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New Queens to Manhattan Bridge Proposed for Cyclists and Pedestrians

Queens Ribbon Bridge. (Rendering provided by T.Y. Lin International)

June 25, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

A new bridge connecting Queens to Manhattan — that would only carry cyclists and pedestrians — has been proposed by a group of transport experts.

The bridge, which is being called Queens Ribbon due to its slim design, would run from Long Island City through Roosevelt Island and into midtown Manhattan, according to renderings released Wednesday.

The design was created by Sam Schwartz, a former city traffic commissioner, along with engineers from NYU Tandon School of Engineering and T.Y. Lin International. The group said the city needs such a structure due to the increased number of people opting to walk or cycle across East River bridges.

For instance, daily bike traffic increased on the Queensboro Bridge from 4,243 average bridge crossings in 2013 to 5,044 average bridge crosses in 2018, according to DOT data.

The Queens Ribbon, the group said, would meet future demand by carrying up to 20,000 people per day.

The new structure would consist of a 20-foot wide bridge deck pathway that would be suspended by cables. The cables would be supported by three delta-shaped towers located near the Long Island City shore, at Roosevelt Island, and near the Manhattan shore. Each tower would be around 300 feet tall and 200 feet.

The bridge deck pathway would contain two five-foot lanes for cyclists going in each direction. A separate 10-foot wide lane would be constructed for pedestrians to share. The deck would hang around 125 feet above the East River.

Ribbon Bridge Typical Cross-section (Rendering provided by T.Y. Lin International)

The early design plans do not give an exact starting point for the Long Island City entrance/exit.

An area within the future East Midtown Greenway waterfront – a 1.5-acre public space stretching from East 53rd to 61st Streets – is being touted as the Manhattan entrance/exit. Exit 8 on FDR Drive at 41st Street has also been suggested for the Manhattan side entrance/exit, according to a report by Gothamist.

Pedestrians and cyclists looking to access the bridge on Roosevelt Island would be able to do so via an elevator.

The group gave a preliminary cost of around $100 million for the project and said it could be constructed within 10 years.

They also released similar design plans for two other bridges connecting to Manhattan. One bridge would link Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn and the other would run from Manhattan to New Jersey.

The proposals would need city and state approval and come at a time when city finances, in particular, are in a dire condition due to the COVID-19 shutdowns.

Tax revenues are down by around $9 billion, the mayor announced at a press briefing Wednesday.

The mayor when asked about the bridge plan at that briefing said it would be difficult to conceptualize the building of such structures right now given the economic crisis. He said that another option might be to re-purpose existing bridges.

Queens Ribbon Bridge. (Rendering provided by T.Y. Lin International)

The Queensboro Bridge, which was constructed in 1909 is the only direct connection for pedestrians and cyclists between Queens and Midtown Manhattan.

Currently, bicyclists and pedestrians share a narrow space on the north outer roadway. Bicycle and pedestrian advocates have said that the lane has become too busy and is dangerous.

They are pushing for the north outer roadway to be dedicated for bicyclists with the south outer roadway, currently used by cars, for sole pedestrian use.

The Triborough Bridge, which opened in 1936, has one small lane for pedestrians and cyclists are required to walk their bikes on this lane. It lacks a direct connection to Manhattan and therefore only has a fraction of the Queensboro Bridge bike and foot traffic.

Retrofitting old bridges to accommodate more cyclists or pedestrians would be challenging, Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said at Wednesday’s briefing.

Trottenberg said that the agency, however, was open to exploring the new bridge proposals.

“We have budget challenges right now, but I think it’s exciting what he’s [Sam Schwartz] put forward and will be engaging with my leadership on it,” she said.

View from Manhattan’s eastside (rendering by T.Y. Lin International)

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26 Comments

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Rosemarie

Reply to I do hear myself bc drivers pay taxes on everything where as bicylists contribute nada to roads ,they dont pay for anything and yet a bridge build for them when NYC is in a crisis . Doesnt sound right

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Mac

Rosemarie- When is NYC not in some form of financial crisis? What do you mean drivers pay taxes on “everything “ and bicyclists contribute nothing? Sales tax, property tax, income tax, inheritance tax, alcohol tax, cigarette tax.. etc. Which one of these taxes are bicyclist exempt from. Gas tax ? Plenty of bicyclist own cars and trucks..

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Cyclists pay the taxes that pay for your roads

>bicylists contribute nada to roads

Do you know where the money for roads comes from? Taxes?
Know who pays taxes? Cyclists.

