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Van Bramer Calls For Separate Pedestrian and Cycling Paths on Queensboro Bridge

The narrow paths on the Queensboro bridge have become overcrowded with cyclists and pedestrians. (Flickr)

April 30, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer has joined several local organizations in calling for separate pedestrian and cycling paths on the Queensboro Bridge after increasingly crowded conditions have led to serious injuries.

Van Bramer, along with Transportation Alternatives, Bike New York, the Court Square Civic Association, and many community members, is asking the Department of Transportation to transform the bridge’s north outer roadway—the path currently shared by pedestrians and bikers—into a dedicated bike lane, while converting the south outer roadway—used only by cars—into an accessible pedestrian walkway.

“The Queensboro Bridge path is dangerously overcrowded and poses a safety hazard to the thousands of pedestrians and cyclists that rely on it to cross between Queens and Manhattan each day,” Van Bramer said. “There needs to be separate, exclusive lanes for pedestrians and cyclists on the Queensboro Bridge.”

The number of bicyclists using the bridge is on the rise, with 5,400 bikes crossing the bridge daily in 2017, according to DOT data.  That number is up 35 percent from 2012.

The civic groups began to increase their call for the redesign earlier this year, stating that the current shared path is too narrow to allow for the amount of bike and foot traffic it now has.

Bike New York sent a letter to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in March of this year, asking for the design changes to be made.

Earlier this week, it was reported by The City that a 49-year-old Jackson Heights man broke both his clavicle and elbow on the bridge after losing control of his bike while simultaneously trying to pass a pedestrian and avoid an oncoming cyclist.

The DOT says that the proposed design changes can not be implemented any time soon due to ongoing bridge work. The DOT said it needs the south outer roadway to be open for vehicle diversions.

The agency, however, hasn’t shunned the idea and will be reviewing it as a long term strategy.

“During construction, DOT will continue to look at the modifications that would be necessary to convert the South Outer Roadway to a pedestrian path and use the North Outer Roadway exclusively for cyclists,” the spokesperson said. “If we determine that it would be feasible, we could time the conversion to coincide with the completion of the construction work.”

Van Bramer responded to DOT’s position by calling for the city agency to speed up its timeline and implement the changes as quickly as possible.

“DOT cannot afford to wait until upcoming work on the bridge is completed to start planning to make this infrastructure more sustainable and accessible,” Van Bramer said. “More people are going to get seriously injured or worse. DOT must speed up repairs and start preparing for this necessary redesign immediately so that all people, regardless of their preferred transportation method, have the space they need to cross this vital pathway safely.”

Transportation Alternatives has set up a survey page to collect stories of cyclists and pedestrians who have been injured on the bridge.

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15 Comments

STJM

Another photo op for Jimmy! He should provide an update on the 25K job replacement for his Amazon debacle.

FIRE JVB – Jimmy must go!

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brooklynmc

t won’t be long before we will have to pay $1 to use the bike path over the bridge.

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Gardens Watcher

What a great new revenue source for the MTA! Double that for e-bikes.

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Gardens Watcher

Albany, if you’re listening, this is your golden opportunity to start looking into a bridge bike fee as part of your congestion pricing plan.

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LIC Resident and Neighbor

Amazon just created 400 permanent jobs in the Arlington, Wash, DC area this month and about 1000 new jobs by the end of the year in Crystal City, VA. These are the jobs Jimmy “The Human Turd” Van Bramer rejected. Over 10 years 25, 000 coming to Crystal City, VA

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your_neighbor

As someone who rides across the bridge a couple hundred times a year, I agree that there are some problems but most are easy to rectify. (1) Gas powered motor scooters racing across the bridge; (2) Electric bike delivery guys weaving between bikes and pedestrians at high speed; (3) Bikers pedaling downhill – coasting down the hill gives you much more speed than most bike brakes can handle; (4) Idiots riding with no hands on the handlebars, feet on their handlebars, or on their cell phones.

Many of these gas powered bikers, e-bikers and general idiots seem to have gotten much more aggressive this year.

Plenty of room for everybody if there is just some consideration and hopefully some enforcement of reasonable rules.

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Gardens Watcher

Wonder why this article appears on LIC and Astoria Post sites, but not on the Sunnyside Post?

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Gardens Watcher

More cyclists on ALL roads increases the chances of serious accidents, especially with the ever increasing numbers of motorized bikes, scooters, etc. — and not just on the QB bridge.

The presence of pedestrians on the North Outer Roadway is more likely a traffic calming factor, since cyclists are more likely to slow down to avoid hitting those pedestrians. Do you really think there won’t be more serious bike-on-bike accidents, or worse, if cyclists have no reason to slow down and cross the bridge safely?

The South Outer Roadway needs to stay open for vehicles and emergency response. All year round.

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gagf

Just ban cars from the upper level and use it for new SBS buses and emergency vehicles.

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Native New Yorker

Oh, please. Keep the south outer roadway open for emergency vehicles? More like a parking lot for motorists dumb enough to think the outer roadway is a fast way to Queensboro Plaza. Every single time I’ve walked across the bridge, I’ve looked over and seen cars trapped at a standstill in that lane since they can’t merge into the other two Queens-bound lanes.

I’m old enough to remember when the south outer roadway WAS the pedestrian walkway across the Queensboro Bridge. Bring that back and make it like the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges that also separate bike and pedestrian traffic.

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JVB...is he really good for us?

If JVB was PROACTIVE he would have thought ahead to ensure the changes were made a while ago. Since he’s REACTIVE, this will take years to be completed. He is part of the problem, not the solution. Where are our forward-thinking leaders? We don’t need a buddy who butters up to us when we already have issues. We need someone who will lead us forward.

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Gardens Watcher

If the Amazon deal had been approved, a new bike bridge to LIC would have been a natural. Not now.

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Counting the days

I’m all for bikes but this and congestion pricing will continue to force the middle class out of New York. Everyone cannot afford to live near a public transportation or are able to ride a bike due to age or physical disabilities. Some people are forced to commute by car due to work location or work hours ie. cops, firemen, nurses etc. Salaries for these jobs make it very difficult to live and raise a family in the five boroughs making commuting by car a necessity. I carpool over the Queensboro bridge daily during rush hour and to be totally honest do not see the current north outer roadway overcrowded. Who is really commuting by bike beyond LIC and maybe Astoria and Woodside. If this plan occurs no one should complain when the cost of living continues to spiral out of control. You think homelessness is bad now just wait and see the consequences of this plan

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Native New York

Whenever people say, “I’m all for bikes but…” Stop. Just stop. You’re really not. Admit it and be honest with yourself.

There is absolutely no way that everyone that drives across that bridge in a car needs to do it. They do it because it’s convenient and they will continue to do that until it becomes inconvenient enough for them to change their behavior.

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Anonymous

Middle class people aren’t commuting into Manhattan by car. Parking would eat up their whole paycheck. Reducing vehicle congestion and fixing mass transit are the only actual solutions to make commuting into Manhattan reasonable for middle and lower class people. Every single person in NYC already lives close to public transportation. The bus network is vast.

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