Citypoint Photos Du Jour: Why?

Okay— I will be the first to admit that although I know “work” is being done on the Pulaski I am pretty ignorant of the scope of said “work”. Getting “up-to-speed” on this matter has been on my “to do” list for some time but has been sadly lost among the numerous other things I have to do. Today it was cleaning the apartment in anticipation of my brother-in-law’s visit.

After spending the afternoon exorcising our refrigerator, picking up stuff and arguing with each other the Mister and I got a bit peckish. We decided to go to Creek and Cave for dinner. To this end we hopped on the B61 bus* and headed to Long Island City without delay. Afterward— since the evening was nice and cool— we decided to walk home. This is when I noticed something was amiss on the Pulaski.


It would appear the pedestrian walkway has be demarcated into “Queens bound” and “Brooklyn bound” lanes.


Or not. It was pretty much business as usual: bicyclists tearing down the walkway shouting at pedestrians to get out of the way.


This is what you’ll find at the Borden Avenue stairwell. I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Walk at your own risk?


As I approached the Kings County border I noticed the lines had stopped.

Perhaps this hilarity will be confined to Queens?

I thought to myself.




Can someone please explain to me what this is supposed to achieve? Painting white lines along a pedestrian walkway on a bridge strikes me as being redundant. If one is to cross these lines he (or she) will either end up in Newtown Creek or McGuinness Boulevard: a one-way ticket to Woodhull. All the previous strike me as being much better deterrents to stay on the walkway than a pair of white lines.


The same goes for dividing the entrance ramps. Does the city honestly think this is going to change anything? It isn’t.

Before all the bicycle enthusiasts reading this tome get their collective panties in a wad I want you to think about the following before you comment (and/or criticize); I am not against bicycling. I am simply tired of almost being run over by bicyclists and/or being shouted at to get out of the way when I walk across the Pulaski Bridge. This is not a matter of bicycles or “green” transportation; it is one of being a good neighbor. What I have experienced on the Pulaski Bridge is anything but neighborly.

Pedestrians are just as entitled to use this walkway as bicyclists— but given the behavior I have experienced on the part of most bicyclists who use this thoroughfare this would not appear to be the case. It’s a simple matter of respect. I respect the right to ride bicycles. In turn, I would like to have my right to walk across the Pulaski in peace respected.

Painting lines on the pedestrian walkway is not going to teach people common courtesy. For this reason I am becoming increasingly of the mindset that dedicating one of the lanes of McGuinness Boulevard as a bike lane might be the most practical (and palatable) solution to this problem.

Miss Heather

*Where one individual managed to break the Metrocard reader by dumping a bunch of dimes in it. So we rode for free. Thank you, idiot.


17 Comments on Citypoint Photos Du Jour: Why?

  1. no no on Sun, 13th Sep 2009 9:08 pm
  2. The wheel will be re-invented before we learn to distinguish it from mobility without it.

  3. oldscruffydog on Sun, 13th Sep 2009 9:12 pm
  4. Bicyclists should be walking their bike over the bridge according to this article

  5. missheather on Sun, 13th Sep 2009 9:14 pm
  6. They should, but they DON’T.

  7. walrustaco on Sun, 13th Sep 2009 9:40 pm
  8. I asked one of the construction workers about that. At first I thought they might be tearing down the concrete wall separating the road from the walkway (which saved my life once when a car spun out of control and slammed into that wall exactly where I was standing), but he said no, they were just tearing up the pavement and doing some bridgework.

    He seemed just as puzzled at the silly lines as I still am.

  9. missheather on Sun, 13th Sep 2009 9:42 pm
  10. Our tax dollars at work.

  11. trustynick on Sun, 13th Sep 2009 10:43 pm
  12. Yeah, but to be cool you have to ride a fixed gear bike with no brakes so, really, your only option if you don’t want to maul someone (i.e. be neighborly) is to shout at them.

    Seriously though, as someone who rides over the Pulaski a lot (courteously on a bike with brakes), I think that the divided lanes on the queens side are helpful. You used to have bikers riding in both directions on both sides and it could be pretty hairy coming around that corner. You’re right that the lines can’t make someone who just doesn’t care be safe but there are a lot of people wouldn’t even think about what side to ride on otherwise. There are also of course plenty of pedestrians who dangerous, stupid things on the bridge…

    Putting a roadway bike lane on a bridge with a barrier just doesn’t seem safe. If you fell or got hit you’d be kind of stranded and screwed.

  13. adam on Mon, 14th Sep 2009 12:10 am
  14. anyone who has biked or walked or ran over the williamsburg bridge knows that painted lines mean nothing to our neighbors. the city even went as far as painting pictures of bikers or runners with arrows to tell them which lane they should be in for brooklyn-bound or manhattan-bound, and still most people are too dumb to figure it out. so, i say painting lines on the pulaski is a waste of money for people who don’t even care to pay attention anyway.

  15. neighborhood threat on Mon, 14th Sep 2009 9:24 am
  16. My SO is a city cyclist. So I am not an anti-bike whatever. However, the problem is on both sides of things. We walked across the Williamsburg last weekend and we had to deal with cyclists coming at us full speed, and yelling at us to get in the other lane (when it is clearly marked that Manhattan-bound pedestrians share the lane with Brooklyn-bound cyclists, and for good safety reasons), we had to deal with other pedestrians walking in the wrong lane and refusing to move, we had to deal with manhattan-bound cyclists riding in the wrong lane. We finally just gave up and moved over into the lane closest to the outer edge and hugged the railing, because that way we felt we actually had some protection, especially when we came to the curve and I realized that no one would see us coming if we didn’t.