How could you not know that?! 😂

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Anonymous

Every toll bridge in New York was built on the premise that the tolls will be removed when the project is paid for. The trick is they never let the project get paid off. Don’t trust them.

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Bebe

I’d like to see more distinctive separation between walking and bike lanes so everyone stays in their respective lanes.

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I have 3 cars

How they gonna pay for it? Russian bounties on our soldiers in Afghanistan, which Trump is allowing to happen? Is that how they’re gonna pay for this bridge?

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LIC Direct

You must be dreaming, a city on the verge of bankruptcy, high crime, collapsed prison system, nightly shootings, murder is up, corrupt politicians, failing schools, decreasing wealthy population, overtaxed homeowners and businesses and a biker wants a bridge so he can get to Manhattan between the months of May and October when the weather is warm, keep on dreaming.

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DB

Classic fear based rhetoric typical of angry conservatives.
Fear of the unknown, the foreigner …
You are in New York, a city that embraces multi ethnicity, progress and change. If you don’t like it move to Kentucky

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Gloom and doom

LIC Direct- Yours is the very same cry that had been echoed throughout the 60’a, 70’s and 80’s. If history serves as a guide, it’s time to make some real estate investments here in NYC. You should move.

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Anonymous

New York’s decline was only halted by Rudy Giuliani (before he lost his mind), Bill Bratton, Jack Maple and the NYPD. This time you’ve got Big Bird, his useless wife and Cuomo. Go ahead buy real estate. Good luck. Maybe when people get tired of New York reverting back to an unlivable $hithole the city can rise again.

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LIC Direct

DB and Doom and Gloom you must be a Dufuses, made those RE investments already years ago, your probably one of my tenants who not paying rent on time due to the COVID because I can’t evict you just yet!
I’m a native new yorker, born and raised grew up in Bronx, a minority as well, I remember the black out in July 1977 and the looting on the Grand Concourse and Fordham Rd which repeated a few weeks ago, lived in the lower east side in the early 80’s during the heroin and crack epidemic, until I was able to purchase a house in LIC and invested in this community, raised my family here. I saw NYC bounce back and stuck around through the good and bad times, but now this city is in big trouble and you drank the cool aid and bought into the BS and I not moving to Kentucky, I have a place bought and paid for, free and clear, you in turn will probably have to move out when you won’t be able to afford to live NYC in the future, you both probably like eveything to be free, free free, free, free, Freee…. good luck, people like you get pushed out, and do end up in places like Kentucky.

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ABoondy

they need to collect the same tolls as cars on this. my taxes should not be paying for it.

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My taxes are paying for it...

I don’t own a car and I pay for your roads and private parking.

You’re against that too right? You’re not just some sad hypocrite?

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Rosemarie S

Are bicyclist & pedestrians paying toll ? I suppose taxpayers are footing bill ?
Dumb idea

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Brandon

Drivers pay tolls because driving in the city comes with lots of negative externalities: noise, pollution, safety risks, traffic.

Riding a bicycle or walking into the city would not bring any of those things.

The toll exists to encourage people to NOT drive. We should be encouraging people to walk and bicycle.

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Listen to yourself

Are drivers paying a toll for the Ed Koch bridge? I suppose taxpayers are footing bill?

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Anonymous

Tolls were used to pay off the bonds issued to build the Queensboro Bridge. When the bonds were paid off the tolls were per the conditions of the bond removed. Same thing goes for the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges. Putting tolls back on these bridges would violate the terms of the bonds that financed their construction. Violating the terms of government issued bonds after maturity has been held to be illegal by the SCOTUS. This is why the bonds on the MTA and Port Authority bridges and tunnels are never allowed to mature. All tolls per the terms of those bonds would need to be abolished. Plus they would lose out on the perpetual floating loan that these semi-private authorities enjoy.

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Rosemarie

Reply to I do hear myself bc drivers pay taxes on everything where as bicylists contribute nada to roads ,they dont pay for anything and yet a bridge build for them when NYC is in a crisis . Doesnt sound right

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Who’sPickingUpTheTab?

Can You?

I know it would be nice and all,
Maybe we could use the AOC doctrine
“You just pay for it”

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Carbie Barbie

Definition of tax. (Entry 1 of 3) 1a : a charge usually of money imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes. b : a sum levied on members of an organization to defray expenses.

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Anon

Good you know what taxes are. Do you actually pay any or do you just cheer when they are levied on people that are more successful than you?

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