In his final State of the City address Thursday night, Mayor Bill Deblasio will announce plans to convert one lane on both the Brooklyn and Queensboro Bridges into bike-only paths, reports the New York Times.
Currently, both bridges already offer bike access in each direction, however, safety on the two has always been an issue. Cyclists who cross either span must contend with pedestrians for space; on the Brooklyn Bridge tourists often weave in and out the bike lanes with little care; while both foot and bike traffic share a single path on the Queensboro Bridge.
As depicted in the image above, the DOT plans to dedicate the existing wooden promenade of the Brooklyn Bridge to pedestrians, while converting the inner lane of the Manhattan-bound side of the car deck into a protected two-way bike lane.
Plans for the Queensboro Bridge, which connects Midtown Manhattan at 59th Street to Queens will convert the northern outer roadway into a dedicated two-way bike lane and the southern outer roadway (which is already separated from other car lanes on the bridge) into a pedestrian-only path.
Work on the Brooklyn Bridge is slated for completion by the end of 2021, while the Queensboro Bridge paths will are expected to open in 2022.
Dubbed “Bridges for the People,” the move is being presented as a means to encourage cycling and support ridership which has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. The city reports a 55 percent increase in bikers crossing the East River Bridges and a spike of 72 percent on the Queensboro Bridge in November 2020 over the prior year.