Mayor de Blasio said Thursday that construction will begin this year on a project to give cyclists and pedestrians their own dedicated lanes on separate sides of the Queensboro-Ed Koch Bridge during his State of the City address.
The plan also calls for the innermost Manhattan-bound lane of the Brooklyn Bridge to become a two-way protected bike path, while converting the existing bike-pedestrian crossing to the exclusive use of pedestrians.
“The Brooklyn Bridge and the Queensboro Bridge are iconic and deeply intertwined in the daily lives of countless New Yorkers,” the mayor said in a summary provided by his office. “Now, it’s time to bring them into the 21st century and embrace the future with a radical new plan.
“On the Queensboro Bridge, we will begin construction this year to convert the north outer roadway into a two-way bike-only lane and convert the south outer roadway to a two-way pedestrian-only lane,” de Blasio said.
Construction is not expected to be complete until 2022.
The northern outer lane on the Manhattan-bound side right now is shared by pedestrians and cyclists, and while painted lanes and signs supposedly assign both their separate lanes, it’s pretty much a matter of the honor system.
The south outer roadway right now brings vehicular traffic from Manhattan into the borough.
State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) was pleased.
“This exciting news comes after years of persistent advocacy from leaders and activists throughout Queens,” he said in an email. “The new bike and pedestrian lanes will make crossing the East River safer for everyone and change how we move around our city for the better.”
“This news is a huge win for all of us who’ve been fighting for the last five years not only to save lives, but for a cleaner, greener, and healthier city,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) in a statement issued by his campaign for borough president.