By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
There’s a walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge, so why not a bike lane on the Verrazano Bridge? That’s the question asked by environmentally-minded Community Board 10 members seeking to make the Bay Ridge to Staten Island span friendly to those on two wheels.
Board member Bob Hudock came up with the suggestion during a recent meeting the board’s Traffic and Transportation Committee had with officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (M.T.A.) Bridges and Tunnels to discuss an upcoming Verrazano Bridge repair project.
The M.T.A. is scheduled to repair the upper level of the bridge starting in 2014. The repair project, slated to last for 33 months, will entail the replacement of the deck and parapets, Board 10 Transportation Committee Chairman Brian Kieran said. In addition, a new ramp to the Belt Parkway will be built. “The work will be done at night,” he said. The construction will be done in four stages.
Hudock, chairman of the board’s Environmental Committee, said that since the upper level of the bridge is going to undergo construction, why not use the time to also build a bike lane. "I just thought it would be a good idea," he said.
But M.T.A. officials turned down the request.
“They said there’s no way,” Kieran said. He added, however, that the board would request that the agency employ buses equipped with bike racks for bike riders wishing to ride in Staten Island.
In other news, Kieran reported that the city’s Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) plans to install benches on sidewalks in front of four Bay Ridge locations – 312 93rd St., 6935 Fourth Ave., 8706 Fifth Ave., and 8714 Fifth Ave. – as part of CityBench, a program to increase the opportunities for pedestrians to sit on city streets.
All of the locations are acceptable to the board except for the 93rd Street spot, according to Kieran, who said the fact that a bar is stationed there is problematic. Residents expressed concern that the club’s patrons will sit on the bench late at night and smoke, drink, and make noise.
The board will recommend that the D.O.T. leave the 93rd Street location off its list of places to get benches, Kieran said.