Earlier this morning, Councilmembers Brad Lander, Margaret Chin, and Stephen Levin unveiled a proposal to expand the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian and cycling path, which is such a crowded mess that many cyclists simply refuse to bike over it. Their plan is to create a tangible partition (not just the worthless painted line that's currently in place) to separate cyclists and pedestrians, and to triple the amount of pedestrian walking space. The goal of the expansion is to "make the commute safe, accessible, and enjoyable for pedestrians, cyclists and joggers alike." Here's the proposed layout:
At a press conference this morning, officials stressed that the current congestion caused daily by an average 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists is unsafe (though they were unable to offer current accident statistics). Councilmembers believe the expansion could work by simply extending the entire path's dimensions to match the widened section at the two buttresses of the bridge. For now, this is only a proposal; the plan has not yet been discussed with engineers, nor is there word on how much the project will cost. (The elevated path is above the traffic lanes, so the roadbed would remain unchanged.)
Under the current proposal (see below), three quarters of the expanded space would be dedicated to pedestrians, with the remaining quarter for cyclists. "The Brooklyn Bridge belongs to all New Yorkers equally; it is an icon and a remarkable piece of history, the greatest engineering feat of its time," said Councilmember Lander. "This expansion is necessary for a 21st century New York, where walking and biking are crucial. The expansion will have to happen eventually." To get things rolling now, this morning the City Council has announced a competition to design the new path.