NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new proposal could have you walking onto Staten Island.
Pedestrians and bicyclists want the city to add a dedicated lane to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It’s one of the few crossings in the Metropolitan Area open only to motor vehicles, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Friday.
It is the talk of Staten Island.
“I think it’s a bad idea because there are a lot of cars and a lot of people and they are going to get hurt because people are not really paying attention. They’re too busy texting, talking on the phone and all that which they do,” Staten Island resident Sophie Somma said.
“What you’re talking about is if they make a separate line, divided its OK, but not just to go like that,” added resident Ray Kovac.
The debate is raging about the proposal to add a walkway for pedestrians and bicyclists on the 50-year-old span. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is currently doing and three-year feasibility study to see if it’s possible and affordable, Kramer reported.
“It has to be done safely. It can’t impact traffic and it’s a great way to allow people to walk and what a great way to allow people to walk and what a dynamic view that would be to walk or ride across the Verrazano Bridge,” City Councilman Vincent Ignizio said.
“We’re looking at federal funds to get this done and the real concern is whether it will impact traffic. If it doesn’t impact traffic, I think its 100 percent a great idea,” added Assemblyman Joseph Borelli.
Traffic is a big concern as 178,000 vehicles cross the Verrazano every day, double the amount when it opened. The MTA said it won’t know what’s possible until the study is completed in 2016. The agency said it is looking at the impact on traffic, operations, security, maintenance, and the environment.
But in the meantime, many seemed genuinely intrigued by the idea.
“I would love it. I’m a biker so I would love it,” resident Steve Bakousis said. “Do it. Do it. Do it.”
“It’s a good idea. It means I could ride to Brooklyn,” another resident said.
“Every other bridge has a bike lane, so why not?” Kovac added.
The hope that a certain Brooklyn-born U.S. senator will help with the cash, Kramer reported.
“The best thing about this is that Sen. Chuck Schumer can now take his bike over to Staten Island and have a Sunday press conference,” Ignizio said.
Sources told Kramer that if the walkway was built it would be caged in for security purposes to keep terrorists at bay and to prevent people from jumping.
A group called the Harbor Ring Committee was to hold a rally to drum up support for the walkway. The group sees it as part of a path that would allow bicyclists to navigate New York Harbor, Kramer reported.
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