Chairman Degnan. Director Foye. Commissioners.
Today I will highlight three shortcomings in the PA’s plan for the GWB paths.
- It won’t alleviate dangerous conditions.
- It will increase congestion.
- The design for anti-suicide barriers will sacrifice one of the region’s most precious assets—views from the Bridge itself.
The current path is bisected every 60 feet sets of cables that jut out a foot and a half. They narrow the effective path width to 7 foot with a stationary crash hazard every three seconds. This configuration will not change under the PA’s plan. 
That the thousands of who daily bike across the GWB don’t report more crashes speaks to their skill as cyclists, not safe design. Injuries will rise with overall use, and as less experienced cyclists comprise a greater percentage of total. 
Note that cyclists descend East River bridges at far greater speeds, but those facilities are considered safe at 11-14 feet across. 
Once the PA removes stairs and widens the path approaches, congestion will spike and plans to create “gathering places” at the entrances will create new bottlenecks. Why not retain the current setup, common to to other city bridges, that feeds cyclists directly into the flow of traffic?
A View from the Bridge
Generations have cherished path views of Manhattan and the Palisades, but the proposed anti-suicide barriers, with its prison-like bars, would permanently and unnecessarily obstruct them.
Compare a bi-level arrangement, which offers no less protection, but retains the view. In economic terms, using a Walkway over the Hudson model, that’s worth $42 million per year in tourist spending. 
A Wholly Inadequate Plan
As a whole, the PA’s plan is woefully underfunded.  It disregards USDOT guidelines to accord biking and walking equal priority with other modes of transport  and the 170 organizations, businesses and communities calling for wider paths. 
Nor will it save the Agency money. Not if operating an out-of-spec cycling facility creates an unsustainable liability. 
Certainly not if thousands of the cyclists from across the region, who now have to dismount, joined with walkers pissed about losing the view, compel you to rip it out and start over.
 Peak bike traffic across the GWB grew form 2252 per day in 2010 (PANYNJ) to 3699 in 2015 (NYCDOT) or 10.4% per year. This compares to 12.5% per year across NYC overall., Capacity and Demand, Complete George, http://tinyurl.com/jpcfphq
 AASHTO guidance calls for a 2 foot separation between cyclists and the path edge and 3 foot from other cyclists. That works out to 11′ to 14′ for (2) bi-directional paths plus a shared passing lane. Or 15′ for (2) paths plus (2) passing lanes – a configuration wholly justified by even current use., National Standards, Complete George, http://tinyurl.com/gotz6r3
Visitors who wanted to catch a view would have to stop and stare through the bars. This will further increase congestion and potential for accidents.
 “The Agency has budgeted up to $50 million for path improvements (as part of the $1.9 billion program to Restore the George).”, Executive Director Patrick Foye 6/30/16, PANYNJ Videos. Mr. Foye’s GWB remarks start 12:01, http://tinyurl.com/znlnpjq
 MTA Bridges and Tunnels requires cyclists walk facilities under 10 foot.
Marine Parkway Bridge. Photo by John T. Chiarella.