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Posts from the "George Washington Bridge" Category

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GWB Will Get Bike-Ped Upgrades as Part of Cable Rehab Project

Yesterday, the the Port Authority board authorized a $1.03 billion rehabilitation of the George Washington Bridge’s suspension cables that will also fix problem spots for cyclists and pedestrians using its shared paths. But the upgraded biking and walking routes will still be two feet narrower than the recommended width for shared-use paths.

Say goodbye to these stairs on the George Washington Bridge path...in 2024. Photo: Google Maps

Say goodbye to these stairs on the George Washington Bridge path… in ten years. Photo: Google Maps

Today, users of the south path face a hairpin turn on the Manhattan side. The north path, which remains closed, has staircases on both sides of the Hudson. Under the plan, both paths would be upgraded to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, eliminating the hairpin turn and the stairs.

The north path will receive upgrades first and then reopen to the public before the south path is closed for construction.

The fixes were welcomed by Transportation Alternatives and the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, which both worked with the Port Authority as it was planning the project.

In his testimony, Neile Weissman, who serves as president of the New York Cycle Club, also praised the changes but prodded the Port Authority to widen the paths, which at 8 feet would fall below federal guidelines, which call for a minimum of 10 feet, or up to 14 feet for busy shared-use paths.

“We have a budget and a limited amount of revenue,” Port Authority spokesperson Chris Valens told Streetsblog. ”We did what we thought we could accommodate based on the project and the cost of the project.” Valens added that with both the north and south paths open, it might be possible to designate one path for cyclists and another for pedestrians, though no final decision has been made.

Construction is set to begin in 2017, with final completion in 2024.

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Port Authority Work Puts GWB Sidewalks on Shifts

Streetsblog has gotten word that, due to Port Authority construction and maintenance work, the north and south sidewalks of the George Washington Bridge will be closing intermittently until further notice.

According to a spokesperson, the authority plans to have the paths open on an alternating basis. Updates are posted on the PA website, and are also available by signing up for cyclist and pedestrian email and mobile alerts.

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Mapped: Hudson River Greenway to the George Washington Bridge

gway_to_GWB570.jpg

Spurred by comments following yesterday's post on Greenway access in Washington Heights, a reader put together this map [download the full size version] of how to get from the Greenway to the George Washington Bridge. It's no straight shot by any means. If the arrows are a little hard to follow, here are the directions:

Stay on the path under the bridge, take the bridge over Amtrak, the tunnel under S-bound parkway, the path then switches back south then north to parallel the N-bound parkway, which it crosses at a ped bridge to Riverside Drive. Go right onto Riverside, then left on 181st up to Ft. Washington. Depending on preference and access, go to either of the bridge path entrances.

Picking up on the previous thread, for those who know this route, how would you rate it in terms of safety and convenience? For those who don't, how likely would you be to try it? What could be done to simplify this connection, or make it safer?

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TSTC to Port Authority: Bus Service Across Hudson Needs to Improve, Fast

tstc_bus_graph.jpgAverage weekday eastbound trips, 2008. Source: TSTC/Port Authority of NY & NJ.
The Lincoln Tunnel Express Bus Lane is a congestion-busting powerhouse, moving 62,000 riders into Manhattan during the morning rush every day and enticing huge numbers of commuters to leave their cars at home. It is now "the most efficient roadway in the country," according to an analysis by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. One shudders to think of the traffic nightmare we'd have without it.

The Lincoln Tunnel XBL was established all the way back in 1971. In the last 38 years, bus ridership crossing the Hudson has boomed, especially this decade, but capacity for buses hasn't kept pace. Unless provisions are made to accommodate more bus travel -- and soon -- riders will face slower trips, the ridership gains of recent years will flatten out, and traffic troubles will deepen as more commuters choose to drive.

The good news is that it doesn't take all that much time or money to deliver some significant enhancements for bus riders. In a new report, "Express Route to Better Bus Service" [PDF], Tri-State lays out a strategy to expand on the success of the Lincoln Tunnel XBL and make bus travel more attractive for all trips across the Hudson. It's a wake-up call for the Port Authority to get moving on some long-overdue improvements.

"A population nearly the size of Cincinnati travels by bus across the Hudson River every weekday, but plans to enhance service for these riders are stalled," said Tri-State's Veronica Vanterpool, co-author of the report. "With bus travel anticipated to grow, we need to stop treating bus riders like second-class citizens and provide them with faster commutes and better access to information."

Tri-State recommends creating a westbound Lincoln Tunnel XBL during the evening rush and moving full-speed ahead with plans for a new high occupancy/toll lane for the morning commute (which has been stuck in the study phase for way too long). The report also touches on strategies to speed bus service across other Hudson River crossings, organize on-street loading for the city's growing volume of private bus operators, and make it easier for riders to plan their trips.

Follow the jump for the full slate of Tri-State's major recommendations.

Read more...
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Uptown Hudson River Greenway Detour in Effect

greenwaygrab2.jpgA temporary detour along the Hudson River Greenway in Washington Heights went into effect Thursday.

The closure, related to work on the George Washington Bridge, will reroute cyclists to Broadway and Ft. Washington Avenue between 158th and 181st Streets. According to a Port Authority flier [PDF], pedestrians may access the park and riverfront through the tunnel at 172nd Street.

Interruptions are to occur on a "periodic" basis until December 31, "typically" from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Blocking the Box: Traffic Concerns Nix Big Retail From GWB Bus Station

broadwaygwb_01.jpgRendering: PA Associates
Plans to bring "big box" retail to a remodeled George Washington Bridge Bus Station have been scuttled due to fears that it would attract more car-commuting shoppers to Washington Heights.

Instead, according to the Manhattan Times, the Port Authority will build spaces for about a dozen smaller commercial shops and offices, says PA Executive Director Christopher Ward.

The decision to plan for multiple tenants, Ward said, was partly driven by the belief that retail opportunities should serve customers who walk or take transit to the terminal, rather than out-of-area shoppers arriving by car.

"The community spoke clearly that we didn't need more cars," Ward said.

Work on the terminal, which is expected to increase bus capacity by 50 percent over the existing design, is currently scheduled to start in late 2009 and should take about three years, the Times reports.

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Another Interruption Planned for Hudson Greenway

gwaysign.jpgJust after the long-awaited off-road link from Inwood to Battery Park was completed, Streetsblog got word of a pending Hudson River Greenway detour due to planned work by the Port Authority on the Manhattan tower of the George Washington Bridge.

According to the signage plan [PDF], cyclists and ped traffic will be rerouted to Broadway and Ft. Washington Avenue between 158th and 181st Streets, in Washington Heights. As you can see from the signs, work was scheduled to begin in September. According to a notice from Community Board 12, as of last week the PA was set to get started on November 3, but has since postponed again.

Streetsblog has a message in with the PA to see what the latest projected dates are. Looks like the work is supposed to take anywhere from six to eight weeks.

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Would you pay a Half Dollar to Bike Across the GWB?

half_dollar.jpgAn outraged reader points us to Benepe's Bike Blog where journalist, cyclist (and sister of New York City's Parks Commissioner) Jennifer Benepe has been working to improve bicycle access to the George Washington Bridge.

In a letter to the Port Authority Benepe suggests that cyclists would be happy to pay a fifty cent toll to cross the bridge, in return for "the same amenities as motorists: ramped entrances and exits, direct connections to bike routes and bike paths, such as the Westside greenway, and most importantly, 24-hour access."

I don't think there is any serious proposal on the table to toll the GWB's bike paths but what do you think? Would you keep a half dollar tucked into your Lycra shorts for a more bike-friendly bridge to New Jersey?