Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

02 April 2011

You Can Cross That Bridge When You Come To It

This is not an April Fool's joke:  Today is the second.

Besides, you don't really believe that a nice, simple middle-aged woman (Is that a contradiction?) would play a joke on you, do you?  

I really did buy that fixie you saw in yesterday's post.  ;-)

Anyway...What I'm telling you today is true, although some of you familiar with the situation might think I'm extending April Fool's Day by another 24 hours.

If I go about a kilometer or so directly down the street on which I live, I come to an entrance for the Edward I. Koch Bridge. Those of you who don't live in New York and know what you know about this city from Simon and Garfunkel probably call it the 59th Street Bridge.  Officially, it has been known as the Queensborough Bridge.

As you can imagine, I cycle over it fairly often.  And, being a New Yorker, I can find reason to complain about it.  Actually, you don't need to be a native of this city to find ptoblems with the crossing.  The path on the north side of the bridge is divided between cyclists and pedestrians.  It isn't wide enough for either, and sometimes rollers, skateboarders and surfers use it too.  All right, I was kidding about the last one.  But you get the picture.

Still, it's not bad, as bicycle/pedestrian accesses on local bridges go.  It's been well-maintained and, of course, there are some interesting views.  Plus, it takes you about as close to the Roosevelt Island finiculaire as you can get without riding it.  

The main problem with it is getting on and off it.  The path ended where 27th Street effectively dead-ended in Queensborough Plaza.  And the traffic on that street is one-way, in the direction opposite from the one a cyclist would be riding upon exiting the bridge.  

Until recently, there was one other alternative for exiting the bridge:  turning left onto a path that wasn't really one.  In other words, it was a strip of dirt in a berm that was, as often as not, full of glass.  But it at least took cyclists to 23rd Street, where one could turn right and cycle toward my neighborhood and other points north. Or one could turn left and go underneath the bridge and train trestles to Silvercup studios and the factories and warehouses (some of which are now used for studios and other purposes) in Long Island City.

Well. the city Department of Transportation is paving that ad hoc path, effectively extending the bridge's bicycle/pedestrian path.  The cynic in me gapes in disbelief that the city (or any American municipality besides Portland) is providing something safe and practical for cyclists.  And--gasp--it's pretty convenient too (at least for me).  

Now, if they could only extend the exit/entrance ramp on the Manhattan side just a bit.  It ends on 60th Street and First Avenue.  That's fine if you're going uptown, as that's the way the traffic goes on First.  I sometimes take that route  when riding to the George Washington Bridge.  However, it's not so convenient if you're going downtown, as I do when I teach at the technical college on 34th Street.

I guess I should be thankful for what we get, and hopeful that we'll get more.  Actually, it's rather nice to think that way.


  1. Hi,

    I've been keeping up with your bike blog, I started my own and didn't know if you'd add it to your links.

    Anyway here it is, just started: thesophisticatedcycler.blogspot.com


    The Sophisticated Cycler

  2. They are doing some good stuff for bikes up there in NYC.

  3. Susan: Yes. Sometimes I even lose a bit of my cynicism!

    Sophisticated: I'll check out your blog and add it to my links. Thanks!