New York City, NY

Brooklyn Bridge Has a New Bike Lane and Everyone Has Mixed Results

Synthia Stark
View of the Brooklyn BridgePhoto by Nextvoyage from Pexels

In New York City, New York, there's a new bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge. It seems that there are mixed reviews surrounding it.

For those not familiar with the Brooklyn Bridge, it's a hybrid cable suspension bridge in New York City, spanning across the East River and goes across the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. When it opened back in 1883, it was the world's longest suspension bridge until it was beaten by Japan's Akashi Kaikyō Bridge.

Present Day Concerns

For drivers, the bike lane means that drivers have lost one of their own lanes, resulting in an increase in traffic problems. On the Manhattan side of the bridge, there was definitely some major traffic, especially on Monday night, making the rush hour jam much slower than usual.

A local driver reported:

"I didn't like having to wait longer to get home. I liked the idea of the bridge, but I think they could have implemented the bike lane plan better."

For cyclists, there are some complaints that the lanes are not wide enough to pass through safely as well.

"The lanes are so narrow and I don't feel safe. If someone is pedalling too slow in front of me, I am stuck behind them and cannot move ahead by going around them. Plus, the walls and cars are too close for comfort."

While it's great that some people got what they wanted, it's clearly taking a toll on others. New York City is home to many drivers and cyclists, where it's clear that both groups need to make it to work on time, or at least get their daily outdoor activities done reliably.

Plus, there are many people across many states who may travel in and out of New York's Brooklyn Bridge on a daily basis.

The Bike Lane Opened Last Tuesday

The bike lane, which used to be another vehicle lane, reopened last Tuesday and underwent many months of construction. At the time, people seemed to generally like it, but it seems that others are now voicing their concerns.

"This is a much more environmentally friendly solution, and we need some green spaces in these areas. Bicycles promote that, and we can reduce greenhouse emissions."

The bike lane was favoured at the time because:

  • It would further protect cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, especially during rush hour
  • It would prevent cyclists from sharing paths with pedestrians and tourists
  • It would prevent cars from overtaking bikes or from bikes overtaking pedestrians
  • It would theoretically reduce collisions between all three
  • It would increase personal safety, especially for the pedestrian locals

Even now, some people still believe the same. For example, a local pedestrian reported:

"I have almost been swiped by cyclists in the past. I needed to cross over a walking pathway, and most cyclists would share the walking paths with us. They sometimes take sudden and sharp turns. Since they're not a car, they can't signal which direction they are going. It felt very dangerous, so this new bike lane feels a lot safer."

Yet, as mentioned earlier, cyclists are a bit annoyed about how thin the new bike lanes are. Despite this, Rachel Weinberger, transportation expert of the Regional Plan Association told reporters that the lanes meet New York State and New York City standards.

Rachel also acknowledged their concerns:

“It is not the most generous bike lane that you might think...this is New York...things seem a little tighter here than other places.”

This seems to make sense. Even so, for accessibility reasons, some cyclists may prefer a wider bike lane. However, doing so may also bother the drivers.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, let's just hope that pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers are able to work together, especially as the winter months come around. The people of New York City deserve to have their concerns heard, and hopefully, further pathways or construction projects can accommodate everyone's interests.

For now, though, keep your eyes open. New York City is planning to make some similar changes to the Queensboro Bridge this year.

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