Patch reports that thirteen bridges spanning the Harlem River and connecting Harlem, Washington and Inwood to the Bronx will receive upgrades to walking and biking infrastructure, the city Department of Transportation announced Friday.
Improvements on the bridges — which stretch along the Harlem River shoreline from 102nd Street to West 220th Street — include expanded sidewalks and bike lanes, safer bridge approaches and improved signage and lighting on bridges, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said Friday.
The improvements were explained in a new DOT report released Friday titled “Connecting Communities; A Vision for the Harlem River Bridges.” The report was released following three years of community outreach and community-focused planning, city officials said.
Upgrades to the Harlem River bridges should mirror those made to bridges along the East River in the 1990s and early 2000s, Trottenberg said. Since upgrades on East River bridges were implemented, bicycle traffic between Brooklyn and Manhattan increased from 3,000 daily cyclists in 2000 to 22,000 in 2017, cit officials said.
“After closely consulting local communities, we believe our vision can tie together the vital neighborhoods on both sides of this river,” Trottenberg said in a statement. “After all, after DOT’s work on our East River crossings, we have seen exponential growth in cycling and pedestrian traffic on those bridges over the last two decades.”
The city has already begun making improvements to some bridges spanning the Harlem River, city officials said. In recent months a new protected bike lane was installed on the Madison Avenue Bridge which connects the neighborhoods of Mott Haven and East Harlem at 138th Street.
Of the thirteen bridges set to receive improvements, nine are controlled by the city Department of Transportation, city officials said.
“The Harlem River bridges are critical connections for communities in the Bronx and upper Manhattan, so we applaud the Department of Transportation’s plan to dedicate space for pedestrians and bicyclists on these spans,” Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement.