Pedestrian Guards Hired to Keep Peace Between Cyclists, Walkers on Bridges

City's newest safety initiative draws mixed reviews

Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011  |  Updated 9:30 AM EDT
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Bicycle commuters make their way across the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Pedestrian guards have been hired to patrol the Lower East River bridges, tasked with preventing warfare between those strolling across the spans and those speeding across on bicycles.

The longstanding feud between cyclists and pedestrians on area bridges has been known to get heated, with acerbic diatribes spewing from the cyclist to the pedestrian who steps in his lane or from the pedestrian who nearly got whomped by the cyclist who veered into his.

Such incidents are most common on the Brooklyn Bridge, where two “pedestrian safety managers,” donned in yellow vests, will be installed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, reports the Daily News.

One guard each will patrol the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. They will continue to man their posts until Nov. 26.

The Department of Transportation declined to tell the News how much the program would cost taxpayers, many of whom were miffed by what they perceived to be an unnecessary expense.

“Paying four people full-time salaries to make sure people don’t go into the bike lanes seems like a waste,” Stefan Smagula, who treks across the bridge for work every day, told the News. “It’s crazy. They would be better off putting up those flexible dividers.”

Other residents lauded the guards’ hiring as a safety improvement.
 

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