The city will officially cut the ribbon on the long-awaited Brooklyn Bridge bike lane Tuesday afternoon, according to a press release draft that amNewYork Metro obtained Monday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Transportation (DOT) reps, and local politicians will celebrate the opening of the two-way protected bike path on the iconic bridge’s roadway on the Manhattan end of the span at 2:15 p.m. on Sept. 14.
“This is a historic moment as we work to get New Yorkers out of their cars and promote sustainable modes of transportation,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman in a statement. “Bridges for the People is a step in the right direction towards a safer and more sustainable transportation future that puts people first – and we look forward to implementing similar changes to the Queensboro Bridge this year.”
DOT workers started setting up the new the lane in June, closing off the inner-most car lane on the Manhattan-bound side with protective barriers and fencing, and connecting to a new bike path in Manhattan.
It’s the first reconfiguration of the bridge since trolley tracks were permanently removed in 1950, according to DOT.
Bike crossings on the Brooklyn Bridge previously peaked at 60,000 per day on the lane on the wooden boardwalk above, which cyclists shared with 10,000 daily pedestrians.
The city closed off the old bike lane setting up “No Bikes” signs Monday, and that walkway is now only open to pedestrians.
The old path was often a dangerous squeeze for all involved, with commuters and tourists competing for space.
The news of the Brooklyn Bridge bike lane was first broken by amNewYork Metro’s sister publication Brooklyn Paper in June 2020, before DOT handed a release to the New York Times months later ahead Mayor Bill de Blasio’s official announcement during his State of the City speech in January.
Cyclists hailed the new protected lanes, but some criticized it as being way too narrow — at only 8 feet wide. DOT officials told locals at a Brooklyn community board meeting earlier this year that it is the best they could get done before de Blasio leaves office at the end of the year.
Some pedal pushers tried out the new bike lane early before its official opening last week, but the city quickly closed off the entrances again.
A new bike lane on Centre Street in Manhattan connecting to the bridge has already been overtaken by NYPD officers and other city employees illegally parking their personal vehicles in the green path, reported Gothamist.