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Cycling Expected to Double Over Williamsburg Bridge After L Train Shutdown

Photo by Daniel Latorre

Dec. 21, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez

The Williamsburg Bridge is expected to see a surge in the number of cyclists using it once the L train tunnel shuts down for repairs, according to the city.

At least double the volume of cyclists are projected to ride over the bridge connecting Williamsburg to Manhattan’s Lower East Side beginning April 2019, when the Canarsie Tunnel will shut for 15 months of repair work, the New York City Department of Transportation said.

Over 7,500 cyclist currently cross the bridge per day, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said at a Dec. 19 event on protected bike lanes. Close to 4,000 pedestrians also go through the bridge daily.

“Even prior to the Canarsie Tunnel shutdown in 16 months, the Williamsburg Bridge currently has the highest volumes of any East River crossing,” Trottenberg said.

She added that cycling is the fastest growing new mode of transportation in the city, and can be attributed to the creation of bicycle lanes over the years.

In the L train shutdown mitigation plan jointly released by the DOT and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority earlier this month, the agencies predict that one to two percent of L train riders will use bicycles, while up to 80 percent of riders will opt to use other subway lines to get around.

New bike lanes are expected to be introduced to Grand Street, along with other changes that will allow for newly created bus lines to swiftly travel through Brooklyn to the Williamsburg Bridge. Exact details on the “major” changes to Grand Street, however, including the type of bike lanes and safety improvements, have not been revealed.

Meanwhile, a major change has been proposed for the Williamsburg Bridge, with a proposal to implement HOV-3 restrictions during rush hours. Changes have already been made to the streets surrounding the bridge’s Brooklyn entrance, including protected bike lanes, which the DOT says will help in the movement of displaced L train riders.

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