Greenpoint’s Pulaski Bridge will gain a bike lane and lose a lane of automotive traffic if a North Brooklyn politician gets his way.
Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint) wants the city to install a protected bike route along the Pulaski Bridge in the hopes of making the heavily commuted link between Brooklyn and Queens safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, and runners.
“I’m not advocating for the pedestrians, I’m not advocating for the bicyclists,” said Lentol. “I’m trying to solve problems.”
Currently, bikes and pedestrians share a narrow sidewalk on the Brooklyn-bound side of the bridge, while motorized vehicles get three lanes in each direction. The tight space means that those on two-wheels often wend in and out to get around slower-moving walkers and runners.
It’s a recipe for disaster, bridge users say.
“The walkway is narrow and gets crowded at rush hour,” said Kristin Carney, who lives in Prospect Heights and rides across the bridge nearly every day to get to her job in Long Island City. “I always worry that a pedestrian will take an unexpected step to the side and we’ll collide.”
To make room for the proposed biking route, Lentol is calling for the city to eliminate one lane of Brooklyn-bound automotive traffic. He hopes the plan will have the added benefit of slowing cars as they enter the borough on McGuinness Boulevard, where the Assemblyman is calling for the installation of cameras to catch speeding motorists.
The bike boosters at Transportation Alternatives agree that a cycling lane is sorely needed on the Pulaski Bridge.
“There’s a growing number of bike riders over the bridge and more people walking,” said Caroline Samponero, the group’s director of bike advocacy. “There needs to be more space. The space that’s there now is too small and doesn’t properly accommodate them.”
Adding a protected bike lane to a drawbridge that often opens and closes may be tricky, but Lentol has faith that the city can make it happen.
“We have some pretty creative engineers in this business who should be able to figure it out,” said Lentol.
The city’s Department of Transportation did not immediately return requests for comment.