Whether in driving a car or riding a bike, at some point or we all have experienced the hair-raising ride across Greenpoint Avenue’s treacherous J.J Byrne Memorial Bridge. For years we’ve watched on the edge of our seats as trucks hurdle over Newtown Creek barreling along at 70 mph, cars making the made dash to the LIE, and poor little bikers constantly getting nudged off the road (or worse, sideswiped) by someone not paying attention to the oddly placed bike lane. Thankfully all of that drama has come to an end with a little help from the DOT.
At the end of June, the Department of Transportation completed it’s final lap along the bridge. They have installed a 6 foot wide bike lane on each side of the bridge and a 4ft buffer lane to further ensure cyclists safety. The DOT estimates 600 bikers cross that bridge a year, so it’s nice to see safety is taken seriously these days.
In a statement, the DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg had this to say, “This critical piece of the bike network will now provide a safe connection between Brooklyn and Queens for hundreds of cyclists getting to work, or just enjoying a ride around town.”
What about the Pulaski?
As for the heavily congested Pulaski Bridge, it looks like we’ll have to wait a wee bit longer for a dedicated bike lane. Delays had plagued the project for a while, which according State Assemblyman Joe Lentol blamed on the contracting process. But according to Mr. Lentol’s Facebook page the delays are finally over and the construction on a dedicated bike on the Pulaski has begun at last!
This is important given the stats on a DOT transportation survey, which shows bike ridership along the Pulaski has risen 106% from 2009 to 2013. Pedestrian traffic has also increased 47% within the same time period.
Considering over 1,000 riders already cross the Pulaski on a single day versus the 600 cyclists estimated to cross Greenpoint Avenue’s bridge, you’d think the DOT got their priorities straight and do the Pulaski Bridge bike lane first. But as we all know, when it comes to city projects, logic rarely dictates these sort of things–usually it comes down to the money.
So for now Greenpointers, we’ll have to abide by the old expression: All good things come to those who wait. Once the dedicated bike line appears on the Pulaski Bridge, cyclists and pedestrians alike can cheer they’ll never have to hear another “on your left” again.
Until that time comes, we can at least breathe a sigh of relief knowing cyclists can ride back and forth from L.I.C without fear of getting mowed over on the Greenpoint Avenue bridge. Thank god for small favors.