MTA launches bike lane on Cross Bay Bridge in Queens

MTA officials want to ease bicycle travel over the agency’s toll bridges.

A new bike lane has been installed on the Cross Bay Bridge that connects to the Rockaways over Jamaica Bay, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials announced Wednesday.

The bike lane is one step in an effort to “do our share to improve bicycle, pedestrian and micro-mobility access in the region,” said MTA senior advisor Jessica Mathew.

The MTA’s new interest in cycling was in part sparked by state lawmakers, who last year passed a law mandating the agency compile a “strategic action plan” to improve bike and pedestrian access on its bridges.

Mathew said the new Cross Bay Bridge bike lane is temporary, but construction is planned to make it permanent. The lane is shared by pedestrians crossing the bridge.

Transit officials plan to give a similar treatment to the Henry Hudson Bridge linking the Bronx and Manhattan. The bridge is to get a new lane for pedestrians and cyclists before 2024.

Mathew said her team was looking into making the Triborough Bridge more accessible to cyclists. The bridge has a narrow pedestrian path, and its stairs make travel by bicycle difficult.

The MTA earlier this year fitted bike racks on buses that run over the Verrazzano-Narrows and Whitestone bridges. They’re the first of the MTA’s buses that have the racks, and Mathews said they will be added to more routes in the coming years.

Transit officials said they also got a commitment from the city to install bike parking at 37 subway stations that do not have areas for cyclists to lock up.

Also, 10 towns outside the city have agreed to work on building more cycling connections to Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North stations.

“We’re seeing an enormous increase in biking,” said MTA chairman Janno Lieber. “But we don’t think of our suburban counties as being bike-centric as much.”

Being able to reach suburban train stations by bicycle instead of automobile “changes the attractiveness of mass transit,” Lieber said.