Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Manhattan Bridge Bike Path

Less Hate, More Love Part II

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Most Brooklyn cyclists will tell you that if you really want to get from borough to borough, the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges are the way to go.

The Manhattan Bridge has been under renovation for so many years that I forgot there were two pathways until they re-opened the North side last year. It now boasts one of the few bicycle only bridge crossings in the city - ramps on either end, east/west bike lanes, and best of all, pedestrians have a path all to themselves on the other side.

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On the Manhattan side, the bike path entrance is at Chrystie Street on the left hand (North) side when facing the bridge from Canal Street.
If you are heading south on Bowery or east on Canal, you are 'supposed' to follow the signs down Grand to Allen and back around to the other side of Canal which confusingly enough goes west back to the entrance of the ramp. Very few people bother. Add to this pedestrians filling what is supposed to be the path leading to the ramp and you get a general cluster*@*%.

This decorative arch is NOT the entrance. If you are facing this, go to your left.

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The Brooklyn entrance to the path is a lovely new ramp at Jay and Sands Streets.
The approach to this is also crazy if you aren't used to riding in traffic - and hard to find if you don't know exactly where it is.

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The stairs to the pedestrian path are on the Jay Street side and the ramp is on the Sands Street side.
Yes, you are actually supposed to be biking on the sidewalk.
They apparently didn't want cyclists coming off the ramp directly onto the BQE entrance ramp (I agree), so you need to be on the sidewalk under the overpass in order to get onto the bridge.

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I find that some of the stupider bike paths in NYC are in this area, so I ignore them and just try to keep myself safe.
The intersection of Jay and Sands is right in the middle of the traffic pattern leading from the BQE to both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, so you need to be alert, but if you are coming from Downtown Brooklyn the Adams Street approach (AKA Brooklyn Bridge Blvd) is completely empty of car traffic.

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I love biking across this bridge.
It's both quick and painless to ride across, and lovely and awe inspiring to see.
The only down side to the bikes only path?
The view from the pedestrian side is pretty freaking amazing.

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2 comments:

april said...

thanks for the post! I'm contemplating a move out there...can you give me an estimate on how long it takes to get from brooklyn to manhattan? thanks!

newbie said...

excellent directions to manhattan bridge. thanks for the extremely useful blog.