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Eye on Real Estate: Pedestrians stroll, snap selfies in the bike lane, so cyclists beware

December 27, 2017 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Even in the winter, the Brooklyn Bridge is a mecca for photo-takers — so cyclists must proceed with caution. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Wanna ride a bike over the Brooklyn Bridge?

Proceed with caution. Heedless pedestrians are everywhere.

Many of the people who swarm to the iconic span’s promenade to stroll and snap selfies ignore the painted white lines that separate its bike and pedestrian lanes.

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Because signs posted on the bridge about the walking and biking paths are written solely in English, they’re unreadable for some visitors.

But icons depicting cyclists are painted all over the bikeway. Icons depicting pedestrians are painted all over the walkways. The icons make it clear who belongs where.

The pedestrians don’t pay attention. They treat the bike lane as their own.

We got an eyeful of their careless behavior when we visited the famous bridge on a recent Sunday.

The temperature was just 38 degrees and the sky was an unappealing gray — but there were lots of other pedestrians up there with us.

Many of them sauntered along the bike lane. Many posed for photos in the bike lane. Young people. Old people. Parents with kids.

There was a nun strolling down the bike lane. She must not realize there’s an 11th Commandment, which is, “Thou shalt not walk in the Brooklyn Bridge’s bike lane.”  

Wedding photographers stood in the bike lane while a bride and groom posed for a reeeeally long time.

Cyclists managed to thread their way through the pedestrians by blowing whistles and shouting words of warning.


How much will additional pedestrians weigh?

It was clear to see that pedestrians and cyclists both need more space on the iconic bridge.

Its promenade is Brooklyn’s Number 1 tourist attraction, according to a city Department of Transportation report released in early December.

The report, which is about the feasibility of expanding the Brooklyn Bridge’s promenade, is based on a  structural analysis of the bridge by consulting firm AECOM.  

The consultant recommended that a two-year-long inspection of bridge cables be carried out before the city considers expanding the promenade. The inspection would determine whether the cables could handle the extra weight that a bigger promenade would bring.

According to AECOM’s analysis, the greatest increase in weight from an expanded promenade would come from additional pedestrians who would visit the bridge.

The number of bridge visitors has risen in recent years, a recent New York Times story says.

In 2017, pedestrian crossings rose to an average 13,196 on weekdays versus 10,484 in 2011 and an average 32,453 on weekends versus 14,145 in 2011, the story says. Cyclist crossings in 2017 rose to an average 3,157 on weekdays compared with 2,981 in 2011.  

The bridge is a long-time city landmark

The Brooklyn Bridge — whose stone towers with pointed Gothic arches are instantly recognizable backdrops in a gazillion Instagram photos — opened in 1883.

It was the first bridge to span the East River.

Its construction was led by John Roebling, who died during the job, his son Washington Roebling, who was stricken with the bends during the job, and Washington Roebling’s wife, Emily Warren Roebling.

The bridge was designated as a city landmark in 1967.

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report about the Brooklyn Bridge praises its “singular beauty and architectural significance” and says “its presence still lends prestige to our city.”



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