Williamsburg Bridge: Shame of the City

Decrepit, Unlit Bridge Path Unsafe for Cycling and Walking

What: Rally on the Williamsburg Bridge Bicycle/Pedestrian Path
When: Wednesday, October 18, 6:30 pm
Where: Manhattan entrance at Delancey Street
Why: A call to action against poor conditions on the bridge path

Cyclists and pedestrians, organized by Transportation Alternatives, will light up the Williamsburg bridge with headlights, taillights, and flashlights during a slow walk and bicycle ride, calling on the city to provide better lighting and maintenance and improved security from the NYPD.

"The Williamsburg Bridge bicycle and pedestrian path is crucial for Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Lower East Side residents who use it to get to work or school," said T.A. Bicycle Program Director Jesse Kalb. "These areas are underserved by mass transit, and for many, biking or walking across the Williamsburg is their only option."

The city Department of Transportation (DOT) has said since 1992 that it would replace the faulty lights and create a bicycle-friendly surface on the path. Three years later, the bridge is as dark and forbidding as ever. Thousands of people bicycle and walk across the Williamsburg Bridge every day, yet the DOT continues to dither on making the bridge safe. A similar rally in December 1994 was attended by 100 citizens and resulted in a commitment from the city - still unfulfilled - that the proposed safety measures would be adopted.

The path's surface presents cyclists with an obstacle course of wheel-eating ruts, broken glass and a patchwork of sharp steel plates. Difficult and hazardous to negotiate in the daytime, the path becomes a serious safety hazard at night. "Imagine trying to walk along a forest path at night, tripping over roots and feeling your way along in complete darkness," said Kalb. "That's what a nighttime ride over the Williamsburg is like."