Pedestrians, cycling advocates and local politicians have long pressed the city to create a “lifeway” on the Verrazano Bridge, allowing the car-less among us to travel to and from Staten Island without having to take a ferry. The movement was revived in recent years, with an online petition and a web presence, and in August the MTA quietly asked developers to assess “the feasibility of adding bike paths on the motor-vehicles-only bridge,” Crains reported this week—a serious step forward, as it shows the MTA is open to the idea. The request was buried in an RFP for development of the approaches to the bridge, the longest, most tolled and most heavily trafficked in the city, accommodating more than 200,000 cars a day.
The lifeway would not only provide more open access to the city’s hardest-to-reach borough but also stunning views of New York Bay, a distant Manhattan, bird’s-eye Brooklyn, and Staten Island. It would also finally close the 50-mile bike and pedestrian route that wraps around the New York waterfront. And installing fences along the bike and foot path could do something to discourage the suicidal from jumping, a problem of epidemic proportions in recent years: in September, one man survived a jump but died in the hospital; the next day, another man had to be talked out of jumping. Signs along the roadway remind motorists that life is worth living.
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