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.”