The New York City Department of Transportation permanently kicked vendors off all bridges last week. The move was really targeted at peddlers on the Brooklyn Bridge, which at narrow points was impassable with tourists buying up souvenirs. Mayor Eric Adams noted that some pedestrians even jumped down to the bridge’s bicycle path just to be able to get through. Vendors, mostly the unlicensed ones, were upset to lose this area for selling their wares. Despite their complaints, the move in the name of safety was well-received.
The only snag, however, was that the city had still not addressed unsafe conditions for both pedestrians and bicyclists on the Manhattan side of the span. An area called “the porkchop” directs bicyclists exiting the bridge to make a 180-degree turn off the bike path onto a sidewalk crowded with pedestrians to go south on Centre Street. Bicyclists coming from north must also pass through the porkchop to continue on Centre Street. “It’s been that way since they did (the) bike lane,” said Gerard Cabrera, a Brooklyn book author who recalled when the current lane was added in 2021. He said he often crosses the span and that on the Manhattan side, “I have to watch for bikes.”
Streetsblog reported in the same year the bike lane was added that the city was considering capital improvements to address this often-crowded exit from the bridge. A spokesperson for the agency called the bike lane “transformative.” “We continue to explore additional upgrades that would improve southbound connections to Centre Street,” the spokesperson, Mona Bruno, said in an email statement. With City Hall worried about safety – and literally across the street from the porkchop – one would think this problem would have been taken care of by now.