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Protected bike lanes needed for 'safe passage' to Kosciuszko pathway: Stringer

The new Kosciuszko Bridge opened to the public

The new Kosciuszko Bridge opened to the public Thursday, but City Comptroller Scott Stringer said the city failed to provide sufficient protected bike lanes for access to the new bike and pedestrian pathway. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

The city should add more protected bicycle lanes leading to the Kosciuszcko Bridge’s newly opened bike and pedestrian pathway, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer,

Following dismay from city cyclists, Stringer on Thursday penned a letter to the city’s Department of Transportation calling for more physically separated bike access to the 20-feet-wide bridge pathway connecting industrial areas of Brooklyn and Queens.

“It is imperative that the [city DOT] ensure a safe passage for these riders by introducing protected bike lanes on those streets leading up to the Kosciuszko Bridge, as well as traffic calming measures to reduce motor vehicle speeds,” Stringer wrote in a letter dated Thursday, Aug. 29 — the same day the Kosciuszko’s second span and pathway opened.

While the state oversaw the construction of the new Kosciuszko, the city has control over the local streets connecting its new path.

The city’s DOT has planned but not completely installed a series of predominantly standard bike lanes and shared lane markings planned for a web of streets around the both sides of the bridge, though there are a few, small segments where the city will physically separate bikes from traffic.

On both 43rd and 47th streets in Queens, the DOT plans to add traditional bike lanes, with each street getting a slice of physical protection via jersey barriers as they pass under the Long Island Expressway. In Brooklyn, one block of bike lane is planned to be separated from traffic — on Meeker Avenue, between Apollo Street and Van Dam Street. Plans for a longer section of Meeker Avenue are still under development.

Those connections will eventually help riders access the Kosciusko’s pathway ramps: one near Laurel Hill Boulevard and 54th Road in Queens, and the other at Meeker Avenue and Van Dam Street in Brooklyn.

Bike lane markings and signage work begin next week, according to DOT spokesman Scott Gastel. The city will also explore options for protected bike connections via its “Green Wave” plan

“We’d been planning to implement in the Fall, though the state accelerated the opening of the path,” Gastel said in an email. 

Stringer chided the city for not having everything in place for the bridge’s official opening Thursday morning.

“Just as no transportation department would open up a highway before constructing the on-and off-ramps,” Stringer continued, “I am confused as to a how a new bike and pedestrian path could be introduced without sufficient infrastructure on day one.”

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