MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 28, 2020
Kallos, Van Bramer: It’s Time to Open the Queensboro Bridge to Pedestrians
Council Member Ben Kallos
Yesterday, Councilmembers Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens) wrote an op-ed for amNY calling on the City to open more pedestrian paths on the Queensboro Bridge.
As of now, the Queensboro Bridge has nine lanes open to car traffic, but only one narrow path open to cyclists and pedestrians. This is particularly problematic in the era of COVID-19, since it impedes social distancing. The Department of Transportation currently has plans to open the South Outer Roadway to pedestrians in 2022; however, Kallos and Van Bramer insist that New Yorkers can’t wait that long.
“The conditions on the bridge are dangerous, plain and simple,” they wrote. “As cyclists and pedestrians jockey for space on a path as narrow as nine feet, there have been frequent crashes, including some serious injuries. We have both heard from seniors and parents of young children in our districts who avoid the bridge entirely. And we know that New Yorkers who don’t feel safe crossing the East River by subway, bike, or foot will turn to cars. Many already have. This is leading to gridlocked streets, polluted air, and crashes.
“We know the South Outer Roadway could be opened to foot traffic because it already was, during the 1980s and 1990s, before it was returned to cars. We know its reopening will require some immediate safety improvements, and we’re here to advocate for them. In fact, we’ve pledged to use some of our discretionary capital funding to help install fencing along a new South Outer Sidewalk. All we need is for the City to respond to our determination with their own.”
Read the full article here.