4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Couple of Bridge Updates

with 5 comments

First Bridge Update:

Yesterday I was out on my long run (which was great by the way, and my blog report is partway finished), which included the RFK Bridge (formerly known as the Triboro Bridge).  For the last couple of years, the pedestrian path has been under construction that added MANY, MANY steps onto the bridge.  This was a major annoyance on my runs as the bridge is hard enough as it is, and I usually hit the bridge about 13 miles into my run.  The construction had been ongoing for the last 2 years at least.  I’ve also heard complaints from my biker friends, who have biked the bridge.  Yes, this is much more annoying for bikers, as you have to haul yourself AND bike on the steps.  The many steps were necessary to get you up and over the side rail of the bridge (twice in 2 spots, for 4 times in total) to get onto temporary walkways built off the side of the bridge.

But, good news!

The construction is DONE!  There are still some steps, but nothing horrible, and the steps all have the bike rail to make it easier to get your bike up and down.  First there is a set of steps to get onto the bridge on the Queens side, and then there are sets of steps at either end of the elevated walkway mid-span.  The sets of steps on either end of the elevated mid-span are brand new, clearly this was the point of the construction.

I had not heard or seen this mentioned anywhere, so at least now another 10 people will know 🙂

Second Bridge Update:

Came across this nugget while going through my blogs.  Apparently, the Department of Transportation is planning to make some improvements to the Williamsburg Bridge, to separate bikes from pedestrians.  My first reaction is YES, HALLELUJAH.   I run and bike the bridge, and have had my share of complaints about the setup (see first paragraph here).  However, wait, hold on, stop the presses, I’m concerned about what this change will mean for us runners.  Separating bike traffic is great, and I know exactly what they will do.  I predict they will designate the north half of the bridge to bikers and give the south end to pedestrians, just like on the Manhattan Bridge.  This would be unfortunate, as the south half of the bridge has a really annoying step-like incline on the Brooklyn Side, which is also significantly steeper than the incline on the north half.  Will be annoying for runners.

As a runner, I’m not sure how I feel about this.  I don’t consider myself a pedestrian, and in fact, feel safer, and more out of harms way, if I am running on the bike side, against the traffic of the bikers, and staying as far off to the side as possible.

At the end of the day, these changes are desperately needed on the bridge, as it still continues to become more and more popular as a key connection between 2 very walkable neighborhoods.  On a run over the bridge the other night, I noticed a constant stream of bikers, several runners and many walkers, and that was after 8pm when the traffic should have been dying down for the night.

I know that bikers tend to lump us all together, the lone runner keeping off to the side, and the pack of people leisurely taking up the entire space.  I know because bikers have yelled at me when I’ve been on the bike side of the Manhattan Bridge, even though I’m keeping out of harms way, and the bridge is not crowded at all.  My problem boils down to the notion that I AM NOT A PEDESTRIAN!

Anyway, do any of you, my dedicated 10 readers, have thoughts on whether runners belong with bikers, or with pedestrians?  Maybe I should just give in and always stay in the pedestrian marked areas?  I sure as hell know we don’t do that on the West Side Greenway…


Written by SCL

March 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Posted in Bike Lanes, Reflections

5 Responses

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  1. Well, one great thing for the Triboro bridge is definitely for the bikers. Last year it was a nightmare, when I did the NYC Century ride. So, that’s a great thing. Of course for the runners as well. I have never ran over the Triboro. It’s kind of a scary bridge.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but on the Brooklyn Bridge, isn’t it separated with left side for runners/bikers and right side pedestrians. Is that how it will be on the Williamsburg Bridge. Again, another bridge I have never biked or ran over. I think I feel safer running with the bikers.

    I definitely want to start running over the bridges more though. So, keep all of your readers posted!!!


    March 21, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    • The difference between Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges is that on Manhattan Bridge bikes are physically separated – there are 2 distinctly separate roadways on the bridge. On Brooklyn Bridge, the lanes are separate, but right next to each other, so one can go back and forth between them.

      On Williamsburg Bridge, they are talking about separated lanes. This can be done on the Manhattan side with a barrier in the center. On the Brooklyn side, it already splits into 2 physical roadways, like on Manhattan Bridge.


      March 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm

  2. When I’m running, I definitely don’t consider myself a pedestrian. I run in the bike lanes all the time because the asphalt is smoother than the busted sidewalks in queens. And when running through Manhattan, I often run with the cars because the sidewalks are too crowded. I’m not much slower than the bikes, and I’m almost always faster than the cars sitting in traffic, so I definitely don’t consider myself a pedestrian.

    Besides I’ve seen tons of bikes speeding unapologetically through the pedestrian sides of these bridges…


    March 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm

  3. Well I always stay where pedestrians are supposed to be (I won’t run in the street yet even though I hate concrete) but I think it’s more because I care way too much what people think of me. I should just get over myself and run with the bikes because let’s face it, biking areas (bike lanes/bike paths) tend to have better running surfaces!


    March 23, 2010 at 3:36 pm

  4. […] marathoner 4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity comments on recent plans to separate runner from cyclists on the Williamsburg bridge, declaiming that runners are NOT […]

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