Op Ed: Working to bridge the gap

As readers know, I am a long time proponent of creating a bike path and pedestrian walkway on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. For quite some time, the people of Brooklyn and Staten Island have urged state agencies to make this project a reality. Consequently, over the past several years, I have stood with many of you to address the government agencies responsible, to find an expeditious way to make this dream into a reality.

My staff recently attended a meeting where we received an initial briefing on the Master Plan for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Included in the presentation were plans for a shared-use bike path, of which there were many viable options for the thoroughfares. When built in 1964, the Verrazano Bridge was initially engineered to accommodate pedestrian and bicycle pathways stretching between Brooklyn and Staten Island, However, the paths were omitted from the final design.

According to Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) representatives, over the next two decades, there will be about $1.5 billion invested to support major bridge projects. Expenditures involve keeping the bridge in a state of good repair, including operational improvements to the bridge, access ramps on both sides and improvements to traffic safety. Representatives have also announced that the funding includes testing and studies for the shared-use bike path. Additionally, the community, stakeholders and focus groups will be afforded the opportunity to provide ideas regarding the pathway.

Senator Golden Photo

This is just the first step forward to seeing a path on the Verrazano become a reality. With this new information, and the knowledge that the plans are in the works, we should all be proud and hopeful that the current studies will provide the necessary information to get this project off and running. For so many reasons, this must be the time that this finally happens, to support our environment, health and wellness, and for the benefit of business.

I look forward to continuing my talks with the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and other local entities to discuss expediting this master plan. With this new information, I am hopeful that someday soon the residents of Brooklyn and Staten Island will be able to use the bike path and pedestrian walkway to traverse the majestic Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

State Senator Marty Golden represents the 22nd Senate District including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach and Manhattan Beach.

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