Eyes on the Street: A Safer Northern Boulevard Bridge Entrance

Before and after: The Northern Boulevard bridge path entrance in Willets Point gets a makeover. Left photo: Google Maps. Right photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Riders in the NYC Century Bike Tour last weekend might have noticed a recent upgrade on the bike/pedestrian path on the Northern Boulevard bridge as they navigated from Flushing to Willets Point.

The solid green line is the Flushing Bay Promenade. Connecting to the Northern Boulevard Bridge, to its east, just got easier. Image: DOT Bike Map

There is now a traffic signal where the path crosses a ramp from the Van Wyck Expressway, as well as a two-way connection beneath the Whitestone Expressway connecting to the Flushing Bay Promenade.

Before the upgrade, the location was a hostile one for cyclists and pedestrians. Drivers on the ramp received little indication that the bridge path crossed the roadway. Cyclists who exited the bridge had no bikeway to guide them to the promenade. And cyclists wishing to access the bridge from the west had to illegally ride against traffic.

Now, westbound cyclists are directed to use a new sidewalk, while eastbound cyclists have a contra-flow bicycle lane

In October 2011, DOT presented the proposal to Community Board 7′s transportation committee. The improvements were requested by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and introduced in conjunction with a new DOT asphalt plant adjacent to the path.