    Again, I live with a city cyclist. I understand that having to walk your bike across the Pulaski defeats the point of riding your bike. But your frustration at the lack of facilities does not entitle you to ride your bike into me if I do not move out of your way quickly enough – which actually happened to me, and when I expressed outrage, I was lectured that I needed to get out of the way (when, again, I was hugging the inside edge as closely as possible).

    Both pedestrians and cyclists have responsibilities, but since cyclists can move quicker and they could actually kill me by riding into me, I would argue that they have the greater one.

  17. AMOJA on Mon, 14th Sep 2009 9:27 am
  18. First, Miss Heather, pedestrians aren’t just as entitled to use the walkway as bicyclists. They’re (we’re) MORE entitled. As the signs on the bridge note, the laws regarding WALKways state, and the website oldscruffydog mentions, this is a pedestrian path, and bikes are to be walked. How often do I see this? About once a week, on average.

    Second, to trustynick. Please walk your bike. And what stupid things could a pedestrian possibly do on the bridge? Walk two people wide? Try to walk on the barrier between the walkway and the vehicles? Climb the fence that a five-year-olds feet couldn’t fit in? Set up an easel and paint the skyline while in the walkway (ok, I have seen that)?

    I have several friends who bike over the walkway, and I’ve expressed my concerns to them. The general reply I’ve gotten is, “well, I ride responsibly.” It seems to be similar to the excuse given in the texting while driving debate. Fact is, incidents will happen when there’s a large difference in traveling speed, and the route is extremely narrow. I’ve been hit by bicycles three times, generally while trying to walk around the giant barriers created by the drawbridge components. I’ve been yelled at even more times trying to walk around these same stationary obsticles. I’m getting sick of it.

    I was hoping that they would turn one of the South-bound lanes into a bicycle lane, with new barriers to keep cars out. With the recent modifications at Jackson Ave, I have little hope of this happening, and that makes me a sad panda.

  19. AMOJA on Mon, 14th Sep 2009 9:40 am
  20. Oh, and if they paint bicycling person pictures on the sidewalk, I’m gonna flip my lid. And what’s unfortunate is that I have no clue who to complain to.

  21. kgregory on Mon, 14th Sep 2009 9:54 am
  22. I was wondering about those lines too. I bike around the city and I really don’t understand why it’s so hard for cyclists to slow down when they see people walking. Everytime I walk over this bridge, I expect to be startled and have to jump out of a bike’s way. I want a t-shirt that says “you’re the one with the breaks” on the back. That, or “asshole!”, which is usually what I end up yelling. Makes for a nice, relaxing walk.

  23. Rebecca11222 on Mon, 14th Sep 2009 10:10 am
  24. woo-hoo! this morning white lines and arrows are being painted on Kent along on top of the green paint (future greenway)!

  25. Tony From Kent Street on Mon, 14th Sep 2009 11:01 am
  26. I share your frustration, Heather. Every bicyclist who rides on the pedestrian walkway is breaking the law to no surprise. You could paint it a million ways and put up signs, or even build a whole separate bicycle lane, but that wouldn’t keep them from doing anything different. I know you don’t condone it, but when someone puts my well-being in danger, I don’t wait for the law, I just push them off their fucking bike.

  27. walrustaco on Tue, 15th Sep 2009 8:17 am
  28. By the way, I waited for forty five minutes for the bridge to come down yesterday, when they admitted that it was broken, they couldn’t fix it, and I should look for a different route. G train, you’re my only friend.

  29. mikki on Tue, 15th Sep 2009 4:39 pm
  30. “And what’s unfortunate is that I have no clue who to complain to.”

    Complain to the 94th precinct and to the CB1 transportation committee. And keep it up. You have to make an effort to get change happening, especially in this community.

  31. missheather on Tue, 15th Sep 2009 4:46 pm
  32. The CB1 transportation committee is aware of this. The 94th is next on my list. The 108th (in LIC) should be alerted as well.

  33. Diamond Joe on Tue, 15th Sep 2009 5:36 pm
  34. it takes 10-15 minutes to walk over the Pulaski compared to maybe 2-3 minutes by bike. if you are honestly expecting a New Yorker on a bike to get off and walk for ten minutes in maybe a 25-minute trip, then you don’t really have any understanding of the experience of cycling. you might as well ask a New Yorker on the way to work, as a courtesy because the trains are too full, to get out of the subway and transfer to a bus for 15 minutes and then get back in the subway on the same line – it’s never going to happen.

    that fact aside, it goes without saying that that people, when riding bikes over the Pulaski, should be slow and courteous in the pedestrian environment – they should act like guests of the space, not shouting, entitled jerks. however, the DOT can’t put up signs that say “bike slow, pedestrian priority” or something like that, because their position is that people on bikes are expected to walk, which unfortunately won’t ever happen (see above).

    if the DOT refuses to acknowledge the obvious fact that people on bikes won’t dismount (see Hudson River Greenway construction: and thus they wont put up signs asking them to slow down, then I believe there’s no choice but to ban bikes and remove the Pulaski from the bicycle network, which can be achieved simply by installing full-height turnstiles.

    But that’s not fair – it cuts off the only cycling route between Queens/midtown and Brooklyn. Cyclists would likely end up riding with the speeding bridge traffic and getting killed. It is sad that pedestrians and cyclists end up fighting amongst each other for the scraps on a bridge that’s six lanes wide. It seems logical that this bridge, if ANY in the city, is the best candidate for removing car lanes and making them bike lanes – one on each side in each direction. Then you would have four car lanes, two bike lanes and a pedestrian walkway. sound fair?

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