed, we are talking 2025.


Jim, while your at it, can you please have stop signs installed along center Blvd? Very dangerous to have cars just plowing through there as pedestrians try to cross the street.


stop signs don’t help – cars go through existing ones day and night without regard for peds. speed bumps will be more effective – forced speed reduction for most vehicles.


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