If there is one point bicyclists and pedestrians can agree on in the ongoing war for the streets of New York that aren't owned by cars, it is that the Brooklyn/Manhattan bridges are the worst. The tabloids have run exposes on the problem, the city keeps switching things up, we recommend avoiding the Brooklyn Bridge on bikes entirely, and our commenters keep commenting about the problems they encounter. So now the city is putting real money into trying to solve the problem—at least temporarily—by hiring four full-time glorified crossing guards. Better than nothing!
From now until November 26 the city has hired "pedestrian safety managers" to work the bridges (two on the Brooklyn, one on the Williamsburg and one on the Manhattan) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays (Sunday strollers can fend for themselves). The DOT is currently declining to say how much they are paying the consultants from Sam Schwartz Engineering, but it can't be that much and we've heard of worse ways to spend money in a down economy than on public safety.
Still, even this move isn't enough for some walkers. "It's crazy. They would be better off putting up those flexible dividers," one pedestrian told the Daily News. And another went even further, telling the paper that, "I think the bridge should just be for pedestrians. If you have a bike, you should walk it across."
Trolls like that aside, this actually seems like a good way to educate both riders and pedestrians of proper bridge behavior. Maybe someday soon pedestrians on the Williamsburg Bridge will actually start using their side instead of walking three-abreast on the northern bike side (which has a worse view anyway).