10:31 am Aug. 7, 2012
Walking or riding a bike across the Brooklyn Bridge is an elevating experience. But it's also a congested one.
Every day, 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists jostle for space on the walkway, according to Department of Transportation numbers provided by the City Council.
Today at 11 a.m., councilmembers Brad Lander, Stephen Levin and Margaret Chin, and the cyclist advocacy group, Transportation Alternatives, will gather at the Manhattan foot of the 129-year-old East River suspension bridge and propose a solution to that problem: double the width of the famous wooden walkway.
Their full proposal, available here, calls for, "creating a dedicated bike lane north of the current path, and creating additional pedestrian space on the south side of the path. This plan would triple the amount of pedestrian space and would not reduce the number of lanes for drivers."
“This proposal is a win-win-win, tripling the pedestrian space and giving bicyclists a dedicated lane, all without impacting car lanes," said Lander, of Brooklyn, in a statement. "Let’s invest in our economy, transportation network, and public safety by making this improved Brooklyn Bridge a reality.”
It's a bold proposal, and one that faces countless and sizable hurdles, as the proposal itself acknowledges.
Not only would engineers have to ensure that the bridge could accommodate the extra weight of the expanded walkway, but the bridge is also a city landmark, a national historic landmark, and a national historic civil engineering landmark. Which means, presumably, that a lot of approvals would have to be acquired.
Also, the project could involve temporary road closures, which are never popular, and would likely cost a lot, though it's unclear how much.
The city's Department of Transportation, which operates the bridge, had no immediate comment.
Here's a schematic of what that expansion might look like.
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