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Brooklyn Bridge's New Bike Lane Draws Praise From Some, Criticism From Others

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The new bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge is getting mixed reviews.

Drivers who lost a lane say it's now causing serious traffic problems, and some cyclists say it's just not wide enough, CBS2's Cory James reported.

On the Manhattan side of the bridge, the traffic was backed up for miles on Monday night, and drivers James spoke to said they feel the rush hour jam is heavier than normal because the city stripped away one of their lanes -- and gave it to bicyclists.

"We're trying to get home, so I think they need to do a better job," one driver said.

"It's horrible. This is just so much traffic right now," another added.

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The protected roadway for bikers opened last Tuesday after three months of construction. Many said they liked the idea.

"I'm glad that it's here now," one person said.

"It felt safer in the respect of not being worried about hitting people who are walking," another said.

But one pedestrian said the design near City Hall Park does not feel safe.

"I was almost hit by a biker. I was trying to cross over and because there's that pathway over there that is now used by both pedestrians and bikers and bikers are trying to do a very sharp turn, it feels very dangerous," he said.

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The size of the bike lane also worries some using it.

"It should be wider," one person said.

Another told James, "It always the same, like do you have enough room to pass?"

But transportation expert Rachel Weinberger of the Regional Plan Association told CBS2 the size of the lane meets standards -- four feet wide in each direction.

"Certainly, it's not the most generous bike lane that you might think of because this is New York and things are a little tighter than other places," Weinberger said.

She also said this is not about prioritizing bikers over drivers. It is about increasing the capacity of the limited space that we have for all commuters.

James reached out to the city's Department of Transportation for an interview and was told in a statement that it is proud of the new bike lane and that it is safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

The city also plans to make similar changes to the Queensboro Bridge this year.

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