Planks-giving! City may expand Brooklyn Bridge walkway

Planks-giving! City may expand Brooklyn Bridge walkway
New York City Department of Transportation

It’s time to end this vicious cycle.

The city may widen the dangerously crowded wooden walkway over the Brooklyn Bridge, officials announced on Monday — thrilling local cyclists, who say they’re sick of dodging clueless selfie-stick wielding, love-lock leaving tourists on their commutes to and from work.

“Of course that’s a good idea,” said Carroll Gardener Brian Raymond, who rides the span every day. “Coming back in the afternoon the tourists are out of control — no one really respects the bike lane and there’s a mix of bikers yelling, using their bells, everything.”

The upgrade is no sure thing — Department of Transportation bigwigs are first launching a six-month, $370,000 study to see whether the bridge can support more pathway before even considering appointing a 21st-century Emily Warren Roebling to make it happen.

If it all goes ahead, one way to expand the currently shared pathway at the center of the bridge could be to build more tracks over the girders above the vehicle lanes — creating enough space for separated bike and pedestrian paths, according to an agency release.

A rendering shows a walled bike lane running through the middle of the path, with pedestrian stretches on either side, and crossings so tourists can still snap photos in either direction.

Roughly 10,000 pedestrians and 3,500 cyclists cross the 133-year-old bridge each day, according to the city’s latest figures — sharing the thoroughfare that is only 10 feet across in some stretches.

There are fewer than a dozen collisions between pedestrians and cyclists reported to the city each year, according to a New York Times report, but pedal-pushers say the set-up is a disaster waiting to happen — so much so that one rider on Monday said he’d just had such a hair-raising time navigating the crossing, he won’t attempt it again until the city makes it safer.

“I’ll never ride over the Brooklyn Bridge again,” said 70-year-old Alan Santa Maria, a life-long Brooklynite, after a trip on Monday. “Over the decades it’s gotten more and more crowded, someone is going to get hurt, bad — for safety, there’s no question something should be done.”

The study will wrap up in February 2017, but the city doesn’t have a timeline or budget for potential construction after that.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlync[email protected]local.com.

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