The project will cost millions, but with $2.5 million allocated from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Department of Transportation on top of $624,000 from the city Department of Transportation (DOT), the long-awaited proposal will soon become a reality.
Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, along with the Pulaski Bridge Coalition, have been pushing to get the new lanes in before the expected five-week shutdown of the G train at the end of July, however Lentol said he is happy that the steps for commuter safety are underway.
“This allocation will go a long way in protecting the ever-growing population that utilizes the Pulaski Bridge to access the 7 and L train, and will certainly expand the transportation infrastructure in North Brooklyn,” he said.
Current plans would create a separate nine-foot, two-way bike lane in place of one lane of traffic on the Brooklyn-bound side of the bridge, leaving two 11-foot Brooklyn-bound lanes for cars and three Queens-bound lanes.
The current 8.5-foot shared pathway will now be solely dedicated to pedestrians.
Following the announcement of the recent allocation of funds to make this project possible, Lentol congratulated the hard work of former DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan for, “seeing this project through to its near completion.”
“The agency continues to work closely with the community boards on both sides of the bridge, and once they have had an opportunity to review the plans we hope to bid this project in the next few months and start work as soon as possible,” a DOT spokesperson said.
DOT stats show that there has been a 106 percent increase in bicycle traffic since 2009, and a 47 percent increase in pedestrian traffic during peak hours.
Miller Nuttle, campaigns director with Transportation Alternatives, is confident the new lanes will be swiftly implemented, adding that the steps come at a time when transportation has been put at the forefront in city policy.
“I think there’s a shift in consciousness, the same way it used to be okay to drive drunk,” Nuttle said. “Now we’re coming around to the reality that reckless driving and speeding are not to be tolerated.”