13 May 2014

I Couldn't Cross This Bridge When I Came To It

This morning I rode to an appointment in the Bronx.  Although it's friendly to neither cyclists nor pedestrians, I take the Triborough/Robert F. Kennedy Bridge

The bridge is actually a system of three spans, all of which meet on Randall's Island.  One spur connects the island to Queens, where I live, and the other two link it to the Bronx and Manhattan.

Actually, when I say the bridges are connected, that's true for motorized vehicles.  If you're a cyclist or pedestrian, you have to find your way through a maze of poorly-marked streets and paths in various stages of construction, destruction, reconstruction and deconstruction. 

My appointment was in the southwestern part of the Bronx, not far from Yankee Stadium.  It's actually easier to take the Manhattan spur from Randall's Island and take the Willis Avenue Bridge in the Bronx, which lets cyclists and pedestrians off near Gerard Avenue, a north-south street that--almost surprisingly--has a bike lane. I may have been the only one who used it today.

Manhattan Spur of Robert F Kennedy Memorial Bridge (a.k.a. the Harlem River Lift Bridge)

Anyway, when I got to the Manhattan spur, the pedetrian/bike lane was blocked off.  I saw bulldozers and cranes; I don't know whether the path or the bridge itself is going to be worked on.  But the lot around the entrance to the walkway was all torn up.

I found no mention of this closure on the sites of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (which administers the bridge) or the city's Department of Transportation.  I wanted to photograph the site, but the area was swarming with cops, and there are signs on the bridge itself that say photography is forbidden. 

Fortunately, I didn't have to go very far to get to the Bronx spur.  I rode about the same distance as I would have had I pedaled up the Manhattan span.  However, the ramp off the spur is a maze of 90 degree angles (Imagine a spiral staircase without the stairs or the curves, and with all matter of human refuse.) and it lets cyclists off in a spot where trucks enter and exit factories, a Department of Sanitation garage and the expressway.  And the nearest intersection, at St. Ann's Avenue and the Bruckner Expressway, is a nightmare because all manner of vehicles turn from and in all directions, including some you didn't even think were possible.

In spite of everything, I was still early for my appointment.  Still, I wish that there'd been an announcement of the closure and that it, and the way to the pedestrian/bike paths, were more clearly marked on Randall's Island.

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