The city’s burgeoning cycling community is taking a victory lap after Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation that promotes bicycle and pedestrian access on MTA bridges and transit stations across the five boroughs.
The MTA Bike Access, passed in the state Legislature in June, will also require the authority to consider and prioritize bicycle and pedestrian access when planning capital projects. It is currently illegal to ride bicycles over any of the seven MTA bridges in New York City, including the Triborough, Cross Bay and Whitestone bridges.
For Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas, who carried the bill in the lower chamber, the new law checks many boxes and gives cycling advocates representation on several commuter councils with a say on future projects.
“During the height of the pandemic, we saw cycling increase by 33% which means almost a million New Yorkers are cycling. Increasing access for pedestrians and cyclists to MTA bridges is good for public health, good for the environment and good for workers, including deliveristas who use cycling for work,” González-Rojas said. “If New York is going to adequately recover, we must bring the voices of cyclists to the table when capital plans are developed by the MTA.”
The state-run agency will also be required to provide bike parking at MTA stations and commuter rail stations.
“Public transit in New York should be welcoming, safe and accessible for cyclists and pedestrians,” Hochul said. “I’m proud to sign legislation that will expand access to public transit, no matter how you choose to get around. This new law will make the MTA more walkable and bicycle-friendly, a major step in improving our transit system.”
The new law will also require the MTA to study and provide recommendations regarding bicycle and pedestrian accessibility every five years, according to Bronx state Senator Alesandra Biaggi who sponsored the legislation in the Senate.
“New York state is taking a historic step to ensure expanded bike access on MTA bridges and a renewed commitment to cleaner forms of transportation,” Biaggi said. “The MTA Bike Access bill will promote safe cycling in every corner of the city, especially in communities like the Bronx who are often the last to see investment.”