The Brooklyn Bridge Is Finally Getting A Real Bike Lane

The dreams of cyclists, tourists and Lower Manhattan commuters might soon be realized: On Thursday night, Mayor de Blasio announced plans to add a dedicated cycling lane to the Brooklyn Bridge. 

The plan — revealed in the mayor’s final State of the City address — would take one lane of traffic away from cars on the Manhattan-bound side of the bridge and turn it into a dedicated two-way bike lane. The plan could be completed by the end of 2021.

Cycling advocates have been asking for a dedicated bike lane there for years, both to help de-prioritize car traffic in the city and to get cyclists off the notoriously tourist-clogged pedestrian path on the picturesque bridge. Right now, walkers share one side of the existing path and cyclists share the other, but the lack of barriers and signage means tourists often wander into the bike lane or swing selfie sticks into passing bikers. It’s highly and unnecessarily stressful for those just trying to commute from Brooklyn to work in Lower Manhattan.

The plan is partially in response to the boom in bike traffic during the pandemic, as people sought alternatives to public transit. Bicycle crossings over the East River bridges into Manhattan are up 55% from last year. (The Queensboro Bridge will also get a dedicated bike lane.) The mayor said the plan would “embrace the future” of the city. 

Cycling advocates are mostly hailing the plan, saying it is an overdue accommodation for a city where most residents don’t drive that will ”transform the commutes of thousands” and that it could set a positive example for bridges nationwide. 

But until it’s built, keep watching out for selfie sticks when crossing that bridge.

photo: iStock