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De Blasio Administration Opens Brooklyn Bridge Protected Bike Lane, Permanently Transforming Iconic Roadway for Cyclists

September 14, 2021

Fulfilling State of the City promise, protected bike lane to replace one vehicular lane; existing promenade space given entirely to 10,000 daily pedestrians

NEW YORK—The de Blasio administration today cut the ribbon on a two-way protected bike lane along the Brooklyn Bridge. The bike lane, as originally proposed in the mayor’s State of the City address this year, repurposes one lane of vehicular traffic to accommodate the cycling boom that has seen thousands of New Yorkers choose healthier, greener, and more sustainable forms of transportation across the five boroughs. The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) has turned the existing promenade, which has been shared by cyclists and pedestrians for decades, into a pedestrian-only space. 

This transformation is the first reconfiguration of the iconic bridge since trolley tracks were permanently removed in 1950.

“There’s no better sign that the cycling boom is here to stay than permanently redesigning the most iconic bridge in America,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This bike lane is more than just a safe, convenient option for thousands of daily cyclists. It’s a symbol of New York City fully embracing a sustainable future and striking a blow against car culture.”

“This is a historic moment as we work to get New Yorkers out of their cars and promote sustainable modes of transportation,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “Bridges for the People is a step in the right direction towards a safer and more sustainable transportation future that puts people first – and we look forward to implementing similar changes to the Queensboro Bridge this year. I want to thank Council Members Lander, Chin and Levin, and of course Speaker Johnson, for their steadfast support for this groundbreaking project.”  

Work on the bridge began in June and finished ahead of schedule this month. 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 create a safer and more seamless route along the bridge for cyclists and expand the dedicated space on the bridge’s promenade for pedestrians.

Bike crossings reached up to over 60,000 in the month prior to construction, while pedestrians have numbered more than 10,000 per day in recent years. 

“This transformative change on New York’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge is a major step towards making our city more livable and sustainable,” said Ben Furnas, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability. “Creating a new high quality bike connection from Brooklyn to Manhattan and more space for pedestrians on the promenade above is a terrific example of how our fight against climate change can improve quality of life in the here and now. Congratulations to the Department of Transportation and all the New Yorkers who have been advocating for Bridges for the People.”

"Finally, cyclists and tourists – and cyclists who are tourists – are getting the protected biking lane they deserve," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Diverting bikes to this path will make the bridge's pedestrian paths even more popular and make everyone, whether on two legs or two wheels, feel safer. Kudos to the Mayor and the DOT for executing this long-overdue improvement."

“I commend Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Gutman, and the Department of Transportation for their efforts to expand bicycle and pedestrian accessibility throughout our city and help people share these spaces safely, and for getting this project done ahead of schedule,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh, who represents the Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods on both sides of the Bridge. “New Yorkers have increasingly taken up bicycles as a healthy and environmentally friendly way to travel. Bikes have been a growing part of our response to climate change and a big part of what makes New York work for many people. There’s no better place to create a safe, efficient bikeway than the Brooklyn Bridge, historically one of the first great bridges that unified our city and still a critical connector, as well as an icon of New York around the world.”

“The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge protected bike lane is a great day for New York City. It’s an important step in undoing decades of harmful policies that prioritized cars over people. From Open Streets to Outdoor Dining, we’ve revolutionized our approach to our public spaces in the last 19 months. This bike lane represents another big win for that approach, and for all New Yorkers,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

“The Brooklyn Bridge is a National historic landmark that’s used daily by thousands of New Yorkers traveling to and from Manhattan. The new two-way protected bike path provides a dedicated path for cyclists while expanding the bridge's promenade,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “This new bike path will reduce the overall number of vehicles crossing the bridge and increase the room available for pedestrians and cyclists. I thank Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman for making this project possible.”

“I am excited for the opening of the new Brooklyn Bridge bike path, a long overdue development in our NYC bike infrastructure and network. I would like to thank the Mayor and team at City Hall who made this happen, NYC DOT – Commissioner Hank Gutman, Borough Commissioner Keith Bray and their hard-working team, and Transportation Alternatives' Bridges 4 People campaign. I would also like to thank the countless bicyclists and pedestrians from the district who have contacted my office over the years to call attention to the insufficient space on the existing Brooklyn Bridge promenade as it is routinely congested with foot traffic. This will allow for a smoother experience for those traversing the Brooklyn Bridge by foot and will create a safe and expedient passage by bicycle as we move away from a car-centric model and embrace alternative methods of transportation for a healthier, more breathable and more liveable city. I look forward to continued investments in our bike infrastructure and welcome all to get on a bike and try out the new bike path!” said Council Member Steve Levin.

"This is a bold step towards creating a more efficient transportation system, which is exactly what our city needs. Bicycling is a great emissions-free way to access Lower Manhattan and it's also a lot of fun! Creating a bicycle lane on Brooklyn Bridge is an example of how we can better use our existing infrastructure and this change should be the first of many. Our city needs more dedicated bicycle lanes so that any New Yorker can ride a bicycle as safely as they can drive a car on our streets," said Council Member Margaret Chin.

“Good Co Bike Club is very excited for this new bike will make connecting to the West Side Highway much easier, and not to mention, SAFER. The previous lane on the Brooklyn Bridge was accident prone and bumpy. We're all about improving cycle infrastructure and making NYC a cleaner, more sustainable city,” said Andrew ‘Drew’ Bennett, Founder and CEO of Good Co Bike Club, LLC.

"The unveiling of the new Brooklyn Bridge bike lane is a major milestone on many levels," said Liam Blank, a spokesperson for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "Bike traffic over the East River continues to boom, and this new protected bike lane will allow over 60,000 daily cyclists to safely cross between Manhattan and Brooklyn. We commend Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Gutman for continuing to restore balance to our streets, and we look forward to working with the City to build a more robust network of bike lanes throughout all five boroughs."

"We are thankful to the determined DOT team and our grassroots Bridges 4 People activists whose years of hard work brought this monumental project to the finish line. This project is proof that we can reclaim space from cars and prioritize people on our streets. Now, New York City must build on this momentum by expediting plans to make bridges and streets safer, healthier, and more equitable across the five boroughs - especially to combat an alarming rise in traffic violence this year.  As our #NYC25x25 challenge spells out, the future of New York City must be built around people, not cars, and this project is an important step toward reaching this vision," said Danny Harris, Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives.

“This is a monumental day for New York City," said Ken Podziba, President and CEO of Bike New York. "The bike path will ensure a much safer and more enjoyable ride over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and undoubtedly lead to more New Yorkers bicycling. We at Bike New York are very thankful to the Mayor's Office, DOT, and all the city workers who made this welcome and exciting improvement possible.”

“Over the past eighteen months New York City has been experienced a dramatic #BikeBoom, and countless New Yorkers have spoken with their pedals, showing that biking is often the fastest, most affordable, and most satisfying way for you to get where you're going -- even if there's a bridge in between you and your destination,” said Caroline Samponaro, Head of Transit, Bike and Scooter Policy at Lyft, the operator of Citi Bike. "Mayor de Blasio and the City Council have responded by prioritizing safety and efficient movement on our bridges, creating the space that people and bikes need, and we at Lyft and Citi Bike applaud them for their efforts to build a better, more resilient city.”

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