Tired of doling out directions to wandering visitors, the NYPD has successfully lobbied the city to install a more prominent sign directing pedestrians and cyclists to the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge promenade.
“When you’re standing at the intersection of Adams and Tillary [streets] going onto the promenade, you can’t actually see the Brooklyn Bridge, and many people are stopping NYPD officers and asking them for directions,” Department of Transportation’s manager of the project, Mia Moffett, told Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee at a virtual meeting on Jan. 21. “So based on this feedback and these conditions we’ve started looking at installing an overhead gateway signage spanning the promenade here.”
The new sign will hover 14 feet above ground, with two designs currently being considered. Both options call for a 12-foot long directional insignia — but one design features a 2.5-foot wide sign with simple black-and-white text, while the other is 4-feet wide and has a graphic symbolizing the bridge’s iconic cables.
The agency will use either a vinyl wrap or a laser cutout, and the proposal will still need to go before the city’s Public Design Commission for approval in March, officials said.
Agency reps could not immediately say when the sign will be installed, or how much the project costs, and a follow-up request to DOT’s press office was not returned by press time.
Members of the civic panel liked the proposal, but added that the agency should consider a perpendicular marker as well, so that people walking along Tillary Street can see it too.
The civic meeting soon pivoted to discussions about why there was such a heavy police presence at the foot of the walkway in the first place, with a squad car stationed there daily, in addition to NYPD-marked cubes right behind the vehicle blocking the entrance and taking up space at the busy intersection.
“I would get that NYPD vehicle off of the space, because it makes an already crowded area more crowded and it serves no reasonable purpose,” said local Paul Schreiber.
DOT reps said that the police’s Counterterrorism Bureau wanted cops there following a 2017 attack, when a driver killed eight people on the bike path along the Hudson River in Manhattan.
“We’ve talked with Counterterrorism and NYPD feels the need to keep this car here in order to keep the bridge secure, unfortunately,” said Moffett.
But committee members pointed out that the city had already installed a retractable bollard before that incident further up the walkway where the path bends and narrows, adding that a recent widening of the promenade along Adams Street and the revamp of the median at the entrance were pitched by officials as replacing the need for a permanently-stationed police car.
“We were told in the discussion about the new mid-block crossing that the security that would accompany the protection of the promenade on either side of the walkway… would obviate the need for the police car,” said Jon Quint. “So where will there ever be a time when there doesn’t have to be a police car, I don’t hear that.”
DOT reps said the vehicle was still necessary to protect the stretch between the entrance and the bollard less than 800 feet away closer toward the bridge, while also trying to punt the hot topic to the Boys in Blue.
“I think that’s a question best served for NYPD to answer,” said local DOT liaison Emily Riquelme. “Tonight we came here to present on the signage, so any technical information that anyone on the board would like to ask, feel free to email me, but we weren’t prepared to come to speak on all these very technical issues that you guys are bringing up.”
Quint countered that part of making the entrance more appealing was addressing the need for New York’s Finest to be there every day.
“If you’re interested in making the walkway more available and more enticing and pleasurable, a police car that flashes its lights all day and night should be your concern as well as the aesthetics,” the civic guru said.