He outlined his plans to lead the city out of the pandemic, but it was largely overshadowed by his intention to overhaul two iconic city bridges.READ MORE: Judge Esther Salas Returns To Bench More Than 7 Months After Son Killed, Husband Wounded In Attack
The mayor’s final State of the City address was a pre-produced video, optimistic on overcoming the COVID crisis.
“In June, we will reach a milestone, 5 million New Yorkers vaccinated,” de Blasio said.
He was also optimistic about decreasing violence, saying the city is creating a new joint force to end gun violence.
Watch: Mayor De Blasio Delivers 2021 State Of The City Address —
But de Blasio’s desire to, in his words, “drive a recovery” also means, as he put it, leaving the era of the automobile behind.
“We’ll take our bridges, our iconic bridges … And we’ll turn them into part of the solution,” he said.
The city wants to eliminate some car lanes on two East River bridges, adding new two-way protected bike lanes to the Brooklyn and Queensboro bridges, along with space for pedestrians.
Juan Restrepo, of Transportation Alternatives, has been pushing for changes for years.
“We’ve collected over 4,000 signatures from New Yorkers who are saying, like, this bridge is incredibly dangerous,” he said.
During the pandemic, Penny Damaskos has been biking 10 miles to and from work each day.
“If we can do it in a way that makes sense and bicyclists adhere to the proper road rules, I think it’s a good idea,” she told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.READ MORE: Gov. Murphy Announces COVID Vaccine Eligibility Expanding To Teachers, More Essential Workers
RELATED STORY — Bike Lanes Coming To Brooklyn And Queensboro Bridges
Given the road wars that exist, everyone following the rules is an important point. Still, drivers who spoke to CBS2 say this is one more way Hizzoner is trying to make their vehicles history.
“That’s absolutely crazy. He’s crazy,” one person said.
“It would cause more traffic definitely,” another person said.
“It would be more congestion,” another person said.
“I am far more concerned with people dying,” Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said.
Van Bramer has a car but is also an avid cyclist.
“Is it possible for drivers of vehicles and cyclists and pedestrians to all peacefully coexist?” Layton asked.
“Everyone will come to understand that this is a movement whose time has come,” Van Bramer said.
Although the timeline for the changes is a bit unclear, it’s expected work on the bridges will begin this year and wrap up in 2022.
CBS2’s Jessica Layton contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Update: Some May See Even More Money From Potential Economic Relief Package
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