Solution to ‘The Brooklyn Bridge Bike Lane Disaster’ is a Disaster


By Cody Candler

Urbanophile blogger, Aaron Renn, suggested an improvement to the current layout of the Brooklyn bridge. Renn noticed an overcrowding of the public walkway that was, in part resulting from a bike lane which takes up approximately half of the promenade. Renn suggests that the solution is rather simple. He imposes that one traffic lane of the bridge should be converted into a bike lane.


Proposed Bike Lane

Unfortunately, there are a  a few complications with this proposal:

  1. Safety of bikers
  2. Reduced traffic flow
  3. Lack of supporting evidence

Biker safety seems to not be a major concern of Renn, as the proposal is generally written to benefit conditions for pedestrians. His proposal would put a two-way bike lane directly beside heavy vehicle traffic. It seems entirely plausible that this could occasionally cause bikers to veer into a car lane.

The loss of a lane may also result in reduced traffic flow.  Ten or so major roads feed into each side of the brooklyn bridge. Especially during rush hour, a 33% in traffic flow in one direction this would cause a bottleneck which would not only slow down traffic on the bridge, but also throughout portions of either Brooklyn or Manhattan (depending on which side of the bridge is modified).

None of this necessarily says that Renn’s proposal is wrong. It does show that he needs further evidence to support his claim. He says that this is a simple solution, but its implications range much further than just moving a bike lane. So far, a photo (below) is the entirety of Renn’s evidence. If Renn wants this to become a reality, as I’m sure he knows, an in depth study and report on the impacts of the transition are needed.



Renn’s Evidence for Promenade Crowding


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