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Hey, you, look out! Closure on W’burg Bridge path means more bike-ped clashes

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The ride to Manhattan is about to get twice as crowded.

The city is shutting the Williamsburg Bridge’s south pathway for six weeks this summer to improve its security — forcing pedestrians and cyclists to use only one path to get between Brooklyn and its western suburb.

More than 6,200 cyclists now use the bridge’s two pathways each day — nearly double the number from three years ago, according to the city.

But beginning on June 13, bikers and walkers will be only able to use the S. Fifth Street gateway as city workers install new roadblocks on S. Sixth Street to prevent small cars from plowing through the entrance to the bridge’s cycle path.

“It’s a post–9-11 world — all bridges are getting added security,” said Teresa Toro, a transportation expert involved with the project. “The intent is to prevent smaller vehicles from being driven onto those areas of the bridge.”

But cyclists fear a summer of collisions.

Tensions between cyclists and pedestrians reached fever pitch when the city closed the bridge’s walkway last April — as bikers blamed pedestrians for ambling too slowly and pedestrians chastised speedy cyclists for clipping walkers.

Sometimes cyclists crashed into other cyclists, creating bloody scenes that shocked passersby.

This year, cycling advocates are preaching a new message: share the road.

Caroline Samponaro of Transportation Alternatives, believes that cyclists have an important role in slowing down and setting a “positive tone” to make sure pedestrians feel safe.

“This might mean adding some minutes to your individual commute for the collective good, but the Williamsburg Bridge offers some of the bests views in the city and your ride across it can become a new way to meet some of your bicycling neighbors,” said Samponaro.

But Times Up!’s Ben Shepard’s called the closure a “risky move” and advised his fellow riders to avoid commuting over the Williamsburg Bridge entirely during June and July if possible.

“I really recommend people schlep down to DUMBO and ride the Manhattan Bridge,” said Shepard. “I wouldn’t take any chances.”

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Reader Feedback

John from Greenpoint says:
What's the point of this closure? To prevent someone from driving a truck bomb up on the bridge? Couldn't a terrorist just drive the truck over the automobile road on the bridge and blow it up? What a waste of money.
-John.
June 9, 2011, 9:13 am
Kevin from Flatbush says:
Most pedestrians already walk on the northern side path anyway.
June 9, 2011, 9:28 am
MW from Queens says:
Really? Now? They couldn't do this in November when there are less pedestrians and cyclists on the bridge?
June 9, 2011, 9:31 am
ahole walker says:
oh my, bikers will have to give pedestrians the right of way!
itys not like thats a rule of the road, or is it?
June 9, 2011, 10:38 am
NattyB from LES says:
"“It’s a post–9-11 world — all bridges are getting added security,'"

STUPID.

When we inconvenience ourselves for the Terrorists, it means the Terrorists win.

It's not like it'll make the bridge "more secure" as John from Greenpoint noted above.
June 9, 2011, 10:41 am
Bad jokes from Bushwick says:
Don't be a toad, share the road.
June 9, 2011, 11:41 am
Russell from Greenpoint says:
Besides the obvious fact that its NOT going to be more secure, why the hell is it going to take 6 weeks?

6 weeks to put up some posts?
June 9, 2011, 11:53 am
John from Greenpoint says:
Coffee Breaks aren't going to happen by themselves Russell.

The other thing that occurs to me is that if they install posts, won't this prevent EMTs from getting up the pedestrian path in the event that they need to?
June 9, 2011, 12:34 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
"6 weeks to put up some posts?"

Took 18 months to build the Empire State Building.

But that wasn't a union project.
June 9, 2011, 1:13 pm
urban myth buster from williamsburg says:
Once again, the stupid revisionism about the empire state building. It was built by skilled trade unions. The famous Mohawk iron workers were union as well.
June 9, 2011, 1:46 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Touche.

Point taken. . . not City Union workers.
June 9, 2011, 2:41 pm
urban myth buster from williamsburg says:
Those "city" union workers had to approve the permits and move the utilities and coordinate street closures for ESB. How about we stop blaming unions when things take awhile. I for one, don't want Blackwater or Walmart employees or the City Time contractors, or whoever else you think is so great because they are non-unionized providing my municipal services.
June 9, 2011, 3:03 pm
trans alt from bike city says:
Stay the eff outta my way on the bridge, touristas.
June 9, 2011, 3:48 pm
sg from e wbrg says:
It is hard to add anything to the previous comments.
Anyway doing it at the busiest time of the year for bikes and pedestrians is dumb.
June 9, 2011, 7:46 pm
Jennuh from Greenpoint says:
Siiiiiick of cyclists acting like they are above everything. This is the worst news ever.
June 9, 2011, 7:47 pm
Joe says:
who would blow up the Williamsburg bridge? the anti-hipster terrorists ?
June 9, 2011, 7:51 pm
Hopper from Close enough says:
This is confusing. I think Teresa Toro doesn't know what she's saying. The entrance ramp they're closing to put in roadblocks is the steep, narrow one with the access on Bedford Avenue. What "post 9-11" measures need to be taken? A terrorist GOLF CART wouldn't fit up that ramp.
If it's to improve safety at that super-dangerous access point, then, fine. As usual, I'm going to have to read the official City press release to clarify what this newspaper bungled.
June 10, 2011, 1:44 pm
david from Grand st. says:
Most cyclists are idiots. They just need to slow down and it will all be fine. I'm a cyclists so I know. It's not your god-given right to ride sixty miles an hour at all times.
June 11, 2011, 12:38 pm
Rob from Williamsburg says:
This is idiotic. They should provide cyclists with a lane on the main deck.
June 12, 2011, 10:23 pm
NYFlicka from Williamsburg says:
Call Teresa Toro to complain:347-325-1622
Or Joseph Palmieri, Brooklyn Borough Commisioner, 718-222-7259
And feel free to pass on these numbers!
June 15, 2011, 8:30 am

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