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Cyclists Hold Rally on Queensboro Bridge, Demand That Car Lane be Converted Into Pedestrian Pathway

State Sen. Michael Gianaris one of several speakers at a rally Sunday demanding that a car lane on the Queensboro Bridge be converted to a pedestrian pathway (Sen. Michael Gianaris via Twitter)

Sept. 28, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Cyclists and pedestrians took over the south outer roadway of the Queensboro Bridge Sunday to demand that it be converted from a car lane into a pedestrian pathway.

Bike advocates and several elected officials are calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to convert the lane into a pedestrian-only pathway and make the current shared pedestrian and cyclist pathway on the north outer roadway into a bicycle-only path.

Transportation advocacy groups — such as Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York — have been calling for the changes for years, but a recent uptick in bicycle use across New York City during the pandemic has made their demands more urgent.

They say the current pathway is too narrow to be safely shared by pedestrians and cyclists–who walk and bike in both directions.

Several elected officials joined bike advocates at the rally Sunday, including City Council Members Ben Kallos and Jimmy Van Bramer, State Sens. Mike Gianaris and Jessica Ramos and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

“More people are cycling than ever before,” Ramos said at the rally. “That means that our streets and our bridges need to keep us safe with the infrastructure that is necessary to keep us safe. The same way that streets are for people and not cars, bridges are for people.”

Kallos and Van Bramer, who both represent districts that flank the Queensboro Bridge, have even pledged discretionary funds to support the roadway conversion along the bridge.

The DOT is in favor of converting the south outer roadway, but a department spokesperson said it cannot be done as soon as the rally-goers would like.

The department must complete major safety upgrades and repairs to the bridge before it can convert the roadway from vehicle usage to pedestrian usage, according to the spokesperson.

“We couldn’t agree more: adding bike and pedestrian capacity to our bridges is a great idea,” the spokesperson said. “We’re completing urgent safety upgrades to the Queensboro Bridge, a 100+ year old structure, and we need extra lane capacity to get it done.”

The repairs aren’t expected to be completed until 2022 and the city’s budget crisis due to the coronavirus shutdowns adds another obstacle to the lane conversion project.

“We also have to evaluate every project in the context of our historic budget crisis,” the DOT spokesperson said. “But conversations are ongoing on moving this project forward, and we’re grateful for the community’s enthusiasm for it.”

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Try Sharing instead of Eliminating

Transportation Alternatives is a facist group who have been trying to rid NYC of cars since the 70’s. I’m all for using bikes for commuting but this group is not for ‘sharing’ roadways – they use any and every opportunity to push their agenda – they are behind the protected bike lanes in Sunnyside – and used the unfortunate death of a bicyclist to push protected bike lanes in Sunnyside. Until they ‘share’ and take business and drivers into consideration I will absolutely not support them. They don’t care about pedestrians – they only care about their agenda – eliminating cars altogether. They claim to involve neighborhoods in their decisions but they only push their agenda and force neighborhoods to comply – they’re almost as bad as Robert Moses ever was. They want to ‘take back’ NYC from automobiles instead of sharing the roads so we can all use them safely. Just my opinion.

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Love Pats Hate

Wow, thanks for sharing that! It takes real courage to post something like that. That said, there’s so much flatly and matter-of-factly wrong in there that it’s hard to know where to begin (even if it’s not difficult to know where you started).

1. How is advocating for more space for cyclists and pedestrians on a bridge with two levels devoted almost entirely to cars and trucks not “sharing the road”? What form of transportation will remain the dominant user of the road?

2. Are cars still allowed to drive on roads with “protected bike lanes?” How is that “eliminating” and not “sharing the road?” Pro tip: Protected bike lanes are usually only considered/installed when the road reconfiguration maintains or even improves the throughput of motor vehicles. We live in a car-centric city.

3. If vehicles still dominate the bridges and roads, cars are allowed to drive on roads with “protected bike lanes” and parked cars are themselves the “protection” in the “protected bike lane” do you wish to maintain your assertion that TA are trying to “eliminat[e] cars altogether”?

4. Fact: The parking protected bike lane design we have in Sunnyside has proven to be safer here as well as everywhere it has been implemented in NYC and beyond. We are all literally using the road more safely as a direct result of moving those lanes around. It’s a best practice in roadway design.

5. The power dynamic comparing TA to Robert Moses is entirely misplaced. TA are very clearly the plucky Jacobs-esque community activists in the grand scheme of things.

6. Last but most importantly by far: STOP FOLLOWING Queens Streets for All. While you present your hateful opinions as though you believe they are mainstream, they really sound exactly like the bilious hatred coming from that disgraceful NIMBY hate troll group. They simply did not want a safer road design because it would eliminate some of “their” parking spaces: everything else out of them has been outright lies and misinformation. They lost and in their frustration they’ve become increasingly more outrageous. It is best to ignore them, not repeat their conspiracy theories, and…perhaps…….in time……give TA a fresh look! Everything you seem to think about them is wrong, so why not?

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I smell litigation

I am suing SS post because they allowed that pic with JVBs bright blue sneakers to be posted…now my eyes are damaged

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Queens Streets for LOL

Jeez, that’s way more people than ever came to the parking rallies…what should I/WE do? Ok, how about this?

Public Advocate Brewer, Assemblyman Gianaris, Congresswoman Ramos, State Senator Kallos, and Nemesis Van Bramer, will you give up your tax payer funded cars and drivers? LOL

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JM Maspeth

Definitely needed. The northside path is getting very crowded, especially in the afternoon and evening, and mixing pedestrians and cyclists (including a lot of electric bikes and scooters) going both directions on a narrow pathway is going to end up with people getting hurt.

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that doesn't make sense

The repairs they’re doing right now are actually blocking the current bike/pedestrian path, making it even MORE unsafe. Seriously, when’s the last time anyone ever used the outer roadway, unless their taxi missed a turn…

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Gardens Watcher

Use the outer roadway last week. My favorite route out of Manhattan. Second Avenue southbound is a bottleneck as usual.

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Edward

Of course JVB will be there a great photo opportunity for a clown politician. Dude is a straight up toy, good old fashioned herb too. My man looks so lost in this picture “hope they get my good side.” JVB do something meaningful for the many not something for the few. Like bike lanes should not be a priority during these times job lost, community outreach, food programs, child development during the pandemic etc. But no let me get my attire ready for today’s great photo opp.

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LIC Direct

Well if AMAZON would have come to LIC all these upgrades to streets, the bridge, sewers would have been done as part of the upgrade of the entire area and waterfront and the anchor for the Sunnyside yards project — what a missed opportunity by our useless local politicians who did not throw their weight behind a project that would have created thousands of jobs and would have put LIC, Astoria and Queens, NY on the Global map attracting other businesses, more jobs, more housing, better schools, more money for LaGuardia Community College and the increase of the local tax base – now all we have are roaming gangs of thieves, criminals posing as Spectrum workers robbing people, an empty Riker’s Island – All thanks to the dummies politician’s now advocating for bike lanes,, instead of advocating for JOBS and the betterment of our community as a whole.

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