Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oh When, Oh When will GWB be Accessible Again? Aug. 14, 2006

A Letter to the Port Authority About GWB
August 14, 2006--As many cyclists know, the New York New Jersey Port Authority closed the bike-accessible south side of the bridge just in time for the heavy summer season. As a result, cyclists have been struggling with more than six, count them, six sets of steps that they need to climb up and down to get across the bridge, often carrying their bikes.
Benepe's Bike Blog took it upon ourselves to send the Port Authority a letter on Friday, August 11 at 8:30 in the morning. So far, there has not been a peep of an answer from the communications office.
Below is a copy of the letter. We will be checking on them again later today to see why these questions are so difficult to answer:

Hi Jordan, Tony--

Can you tell me when the bridge path will be back to the south side?

It’s proven to be an enormous inconvenience for cyclists this summer during
peak riding season.

Several cyclists have fallen down the long, slippery steps in their cleated
shoes, damaging their bodies and their bikes.

On weekends there are long wait times to go up and down the stairs to cross
the bridge because of the number of cyclists (average 1500 per day on the

I have watched several cyclists turning away from the bridge because of the
huge inconvenience caused by the up and down staircase, including a family
of three, two adults and a baby, on bikes. The bike railings are useless for
most cyclists because they wear cleated shoes which slip on the open metal
stairways, and therefore in order to hold the railing with their hands, they
must carry their bikes. While they hold the railing, they must do so more
than 2 feet away because of the placement of the yellow bike rails which are
in the way, and completely useless to them.

It is an incredibly dangerous and inconvenient condition.

In the meantime, we haven’t noticed any visible progress on the south side,
including the purported planned widening of the pathway at the entrance to
New Jersey, which was your stated reason for closing the pathway all summer

Tony, despite your earlier note which indicated that the path is “free” and
cyclists should be thankful for it, I have done an informal poll, and found
that cyclists would be happy to pay for a toll of 50 cents —the car
equivalent by weight and size—to have the same amenities as cars—ramped
entrances and exits, and direct connections to bike routes and bike paths,
such as the Westside greenway, and most importantly, 24-hour access.

Can we have a progress report on the status of the south side please?

Can you please also indicate in your reply who is the person responsible in
the Port Authority with who I can address these short and long term issues?
I appreciate it.


Jen Benepe
President and Publisher

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