As Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in January that the city will add a lane for cyclists on the Brooklyn and Queensboro Bridges, one elected official wants to take that plan even further.
On March 8, state Senator Alessandra Biaggi introduced legislation that will create a committee in conjunction with the MTA to improve cycling and pedestrian access on bridges.
In contrast to every other transportation agency in New York City, the MTA does not allow bicycle access on its bridges. The bill would also require the MTA to consider and prioritize bicycle and pedestrian access when planning capital projects.
“Despite the rapid growth of bicycling in New York City over the last decade, the MTA has done little to improve bicycle access at its stations and prohibits cycling on its bridges altogether,” Biaggi said. “As more New Yorkers have turned to cycling and outdoor spaces throughout the pandemic, we must continue to make our communities welcoming to cyclists and pedestrians and encourage residents to use clean forms of transportation. I’m proud to work in partnership with Assembly Member González-Rojas, Bike New York and StreetsPAC to develop this legislation to transform the MTA’s approach to bicycle and pedestrian access.”
This bill would create a standing advisory committee made up of 13 members appointed by the governor and will also be tasked with reviewing existing capital projects to determine the impact of those projects on bicycle and pedestrian access and shall recommend any necessary modifications to promote access.
Danny Harris, executive director at Transportation Alternatives, praised the proposed legislation.
“At a time when the City of New York is creating safe passage for bicyclists on city-operated bridges, the MTA refuses to open access for cyclists and pedestrians on the Verrazzano Bridge and other state-operated bridges,” Harris said. “At a time when the City of New York is adding 10,000 new bike racks over the next two years, not a single MTA asset has installed secure bike parking for commuters during the ongoing bike boom. We’ve recently detailed the severe lack of bike parking in New York City and it’s time that the MTA catch up and utilize its significant footprint to better serve New Yorkers who want to park their bike at the train or want to bike across a bridge.”