April 6, 2022 By Czarinna Andres
The DOT announced today that it will be closing the pedestrian/bike pathway on the Queensboro Bridge intermittently on Thursday and Friday.
The announcement has irked the two council members who represent the districts served by the bridge—Julie Won of western Queens and Julie Menin of Manhattan—particularly given the short notice.
The DOT said that it will be closing the pedestrian/bike pathway intermittently for 15-minute intervals on April 7th and 8th between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The closures are required so contractors can safely lift steel as part of the overhaul of the bridge.
The agency is in the process of replacing the bridge’s upper deck in order to extend its life by up to 75 years. The work, which began in February, is expected to take until December 2023 to complete.
The construction work means that the city’s plan to convert a car lane into a pedestrian pathway on the bridge will be delayed until at least 2024.
The DOT had pledged to convert a car lane on the southern outer roadway to a pedestrian pathway by 2022—in order to free up space on the northern outer roadway of the bridge which is currently shared by pedestrians and cyclists.
“Closing off the bridge to everyone who is not in a car for any period of time is completely unacceptable and is the inevitable result of delaying the pedestrianization of the South Outer Roadway for an extra two years,” Won said. “If the possibility of further closures exists, DOT must open the south outer roadway now to ensure free and unobstructed passage for pedestrians and people on bikes at all times.”
The two council members said the closures of the pedestrian/bike pathway are not acceptable, noting that the car-bearing south outer roadway will be unaffected by these intermittent closures.
Work on the #QueenboroBridge will require FULL intermittent 15-minute closures of the #BikeNYC & pedestrian path on 4/7 & 4/8, 10AM-3PM. Flaggers will be present. Work is weather dependent. pic.twitter.com/JsUxmKlARJ
— NYC DOT (@NYC_DOT) April 6, 2022
Both Won and Menin were upset when the DOT made its announcement in February that the pedestrian/bike pathway would be delayed two years.
They urged the DOT at the time to find ways to expedite the construction work in order to make way for a separate pedestrian lane and dedicated bike path much soon. They said the bridge is an important artery in the city’s bike infrastructure.
The pair penned a letter to DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez on Feb. 3 outlining how the repairs would prolong the treacherous situation on the northern outer roadway where pedestrians and cyclists share the narrow strip along the bridge.
DOT Commissioner Rodriguez has yet to respond, they said.