After a lot of complaints, plenty of false starts, and a two-and-a-half-year wait, it looks like we are finally getting that Pulaski Bridge bike path. The path will connect the increasingly popular waterfront neighborhoods of Long Island City in Queens and Greenpoint in Brooklyn.
The project, backed by Assembly member Joe Lentol, was initiated in response to community complaints about the shared pedestrian and bike path on the six-lane bridge over Newton Creek.
In 2013, when the project was first approved, the NYC Department of Transportation released a report, which revealed that there had been a 106% increase in cyclists over the Pulaski Bridge in the previous four years, versus a 47% increase in pedestrians. As traffic increased over the bridge, the width became a cause for concern. The addition of a separate bike path will improve safety for bikers and pedestrians alike.
The project hit quite a few roadblocks along the way, including difficulties with drainage design, electrical lines and other barriers in the proposed bike lane, as well as constraints on funding. The initial estimated cost in 2013 was $3.46 million. This was bumped up to $4.2 million in 2014, but it wasn’t until September 2015 that work on the bike path actually began.
The bikeway will run on the west side of the bridge, allowing bicyclists and pedestrians double the space. The former six-lane bridge now has three Queens-bound lanes and only two heading southbound to Brooklyn. According to research done by the Department of Transportation, this should not pose any problems, even in peak traffic.
On April 25, a Department of Transportation spokesperson said that finishing touches were still being done to the two-way protected bikeway. However, they look forward to unveiling the bike path later this week. Until the unveiling, bicyclists are urged to follow the posted signage for current bike travel over the bridge.