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Car Lane to Become Pedestrian Lane on the Queensboro Bridge

The narrow pathway on the northern outer roadway currently shared by bicyclists and pedestrians (Photo: Queens Post)

Jan. 29, 2021 By Allie Griffin (Updated)

The city will convert a car lane into a pedestrian lane on the Queensboro Bridge after years of pressure from cycling advocates, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last night.

De Blasio’s announcement comes after bike advocates and local lawmakers have called on the city for years to repurpose a car lane on the Queensboro Bridge for pedestrians.

The advocates argue that the bridge isn’t safe for pedestrians and cyclists who currently share one narrow lane on its northern outer roadway.

The mayor plans to convert the southern outer roadway — currently used by cars — into a pedestrian pathway. The existing narrow pathway on the northern outer roadway will become a two-way bike lane.

The work is expected to start this year and be completed in 2022.

Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Ben Kallos, who represent the neighborhoods on either side of the Queensboro Bridge, celebrated the long-awaited win.

Van Bramer said it was “about time” and thanked activists at Transportation Alternatives, Streetsblog and other elected officials for their work.

“This change will not only save lives but also create a cleaner, greener, and healthier NYC for all of us,” said Van Bramer, who is running for Queens Borough President.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris also celebrated the news.

“This exciting news comes after years of persistent advocacy from leaders and activists throughout Queens,” he said in a statement. “The new bike and pedestrian lanes will make crossing the East River safer for everyone and change how we move around our city for the better.”

State Sen. Jessica Ramos applauded the city’s decision as well.

“Thank you @NYCMayor for your commitment to combat climate change and for responding to our calls to give cyclist, pedestrians, & strollers #MoreSpaceQBB!” she tweeted. “This necessary step will go a long way to keep our people safe & reverse car culture.”

De Blasio also announced plans to convert a car lane to a bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge during his “State of the City” speech.

Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris said he was overjoyed.

“Converting car lanes into bike [and pedestrian] lanes on two of our most important bridges is a giant leap forward for New York City,” Harris said in a statement. “After decades of advocacy by Transportation Alternatives and thousands of our grassroots activists, we are thrilled that Mayor de Blasio has taken up our Bridges 4 People campaign with his Bridges for the People plan.”

The shared bicycle and pedestrian pathway on the northern outer roadway of the Queensboro Bridge (Photo: Queens Post)

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34 Comments

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ABoondy

i agree. there should be $15 each way tolls for bikes and pedestrians, and all bikes should be licensed with insurance in case of an accident. its only fair to be equal.

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Agreed, bikes can use all lanes, just like cars

Like you said, there’s no difference between cars and pedestrians. So all the roadways are open to all bikes and pedestrians. Otherwise your comparison is ridiculous!

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Maybe cars will stay out of the bike lane

Maybe cars won’t double park in the bike lane, or pedestrians will stop using them, or motorized bicycles, or motorcycles, or people opening doors…

You make a great point though, these bike lanes will protect pedestrians

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100,000 Citibike riders daily

plus I think there are one or two people that delivery things on bikes 😂

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Johnny the Walker

The south lane used to be the designated crossing for pedestrians and cyclists. I for one preferred walking on that side and am very pleased its going to be for pedestrians only.

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Edd

Yeah this is horrible. You want to ride on the road with the motor vehicles you ride at your own risk, they shouldn’t get there own lane stay on the side of the bridge. All its gonna do is create chaos and misery. A few accidents and this is gonna be removed and what about in the winter time when it’s snowing and raining there ain’t gonna be no bicycles going on the bridge unless Ellon Musk invents some future bubble bike with heaters.

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Comfieslippers

Needed and necessary. I ride into the city every day and my biggest safety issue? Speeding bikes and scooters.

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PG

This type of “anti-car” policy is not something I’d normally support (the “bike lanes” on Skillman are a disaster) but as someone who regularly runs over the bridge. It’s desperately needed. I first started running over that bridge in 2012 and even then, it was dicey. They shifted the “bike/pedestrian” lanes on the pedestrian side later that year, but I still felt like I was going to get hit by a bike. And it has only become even more unsafe since then. I was doing hill workouts on the bridge in the winter of 2019/2020 and came really close to getting hit by bikes numerous times.

Given how much bike and pedestrian traffic is on that bridge, this was actually a necessary change.

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Tanya

Most will be back as more people get vaccinated and things get back to somewhat normal. Those those sold small homes will most likely never come back. But renters, buyers and many more seeking work, experience and better pay will.

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Victor

People riding their bikes to work I stead of taking the train during the pandemic definitely don’t pay taxes.

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ABoondy

thats the whole idea. bring the Cali tent city to NYC, where everyone is on welfare, and fully controlled by the gov.

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SuperWittySmitty

He announced it like he’s supposed to, but the plans have been in the works for quite some time. Presumably, too many people haven’t been paying attention.

I’m thrilled. Riding my bike into Manhattan is a real pleasure and I look forward to less-crowded conditions.

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Woodside Resident

Wonderful news. As a constituent, I’m especially grateful for Council Member Van Bramer’s advocacy. The combined bike/pedestrian path on the Queensboro has been too dangerous for too long and I’m glad the city is finally supporting the most environmentally sustainable transportation options across the bridge.

The views of the skyline from the southern outer roadway are beautiful, too, so I can’t wait to be able to walk across.

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Johnny

So there will only be one car lane??? The traffic is bad enough with the 2 lanes we have already.

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random guy

There will still be two car lanes. They are removing the weird lane that runs on the outside of the bridge that a lot of people, including you , don’t even know exists. I’m not sure how much a difference to traffic it will make.

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Sunnysider

There will be still be two Queens-bound car lanes on the lower level. They’re only converting that outermost single car lane to a pedestrian walkway.

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SuperWittySmitty

Eventually, people will realize that driving into Manhattan is a really dumb idea. The vast majority of us take use mass transit or our legs.

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Dee

Things need to be done to keep the young working folks who are paying high rents and travel by bike in the city. An average most bicyclists are younger white people.

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VV

Those that use citibikes are mostly young and white. The delivery people on bikes/scooters are mostly latino and asian.

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VelvetKnight

This is great news. That mixed lane has always been dangerous, and it’s been getting worse every year. Especially since e-bikes and e-scooters hit the scene.

People will see the south lane is way better for pedestrians anyway. A much nicer view, and they’ll get to avoid the crazy long exit on the Manhattan side. And that’s besides no longer having to worry about bikes.

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