Monday, November 8, 2021
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Brooklyn Bridge Bike Lane Ridership Skyrockets
Report shows continued growth for cycling, with over 530,000 daily cycling trips in 2019 and a 61% growth in cycling in the Midtown core in from 2015 to 2020
NEW YORK—NYC DOT today announced that new data shows cycling ridership on the Brooklyn Bridge bike lane up nearly 90% in October 2021 from October 2020. This new protected two-way bike lane opened in September 2021. Not only was a lane repurposed from car usage, but it was also the first reconfiguration of bridge since trolley lines were removed in 1950. The existing promenade, which has been shared by cyclists and pedestrians for decades, was turned into a pedestrian-only space. This news follows a DOT study showing how much biking as boomed citywide.
"We have reclaimed space from cars to make cycling over the Brooklyn Bridge safer and easier, while making the pedestrian experience better than ever – and it has been a great success," said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. "I couldn't be more thrilled to see people flock to this critical connection in our bike lane network. If you haven't yet, I encourage everyone to try the new lane and embrace cycling as a sustainable and healthy way to get around our great city."
Average daily ridership numbers on the Brooklyn Bridge bike path, as determined by automated, 24-hour counters were:
Sept 2019: 2,654
Sept 2020: 2,336
Sept 2021: 3,635 (56% increase over 2020; new bike path opened on Sept. 14)
Oct 2019: 2,492
Oct 2020: 2,239
Oct 2021: 4,206 (88% increase over 2020)
Meanwhile, cyclist counts on the Manhattan Bridge and the other two East River Bridges remained largely consistent with historical trends.
Work on the bridge began in June and finished ahead of schedule in September. It included installing barrier segments, creating a new connecting bike path in Manhattan, including new traffic signal construction, adding protective fencing on the interior of the bridge, and implementing traffic changes to help avoid greater congestion in downtown. These changes created a safer and more seamless route along the bridge for cyclists and expand the dedicated space on the bridge's promenade for pedestrians. DOT is carefully monitoring traffic patterns on bridge following these changes.
NYC DOT is responsible for cleaning and maintenance of the bike lane. The path is cleaned every two week or more often if necessary, and DOT has acquired snow removal equipment to be prepared for winter.
"Bike infrastructure works," said NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson. "The success of the Brooklyn Bridge bike lanes show that when we make cycling safer and more convenient, New Yorkers will embrace it as a way to get around the City. And that's a crucial part of how we can build a sustainable transportation system, reduce traffic congestion, and protect our environment."
"These fantastic new cycling numbers on the Brooklyn Bridge confirm that there is huge, pent-up demand for safe cycling infrastructure across not only our borough but between boroughs," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "With this new connection, cyclists can now more safely bike between Brooklyn and Manhattan on one of the world's most iconic bridges. I look forward to seeing the same promising results on the Queensboro Bridge when the DOT opens the South Outer Roadway soon."
"The data that was released today shows that when offered protected bike lanes, New Yorkers will take to the streets on their bikes more," said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. "Whether it be commuters going to work or people cycling as a way to exercise, the reconfiguration of the Brooklyn Bridge has contributed to an exponential growth in cyclists crossing. I hope the success that we are seeing from this project will inspire more of its kind around New York City."
"The bold decision to dedicate one lane of traffic to cyclists on the Brooklyn Bridge demonstrates that more people will avail themselves of interborough travel if they can do so safely. The additional bonus is that the pedestrian walkway over the Bridge is far safer for pedestrians. This is a boon for all New Yorkers," said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick.
"It is wonderful to see New Yorkers taking advantage of the City's bike lanes in increasing numbers," said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. "Biking in New York is an efficient, healthy, and climate-friendly method of transportation, on top of being fun. With each new protected bike lane, more and more New Yorkers are comfortable getting out on their bikes. Please travel safely and wear helmets, everyone! Thanks to Commissioner Gutman and Mayor de Blasio for continuing to champion expanded bike infrastructure."
"There has been a surge in bicycle commuting over the last year, and the data shows the usage is a strong investment in the environment. Thousands of cyclists, nearly double than a year ago, are utilizing the new protected two-way bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge," said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. "We need safe options to provide an environment that will encourage people to get out of cars and into clean transportation options like the new protected bike lanes. The New York League of Conservation Voters celebrates this boom in biking numbers that is playing a role in reducing emissions."
"When cities create more space for bikes, we have seen time and time again that the result is more people on bikes. This data on the Brooklyn Bridge bike lane is yet another compelling proof point for how DOT's street and bridge redesigns use the same area to move more people safely and efficiently," said Laura Fox, General Manager of Citi Bike at Lyft. "The number of Citi Bike rides over bridges has doubled since before the pandemic due to the Bike Boom and the addition of ebikes to our fleet, and this bike lane is building on that momentum by bringing an even larger group of our riders between boroughs."
"The success of the new Brooklyn Bridge bike lane is proof that, when the city makes an investment in sustainable modes of transportation, New Yorkers will take full advantage of it. Climate change cannot be addressed without clawing back public space from cars," said Liam Blank, Policy & Communications Manager for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "Elected leaders must look at these numbers as reason to double down on the city's commitment to build out a comprehensive network of protected bike lanes throughout the five boroughs, including on other East River crossings."
"If you build it, they will come!" said Kate Slevin, Executive Vice President of the Regional Plan Association. "There is tremendous latent demand for cycling in New York City that can be unleased with safe, protected lanes like the new ones on the Brooklyn Bridge. RPA continues to support an interconnected, high capacity network of bicycling lanes across the five boroughs in order to improve health, mobility and help address climate change."
"It's no surprise that building a dedicated protected bike path has empowered more people to cycle over the Brooklyn Bridge. Prioritizing people over cars to build safe bike infrastructure works," said Liz Denys, a leader of the Transportation Alternatives Bridges 4 People campaign. "Now is the time to build on this success and make Bridges 4 People a reality by improving the connections to the Brooklyn Bridge and converting roadways to protected bike lanes on more bridges across the city."
"The DOT's new data is extremely encouraging to cyclists and motorists alike who advocated tirelessly for improved mobility," said Angela Azzolino, Executive Director and Founder of Get Women Cycling. "When our elected officials treat bicycles and cars equally, New Yorkers are motivated to travel using healthier, sustainable and more affordable options. The city has to include more commuter education in addition to continuing the infrastructure developments for the full benefits of this effort to be truly realized. Let this be just the beginning: we need more full lanes dedicated to slower-moving vehicles with traffic signals timed appropriately. The success of the Brooklyn Bridge is all the evidence we need to plow forward with similar improvements citywide."