Trottenberg: Dedicated Queensboro Bridge Bike Path “on the Agenda”

With Con Ed work routinely shutting down the bridge's sole bicycle and pedestrian path overnight, DOT is looking at repurposing the south outer roadway for active transportation.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. Photo: David Meyer
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. Photo: David Meyer

DOT is looking into ways to provide better biking and walking access across the Queensboro Bridge, where the sole car-free path has been off-limits at night for much of the past two years, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said yesterday.

Since the end of 2015, Con Ed work has frequently closed off nighttime access to the bike-ped path on the bridge’s north outer roadway. For New Yorkers who use the path at night — many of whom are getting to and from late work shifts — Con Ed supplies an inefficient and time-consuming shuttle bus, which can add 45 minutes to the trip.

When the nighttime closures started, advocates called on DOT to allow biking and walking on the bridge’s south outer roadway, which is closed to car traffic at night.

Queens advocates also want a long-term fix for the crowding on the bridge path during peak hours, when the shared right of way gets packed with walkers and bikers. They’ve started a petition to open both outer roadways, with one dedicated to biking and the other to walking.

After yesterday’s car-free Prospect Park press conference, I asked Trottenberg whether the agency would open the south outer roadway to biking and walking during the Con Ed closures. She said the agency has heard those concerns. “We’re sympathetic, and we are going to study it.”

DOT is also considering a permanent arrangement where bikers and walkers each get a separate path. “We are going to be studying what would be feasible in terms of dedicated use for cycling,” she said. “It’s on the agenda.”

Trottenberg anticipates more closures on the north outer roadway in the near future, this time for DOT repair work, which makes the need for an effective alternative even more urgent. But agency officials remain concerned about potentially unsafe traffic conditions at the foot of the south outer roadway, which has been closed to traffic overnight since a series of fatal crashes in 2011.