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Brooklyn Bridge bike lane ridership skyrockets

Ridership up almost 90% in October 2021 from October 2020

November 8, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The number of bicyclists on the Brooklyn Bridge bike lane increased nearly 90 percent in October 2021 from October 2020, according to new data released by the city Department of Transportation on Monday.

These figures reflect the fact that a new, protected two-way bike lane opened in September 2021. Not only was a lane repurposed from car usage, but it was also the first reconfiguration of the bridge since trolley lines were removed in 1950.

The existing wooden-plank promenade that has been shared by cyclists and pedestrians for decades was turned into a pedestrian-only space.

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“We have reclaimed space from cars to make cycling over the Brooklyn Bridge safer and easier, while making the pedestrian experience better than ever – and it has been a great success,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to see people flock to this critical connection in our bike lane network.”

Average daily ridership numbers on the Brooklyn Bridge bike path, as determined by automated 24-hour counters, were:

Sept. 2019: 2,654
Sept. 2020: 2,336
Sept. 2021: 3,635 (56% increase over 2020; new bike path opened on Sept. 14)
Oct 2019: 2,492
Oct 2020: 2,239
Oct 2021: 4,206 (88% increase over 2020)

Meanwhile, cyclist counts on the Manhattan Bridge and the other two East River Bridges remained largely consistent with historical trends.

NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman. Photo courtesy of NYC DOT

Work on the bridge began in June and finished ahead of schedule in September. The work included installing barrier segments, creating a new connecting bike path in Manhattan, including new traffic signal construction, adding protective fencing on the interior of the bridge, and implementing traffic changes to help avoid greater congestion at Manhattan end.

The path is cleaned every two week or more often if necessary, and DOT has acquired snow removal equipment to be prepared for winter.

“It is wonderful to see New Yorkers taking advantage of the city’s bike lanes in increasing numbers,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, whose district includes the Brooklyn approach to the famed bridge. “Biking in New York is an efficient, healthy, and climate-friendly method of transportation, on top of being fun. With each new protected bike lane, more and more New Yorkers are comfortable getting out on their bikes. Please travel safely and wear helmets, everyone!”

“The data that was released today shows that when offered protected bike lanes, New Yorkers will take to the streets on their bikes more,” said Congressmember Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Brooklyn). “Whether it be commuters going to work or people cycling as a way to exercise, the reconfiguration of the Brooklyn Bridge has contributed to an exponential growth in cyclists crossing.”

“There has been a surge in bicycle commuting over the last year, and the data shows the usage is a strong investment in the environment. Thousands of cyclists, nearly double than a year ago, are utilizing the new protected two-way bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge,” said Julie Tighe, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We need safe options to provide an environment that will encourage people to get out of cars and into clean transportation options like the new protected bike lanes.”

“When cities create more space for bikes, we have seen time and time again that the result is more people on bikes. This data on the Brooklyn Bridge bike lane is yet another compelling proof point for how DOT’s street and bridge redesigns use the same area to move more people safely and efficiently,” said Laura Fox, general manager of Citi Bike at Lyft.


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