As part of the mayor’s “Bridges for the People” initiative, the Brooklyn Bridge will ban cars from the innermost lane of the Manhattan-bound side. That lane will be converted into a protected bike lane, and the existing shared promenade space will become a road just for pedestrians.
For the Queensboro Bridge, the city will begin construction this year to transform the north outer roadway into a two-way protected bike lane. The south outer roadway wil become a pedestrian-only lane.
In his recorded speech, de Blasio said the iconic bridges have been part of the problem of the city’s dependence on cars, but the city will turn them into part of the solution.
“We’ll have spaces on the bridges devoted solely to clean transportation,” he said. “These are the kind of changes that allow us to move out of the era of fossil fuels and the era of the automobile, and into a green future as part of our commitment to the New York City Green New Deal.”
In the past several years, lawmakers and transit advocates have pushed for the Queensboro Bridge to add bike and pedestrian lanes. Last October, state senators Michael Gianaris and Jessica Ramos and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer joined the Department of Transportation (DOT) on a tour of the bridge.
“The new bike and pedestrian lanes will make crossing the East River safer for everyone,” Gianaris said, “and change how we move around our city for the better.”
During the State of the City, the mayor also announced DOT will begin construction on five new “Bike Boulevards,” which are streets designed to give cyclists travel priority and to prioritze their safety.
Each boulevard will have design elements intended to slow car speeds, and will feature traffic diverters, signal timing changes, shared streets and gateway treatments.
The city will also make the Open Strets program permanent, and will seek to keep building more each year, de Blasio said. DOT will open applications for new Open Streets with a focus on local partners to manage and support them.
Transportation Alternatives executive director Danny Harris said these moves are a significant step toward the goal of making city streets fairer, safer and more vibrant.
“We are heartened to know that the clear majority of New Yorkers support these live-saving improvements, and hope that these projects will be delivered without delay,” he said. “We look forward to partnering with Mayor de Blasio and DOT on these visionary projects as we convert our streets into a pathway to recovery.”