Among New York City’s many famous landmarks, the Brooklyn Bridge remains a tourist favorite for its beauty and walkability. Also it’s super dangerous because you could get nailed by a speeding bicyclist at any given moment. Fun!
On an average weekday, about 10,000 pedestrians and 3,500 cyclists cross, estimates The New York Times. Complaints come from those who are trying to walk, but find themselves nearly being run over by cyclists. Cyclists, in turn, retort that pedestrians aren’t supposed to be in the bicycle lane. “It’s very dangerous,” 70-year-old Peter Cardillo, terrified walker, told the Times.
The city’s transportation officials said on Monday that something needs to happen, which could involve building a new path to alleviate the congestion on the bridge.
“We’ve decided the time has come,” Polly Trottenberg, the city’s transportation commissioner, said to The New York Times. “We want to think in a deep, thoughtful way about the next evolution of the bridge.” Which, quite frankly, it does not need.
The Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883 and was one of the first steel-wire suspension bridge built. To convince the then-skeptical public, a herd of 21 elephants was driven across the bridge as proof of its stability. That was clearly some weak bullshit though, since you can’t even legally drive a Tesla Model X across it today.
According to The New York Times, a 370,000-dollar study is underway to evaluate the bridge:
Beginning this month, a seven-month engineering study by a consulting firm, Aecom, will assess how much weight the bridge can carry and consider options for expansion, such as widening the existing promenade by building decks on top of the girders that run directly above the car lanes, according to city officials.
Okay, yeah, the promenade is narrow. I’ve nearly been scalped by a cyclist, but so what! It’s adventure! It’s excitement and exhilaration! Why don’t people see it that way?
It’s not that there are too many people on the bridge. Pedestrians have a walkway and cyclists have a bike lane (for the most part). If they both kept to those spaces, there wouldn’t be a problem.
The problem arises when tourists in the walkway stop short to grab that perfect selfie or climb up on the railings to do some impromptu modeling. That’s like introducing a stopped car in a lane of a pocket of slow-moving traffic. That’s what needs to change.
Here’s my suggestion to the City of New York: screw the extra lanes in the promenade. You don’t need those. The threat of death while walking is as New York City as a single slice of pizza served on two paper plates. The most you’ll need is an extra little “tourist pull-off area,” similar to the “texting stops” that have started appearing along the major interstate highways. That way they get an unobstructed view of whatever they’re aiming their smartphones at without the tide of humanity at their backs, and we can just keep walking here.
Better yet, Frightened Walker No. 1 can just get a car. You know. Like a real person. In New York City.