How New Yorkers Are Getting Around After Sandy

Biking and walking over the Queenboro Bridge this morning. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

With the heart of the subway system knocked out of commission, this morning the Streetfilms crew — Clarence Eckerson, Elizabeth Press, and Robin Urban Smith — headed out to the bridge crossings that link Brooklyn and Queens to Manhattan, to document how New Yorkers are getting around under emergency conditions.

The huge crowds massing in Downtown Brooklyn to take shuttle buses over the Manhattan Bridge were testament to the sheer number of people who ride the subways on a normal day. While the waits were long, the system seems to have performed as well as can be expected. With HOV restrictions in effect, once buses got into Manhattan, they reportedly made better time than they do in typical NYC traffic.

Meanwhile, the city’s new bike infrastructure is really proving its worth today. If people have to cover significant distances and want to skirt gridlock or lengthy transfers entirely, biking is the way to go. The safer bikeways that NYC DOT has built in the past five years — especially the segments that link directly to the East River bridges — are helping New Yorkers get back to work.

Waiting to board the shuttle bus at Jay Street. Photo: Elizabeth Press
Boarding the bus through the back door at Jay Street. Photo: Elizabeth Press
Morning commute bike traffic on the Allen Street center median protected bike lane. Photo: Elizabeth Press

Bike traffic heading toward Manhattan on the new approach to the Queensboro Bridge. Photo: Clarence Eckerson
Another view of the new Queensboro Bridge approach, a little farther out from the bridge. Photo: Clarence Eckerson
The Williamsburg Bridge bike/ped path. Photo: Elizabeth Press
Car traffic approaching the Queenboro Bridge. The gridlock should ease more tomorrow as compliance with the HOV restrictions grows. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.
The Brooklyn Bridge promenade. Photo: Elizabeth Press
Taking Jay Street to the Manhattan Bridge. Photo: Elizabeth Press