Brooklyn Heights

Should tourists pay to cross the Brooklyn Bridge?

January 2, 2019 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Eagle file photo by Matthew Kashtan

A Brooklyn resident, fed up with the “human traffic jam” of pedestrians and cyclists on the Brooklyn Bridge, says tourists should be forced to pay a small fee to use the bridge.

On Saturday, according to Gothamist, Julian Rosow set out for a run over the bridge around 12:45 p.m. At the halfway point, there were so many people that nobody could move. Police couldn’t do anything about the situation, and it took Rosow 90 minutes to get to the Manhattan side.

Last year, the city Department of Transportation released a report on the possibility of widening the Brooklyn Bridge’s pedestrian promenade, since pedestrian traffic on weekends increased 275 percent from 2008 to 2015, and bicycle traffic increased by 104 percent.

Soon afterward, Gothamist reported, an engineering firm hired by DOT said expanding the promenade was possible, but the cables on the bridge had to be inspected first to ensure they could handle the additional weight.

Some bicycle advocates have called for the DOT to replace one of three car lanes in each direction with a bike lane, but DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told reporters last year that this would create “pretty extraordinary traffic back-ups.”

Rosow told Gothamist that DOT should follow the lead of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which in 2017 said it was considering charging admission to out-of-town visitors. “It’s not fair,” Rosow said, “tourists get to use [the Brooklyn Bridge walking-bike path] so much, and we, the locals, don’t have the ability to use it anymore.”

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