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Mayor De Blasio Outlines Plan To Make Way For More Bikes, Pedestrians On Brooklyn And Queensboro Bridges

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There soon could be more room for bikes and less space for cars on two of New York City' s major bridges.

That's one headline from Mayor Bill de Blasio's final State of the City address, delivered Thursday night.

The mayor shared optimism about overcoming the COVID crisis and tackling violence.

"We're going for an aggressive goal. Five million New Yorkers vaccinated by June," de Blasio said Friday morning.

From building a new economy to ending gun violence, the mayor unveiled what he called, "a recovery for all of us."

Watch: Mayor De Blasio Delivers 2021 State Of The City Address --

But something he said when discussing climate change really caught attention: "Leaving the era of the automobile behind."

"We're also gonna change the way we live in this city. We're opening up some of our iconic bridges to make sure that they become places for bicyclists and for pedestrians in ways they've never been before," de Blasio said.

MORE: Mayor De Blasio Outlines Plans To Overhaul Iconic NYC Bridges In Final State Of The City Address

He announced "Bridges for the People," making the Brooklyn and Queensboro bridges even more cyclist and pedestrian friendly.

According to the plan, the north outer roadway on the Queensboro will be transformed for cyclists. The south side will be for pedestrians.

Cars will be banned from the innermost lane of the Manhattan-bound side of the Brooklyn Bridge to make way for a two-way protected bike lane - leaving the existing shared space for pedestrians only.

MORE: Bike Lanes Coming To Brooklyn And Queensboro Bridges

"I think it's something that will allow more foot traffic, more space so that people aren't on top of each other," said a Brooklyn Heights resident.

"What we have on the Brooklyn Bridge is good enough," said Christina Santiago.

"More space would be fantastic. So many times I feel like I spill over into the bike lane. I feel terrible because the bikers have so much to navigate in terms of people, pedestrians," said Katherine Alberta, a runner.

"I don't know if that's the solution. I think there's enough room in the bike lane right now," said Bill Klein, a Downtown Brooklyn resident.

The mayor was also asked about the plan to add new "bike boulevards" in every borough.

"I call them super bike friendly. They have a variety of treatments that encourage bicycle use and discourage cars," he said.

CBS2 spoke with engineer "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz - specifically about the bridge plan and the potential traffic impact. Schwartz said the Queensboro outer roadway doesn't carry that much traffic, but called it an "incredibly bold move." He said he needs to see an analysis of the Brooklyn Bridge to better assess the impact.

The overall timeline for the changes is unclear. But work on the bridges is expected to start this year and wrap-up in 2022.


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