Bid to widen the Brooklyn Bridge?

Council members announced a proposal to widen the pedestrian and bicycle paths on the infamously crowded historic bridge.

If you want to witness the most dramatic and common clash between locals and tourists in New York City, bike across the Brooklyn Bridge at 1pm on a Sunday afternoon.

It's hell for cyclists and dangerous for tourists.

“We have people competing for a really limited amount of space,” said Jennifer So Godzeno, the pedestrian advocacy manager for Transportation Alternatives, a group advocating walking and cycling in the city.

While far too early to tell if the plan will find legs, three City Council members proposed to widen the upper-level platform on Tuesday.

“None of us are engineers,” Councilman Stephen Levin said. But he suggested the possibility of holding a local design competition.

The city Transportation Department has not yet been consulted about a concrete plan. A spokesman for Councilman Brad Lander’s office said the department was made aware of the announcement.

Seth Solomonow with the Transportation Department said that the city shared the members’ “interest in enhancing safety and accommodating the growing number of people crossing this iconic transportation hub and tourist destination.”

With an estimate of 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists crossing the bridge each day, according to the Transportation Department, some believe widening the path will only invite increased traffic.

With a bike lane too narrow to comfortably fit two-way traffic flow, the proposal will no doubt also be celebrated by many.

Matt Flegenheimer of The New York Times spoke with Manhattan side vendor, Jamel Wingate. He said he observed collisions between cyclists and pedestrians almost every day. “Tourists don’t know it’s a bike lane,” he said. “They just stand there.”

Looking southeast along centerline of Brooklyn Bridge, a rare moment of peace.

[via: The New York Times]

Images: Wikipedia Commons

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