By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Pulaski Bridge in Greenpoint marks the halfway point along the route of the New York City Marathon. Tens of thousands of runners cross over the span linking Brooklyn and Queens on Marathon Day, representing the 14-mile mark in their journey. So why shouldn’t bike riders enjoy the same luxury on the other 364 days of the year?
That’s the question Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg) is asking city transportation experts. Lentol has been pushing for months for the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to look into the possibility of installing a bicycle lane on the bridge.
Lentol said that while he hasn’t received a firm yes from DOT officials, he did get a letter that is giving him some hope.
In response to the multiple letters he sent to the City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan requesting the installation of a dedicated bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge, Lentol recently received a letter.
In the letter, DOT officials explained that the agency’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Unit is investigating the matter. The investigation will examine various factors that would be involved in creating a bicycle lane, including the traffic conditions on the roadway, the structure of the movable bridge and the connections on the Brooklyn and Queens sides of the bridge. The investigation is slated to be completed by March, Lentol was informed.
“I am glad that the Department of Transportation is taking a serious look at the possibility of this bike lane. I met with stakeholders about two months ago and we all came to the conclusion that a dedicated bike lane would solve many problems for pedestrians and cyclists on the Pulaski Bridge,” Lentol said.
The Pulaski, a drawbridge, is currently configured with three car lanes on each side and a single pedestrian walkway on the southbound side, which is utilized by both pedestrians and cyclists.
Lentol said a bike lane on the bridge would also serve to slow down speeding traffic on nearby McGuinness Boulevard. By limiting the lanes of traffic on the bridge, to two on the southbound lanes of the bridge, would inherently slow drivers down, he said.
“I have long advocated for traffic calming measures on McGuinness Boulevard and this proposed bike lane would undoubtedly slow drivers down, while making the Pulaski Bridge safer for pedestrians and cyclists who travel along this road everyday. This bike lane is a common sense solution to a multi-faceted problem and I hope Commissioner Sadik-Khan’s investigation will result in the correct decision to make this bike lane a reality,” Lentol said.
The Pulaski Bridge, is situated over the Newtown Creek and connects Greenpoint, Brooklyn to Long Island City in Queens. The bridge, which opened in 1954, was named in honor of Casimir Pulaski, a Polish-born American Revolutionary War hero. The name was selected in tribute to the large Polish-American community in Greenpoint.