It always seems like a great idea: on a beautiful day, a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, or maybe a stroll preceding a subway ride uptown.
It’s a great idea: until you actually get to the Bridge. Aside from early mornings and late evenings, trying to cross the Bridge on foot or two wheels seems more like a drive on the BQE during rush hour than a soothing saunter across one of our City’s most beautiful structures.
Groups of tourists that think nothing of walking by the dozens en masse. The guy struck by the perfect view who stops abruptly to take a photo, mindless of who is behind me. The bikers that think that because there’s a dedicated bike lane, they can go as fast as they want, sending scurrying the oblivious walkers who have wandered into the wrong lane.
Walking across the Bridge can be, these days, an exercise in frustration more than anything else.
But, maybe, not for long.
According to The Times:
Pedestrian crossings have soared in 2017 to an average of 13,196 for a weekday, compared with 10,484 in 2011, while weekend crossings for the same period have boomed to 32,453 from 14,145.
Cyclist crossings have also increased to an average of 3,157 for a weekday in 2017 from 2,981 in 2011.
As a result, the Department of Transportation is considering several options to reduce the congestion: a new bike-only lane entrance; reducing the number of vendors; building an additional structure to accommodate the increased crowds.
Says commenter Jake: “Bikes need to have priority.”
Offers Charles: “Someone should come up with a Tourist Summons to hand out to visitors too enamored with and/or overwhelmed by NYC to realize how inconsiderate they’re being.”
[editorial note: it fascinates me that by far the majority of commenters that identify by their real names are men.]
One option not on the table is converting an existing auto lane into a bike lane.
As someone who regularly crosses the Bridge by foot, I’d love to see the number of vendors reduced or eliminated entirely; surely, too, the four little NYPD vehicles that clog the pedestrian lane, which are often inhabited by officers looking at their cell phones and not much else.
The Times story offers much more detail about the plans under consideration. Your thoughts? How do you think the City should help make traversing the Bridge a better experience than it currently is?
Photo: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Brooklyn Bridge.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1867 – 1910.