Dec. 12, 2022 By Christian Murray
The journey for bicyclist crossing the Roosevelt Island Bridge, which links Vernon Boulevard in Astoria to the island, has got a whole lot safer.
The Department of Transportation has installed weather-resistant panels in the bike lanes to cover the slippery metal grating that cyclists have long argued was unsafe—particularly after it rained. The grating, which covers the surface of the drawbridge, is the same metal that motorists drive on.
After years of complaints, the DOT began installing weather-resistant panels in October that now cover both of the bridge’s bike lanes. The installation of the panels—which were ordered from England– is part a pilot program, which the DOT says has proved to be successful.
The DOT said that the weather-resistant panels had not been used in New York City prior to the pilot.
Elected officials visited the bridge on Friday to test the upgraded bike lanes for themselves.
Julie Menin, who represents Roosevelt Island in the city council, said: “I’m pleased to see the immediate success of this pilot program on the Roosevelt Island Bridge bike lane. Prior to the installation of these panels…our cyclists were biking in hazardous conditions in non-weather-resistant slippery metal.”
The bridge connects the island to the intersection of Vernon Boulevard and 36th Avenue, which is represented by Council Member Julie Won.
“I support any effort to prioritize cyclists’ safety, from calling on the city to open the south outer roadway on the Queensboro Bridge, to launching this brand new pilot program to make the Roosevelt Island Bridge bike path safe in all weather,” Won said.
Roosevelt Island resident Paul Krikler, who is also a community board member and cyclist, thanked the DOT for the upgrades.
“I’m thrilled that the cheese grater [metal surface] has been covered in the bike lanes,” he said. “In fact, I road across on Wednesday in the rain and it was fantastic. No slipping.”