Council Members Ponder Widening Brooklyn Bridge Walkways

Three City Council members representing both Brooklyn and Manhattan believe the Brooklyn Bridge needs to fatten up. Citing tight quarters along the pedestrian and bicycle paths, the members proposed Tuesday to widen the upper-level platform for tourists and commuters.

The New York Times reports that Brooklyn Councilman Stephen Levin suggested that “the engineering and ideas community” could be enlisted to widen the artery by as much as three times its current span, perhaps through a competition organized by local design groups.

Likewise, Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn, believes that “just looking at how the path goes around the buttresses gives you a sense that a wider path is feasible. If it can widen out there, surely we can find a way to widen it out elsewhere.” Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who represents the Manhattan side, also attended the event on Tuesday to lend support.

Lander’s office says the city Transportation Department has not yet been consulted about a possible plan, though Seth Solomonow, a spokesman for the Transportation Department, said the city shares their “interest in enhancing safety and accommodating the growing number of people crossing this iconic transportation hub and tourist destination.” Any proposed designs “would be part of a long-term look at improving bridge access and safety,” he said.

The width of the main portion of the 129-year-old Bridge’s pathway varies between 8 and 16 feet. A bike lane on the bridge can comfortably fit only one rider in many areas, though traffic is intended to flow in both directions. The council members cited a Transportation Department estimate that 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists cross the bridge each day.

See the full NY Times story here. DNAInfo also reports here.

Share this Story:
  • She’s Crafty

    I’m sure you all will have surmised that I AGREE re: separating cyclists and pedestrians on the bridge. Now just wait for the whining from the cyclists that they can’t have 3x the space of pedestrians.

  • http://none Janbird

    Why can’t they add a bike lane with the auto traffic lanes? Then they could go as fast as they want. They share car lanes every where else.

    Bikes should not be side-by-side with pedestrians. I have seen so many horrible scenes with children and tourists and speeding bicycles. It is so dangerous. There must be so many accidents.

  • HenryLoL

    There is no way to widen at the City Hall end where the path is at the roadway level. Just leave it alone! It is kind of nuts that a whole lane is reserved for bikes when 15,000 people are trying to walk. As with many bridges, you should have to get off and walk your bike over…

  • Mr. Crusty

    oh sajh get real. With all due respect, I’ll wait for an engineer’s report on the likely cost of the project if you don’t mind. Bridge construction is a unique endeavor and I’m not sure your experience in real estate warrants any particular deference on the subject.

  • David on Middagh


    By your reasoning, motorists should have to get out of their cars and push on entering Brooklyn Heights at either end of Hicks, because the pedestrian commuters, photographers, delivery people, sidewalk diners, stroller pushers, joggers, and the rest are squeezed onto a too-narrow sidewalk while all that roadway real estate is, frankly, non in bumper-to-bumper use by the cars that occasionally whiz through.

  • my2cents

    The bridge originally was a double decker, and the cross members still exist over the current roadways from where the upper deck used to be. I would propose adding a paved path above the brooklyn bound side of the bridge, covering half of the car lanes. The center portion of the bridge would then become pedestrian only, and the bikes could safely wizz past in their completely separate lane. Also this would not require any reduction in the already limited car lanes. The only real challenge I can see with this is how to terminate this new bike lane and blend it in at the ends. THAT could be expensive!

  • Arch Stanton


    Your moniker clearly reflects the value of your opinions, practically worthless.
    You said “The bridge originally was a double decker, and the cross members still exist over the current roadways from where the upper deck used to be”
    That is a complete fabrication. There was never a walkway or anything else over the roadways or train/trolly tracks, except where it goes around the towers, as it is now. Please do some research before you go spewing nonsense.

  • Mike

    Widening the bridge would be so cool I have no idea how to do it I guess they will do feasibility studies out the wazoo and come up with something. I love the bikeifying ( my own invention) of NYC. I go to a cool bikeshop/ cafe and get tea while my bike is being worked on i ride around by my on the cool bike lanes by Prospect park and I have a bike storage/ parking place that I use by my house, It’s awesome! I never have to walk it up and down stairs and or worry about it being stolen, it is very zen like. Oh and for anyone that wants to know where I go its it IS a LIfe saver.

  • my2cents

    Hi Arch, thanks for your polite and friendly correction. I don’t know why you consistently find the need to be rude on this forum. Clearly you relish your role as the village d*ckhead.
    I guess I had misread some photos like these where it appears that the old cable car would ride above the horse and carriage roadway. I guess in fact the tram eventually went alongside the roadbed as it crossed the bridge, but based on photos like these you can see the origin of my mistake.

    I still maintain that the trusses over the roadway would be strong enough to support a bike path, but obviously not vehicular traffic. I still think this is a valid way to solve the problem that this thread is actually about.