Verrazano bridge bike path advocates to rally in Brooklyn

Advocates will rally in Brooklyn this weekend to call on the MTA to bring a bike path to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Transportation Alternatives and the Harbor Ring Committee will be in Bay Ridge at noon on Saturday to raise public awareness of the campaign to make the span accessible by bike. The rally is partially in response to the MTA’s bike-rack pilot on the S53 and S93 buses, two routes that cross over the Verrazano, which the agency launched last year.

“The bus racks are a great addition to mass transit and bike infrastructure in New York City, but it’s not enough,” said Greg Mihailovich, the Staten Island organizer at the nonprofit Transportation Alternatives. “People still want and need a path, so this is kind of the gentle reminder to the MTA that while racks are useful and appreciated, they’re no replacement for a multiuse path.”

A mixed-use path is being considered in the MTA’s Verrazano “Master Plan,” a strategy the agency is drafting with the engineering and design firm WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff to outline all the major projects for the 52-year-old span over the next 25 years.

It could cost the MTA between $300 million and $400 million to add a mixed-use path to the Verrazano, according to three proposals from Parsons Brinckerhoff that the MTA published last year. The firm said the MTA would need to extend the roadbed of the bridge, which has a central span of 4,260 feet, to accommodate the path.

“The Verrazano Master Plan study remains on schedule to be completed by the end of 2016,” said an MTA spokesman in a statement.

Saturday’s rally will take place at the S53 bus stop at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and 86th Street.

The Verrazano is also the missing link of the Harbor Ring Committee’s vision for a 50-mile pedestrian and cycling route around New York Harbor.

“Support has been overwhelmingly positive in Bay Ridge … Specifically, the path would be a boon to its commercial district and the bridge would become an automatic tourist destination,” Mihailovich said. “We understand that, with an epic public works project like this, there’s cost involved. We hope the MTA looks at every opportunity to make it affordable and look forward to continued discussion.”