It is collectively agreed that the bustling daily commute across Newtown Creek on the Pulaski Bridge connecting Greenpoint and Long Island City is not the most ideal condition for a traveling cyclist or pedestrian.
The bridge, destined for further congestion as current developments surrounding the Brooklyn Greenway are expected to further complicate the daily commute over the bridge, has long been seeking a safe and economical solution is to the inevitable problem.
Assemblyman Joseph Lentol of North Brooklyn is a strong advocate for the installation of dedicated bike lanes on the bridge, and has recently received notice from the Department of Transportation (DOT) that it is investigating the feasibility of the proposal.
“I am glad that the Department of Transportation is taking a serious look at the possibility of this bike lane,” Lentol said.
While his request has yet to receive a definitive answer from DOT, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs unit is expected to make their decision by March 2013.
“I have long advocated for traffic calming measures on McGuinness Boulevard, and this proposed bike lane would undoubtedly slow drivers down, while making Pulaski Bridge safer for pedestrians and cyclists who travel along this road every day,” Lentol explained. “This bike lane is a common sense solution to a multi-faceted problem, and I hope Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn’s investigation will result in the correct decision to make this bike lane a reality.”
According to a response from DOT, they are currently looking into the project’s impact on traffic conditions, the practicability of construction on the bridge’s moveable structure, and the impact it will have on either side of Brooklyn and Queens.
While Lentol’s suggestion is currently under investigation, there is another mindset that has also raised an eyebrow or two.
“I cycle, walk and drive across that bridge often, and I don’t think that is the best use of money,” explained Sheila Lewandowski, LIC resident of 17 years and member of the Community Board 2.
“I believe that a better use of resources would be to build a bridge dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists, since the needs will continue to increase,” she said. “There will be a great need for other means of accessing the developing waterfront communities of Hunters Point South on the Long Island City side, and Greenpoint and Williamsburg on the Brooklyn side.
“The proposed route over the Pulaski Bridge bypasses many local businesses, and I believe that is a lost opportunity,” Lewandowski addded. “When people ride or stroll, the likelihood of them stopping at local businesses is better.
Cyclists and pedestrians who cross the Pulaski Bridge seek a safer route.