After successfully expanding bike access across the city's four East River bridges (including the iconic Brooklyn and the increasingly busy Williamsburg), New York's Department of Transportation is finally taking steps to make crossing the Harlem River on two wheels safer, easier and more welcoming.
On Friday the DOT announced it will be installing bike lanes on six of the 13 Harlem River crossings: the Madison Avenue, 145th Street, Macombs Dam, Washington, University Heights and Broadway bridges. The other seven will see a variety of improvements for both cyclists and pedestrians. The path over the Third Avenue Bridge, for example, will be reserved for pedestrians only (the car lanes will also remain).
In a note from Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in the DOT's detailed report, a big impetus was the rehabilitation of the High Street Bridge, which connects Washington Heights and Highbridge in the Bronx–and seeing just how popular it became.
"The bridge didn’t simply provide passage over what was for years a literal chasm between two vibrant communities and boroughs," she wrote. "Its gorgeous views and easy access made it a destination, immediately popular to thousands of pedestrians and cyclists.
DOT work has already started on the approach to the Madison Avenue Bridge from the Bronx, and the changes to the 145th Street and Broadway Bridges should be finished by 2021. Great news for those who (like me) live in Harlem and love exploring and shopping in the Bronx (hello Bronx Terminal Market!).