Pols want more walking, cycling space on B'klyn Bridge
Politicians and transportation advocates gathered at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge Tuesday to announce a proposal to double the width of the elevated walkway, tripling the space for pedestrians.
"It's wonderful that it's being used in greater and greater numbers by tourists and cyclists," Brooklyn Council Member Brad Lander, a cycling advocate, said of the walkway, adding the something needs to be done about its "dangerous" congestion.
In recent years, congestion has been increasingly an issue on the 129-year-old landmark, resulting in an increase in bike-versus-pedestrian accidents, Lander said. An average of 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 bicyclists cross the bridge daily, according to the Department of Transportation.
"Right now, you walk across the bridge and run the risk of getting hit by a bike," said Gary Smith, a 50-year-old Bronx resident, who works near the bridge and frequently enjoys taking the historic walk across it. "It would be nicer to walk across it if the bikes were further from the people. Then you could actually stop and look at the scenery."
The proposal is still in the early planning stages and lacks funding, but Councilmembers Lander, Stephen Levin and Margaret Chin are seeking proposals, which would require approval by the Department of Transportation and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The plan would likely include widening the entire pathway to the width of its widest point, 16 feet. As the walkway sits above the roadway, any changes will not affect the number of driving lanes on the bridge.