Buffer solution: City plans protected bike lane on Greenpoint Avenue Bridge

Buffer solution: City plans protected bike lane on Greenpoint Avenue Bridge
New York City Department of Transportation

They’re peddling a safer way to pedal.

The city plans to build a protected bike lane over the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge across Newtown Creek to create a safer way to cycle between Greenpoint and Queens.

The bike lane is long overdue, according to one bridge-crossing bicyclist, who said the current paths between the fairer borough and its northern neighbor make for hair-raising rides.

“It is about time,” said Clara Shanley, who lives in Williamsburg and sometimes crosses the bridge on recreational rides. “This city owes its bicyclists safe roads.”

The city wants to remove one Brooklyn-bound car lane, and take one foot away from each remaining car lane and sidewalk and shrink the median strip to make space for six-foot wide bike lanes in both directions, with a four-foot wide buffer between cars and cyclists at the main span of the bridge.

At the moment, the Greenpoint Avenue bike lane ends at Kingsland Avenue, and past that there is only a sidewalk bookending the four-lane bridge. The elevation and curve of the bridge make visibility difficult, according to the city, which said it has received numerous complaints about speeding cars over the years. Many cyclists walk their bikes across, but others either ride on the roadway with cars or on the sidewalk with pedestrians.

The bridge sees around 600 bicyclists a day, according to counts conducted last year.

The Department of Transportation first proposed creating protected bike lanes on the bridge five years ago, but the process got gummed up by other construction and utility work.

If the city builds this lane according to plan and also follows through with plans to build bike lanes across the Pulaski Bridge and the in-construction Kosciuzsko Bridge, riders should have three bridge bike lanes to choose from by 2020. The Pulaski lane has been delayed, but is still expected to happen, and the Kosciuzsko Bridge bike lane is a few years from being complete.

The city plans to take the bike lane proposal to both Community Board 1 and the community board on the Queens side in April, and intends to begin construction this spring.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini