Pulaski Bridge

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Pulaski Bridge
From downstream
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Carries Six (6) lanes of motor vehicles, pedestrian/bicycle path
Crosses Newtown Creek
Maintained by New York City Department of Transportation
Followed by Greenpoint Avenue Bridge
Design bascule
Total length 2,810 feet (860 m)
Longest span 177 feet (54 m)
Clearance below 39 feet (12 m)
Opened September 10, 1954; 64 years ago (September 10, 1954)
Daily traffic 36,981 (2010)[1]

The Pulaski Bridge in New York City connects Long Island City in Queens to Greenpoint in Brooklyn over Newtown Creek. It was named after Polish military commander and American Revolutionary War fighter Kazimierz Pułaski (Casimir Pulaski) because of the large Polish-American population in Greenpoint.[2] It connects 11th Street in Queens to McGuinness Boulevard (formerly Oakland Street) in Brooklyn.

The Pulaski Bridge opened to traffic on September 10, 1954.[3] It served as a replacement for the nearby Vernon Avenue Bridge, which had linked Vernon Avenue in Long Island City with Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint.[2]

Designed by Frederick Zurmuhlen, the Pulaski Bridge is a bascule bridge, a type of drawbridge. It carries six lanes of traffic and a pedestrian sidewalk over the water, Long Island Rail Road tracks, and the entrance to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. The pedestrian sidewalk is on the west or downstream side of the bridge, which has good views of the industrial areas surrounding Newtown Creek, the skyline of Manhattan, and of a number of other bridges, including the Williamsburg Bridge, the Queensboro Bridge, and the Kosciuszko Bridge. The bridge was reconstructed between 1991 and 1994.[4]

From 1979 until 1990, a message reading "Wheels Over Indian Trails" was painted on the Pulaski Bridge over the approach to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. The artwork was created by John Fekner as a tribute to the thirteen Native American tribes who inhabited Long Island.[5]

Located just over 13 miles (21 km) from the start of the New York City Marathon at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the Pulaski Bridge serves as the approximate halfway point in the race.[6]

In 2012, in response to the lack of adequate bicycle facilities currently on the Pulaski Bridge, the NYC Department of Transportation began studying the possibility of installing dedicated bicycle lanes on the bridge.[7] Since the Pulaski is a drawbridge with an open section in the middle, it presents several challenges not faced by other bridges. First, physical dividers must be lightweight yet securely installed so they don't come loose when the drawbridge is opened. Secondly, the joints where the two leaves come together must be somehow protected to make them more bicycle wheel-friendly. In April 2013, in a letter to Assembly Member Joe Lentol, the NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner stated that the proposal for a two-way dedicated bike lane, which would convert the existing walkway to a pedestrian-only path, had met the requirements of a traffic analysis and that an engineering study and recommendations would be made by the end of the year.[8] On October 25, 2013, Lentol announced that the DOT was in the process of designing a dedicated bike lane and that the final design would be presented to Community Board 1 in Brooklyn and Community Board 2 in Queens before the end of the year. Bike lane construction is slated for late spring or early summer of 2014.[9]

File:Pulaski Bridge Aerial Photo.png
Pulaski Bridge from above, highlighted in red


  1. "New York City Bridge Traffic Volumes 2010" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation. May 2012. p. 93. Retrieved 2013-11-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robinson, George (December 7, 2003). "F.Y.I." The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Bridge Linking Greenpoint Section of Brooklyn and Long Island City Is Opened". The New York Times. September 11, 1954. p. 19. Retrieved 2009-08-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Holloway, Lynn (March 20, 1994). "Pulaski Project Nearing Finish". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. McKinley, Jesse (May 21, 1995). "F.Y.I." The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "The Course". ING New York City Marathon. Retrieved 2010-02-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Miller, Stephen. "DOT Begins Study of Dedicated Pulaski Bridge Bike Lane". Streetsblog.org. November 21, 2012.
  8. Miller, Stephen. "Pulaski Bridge Bike Lane OK’d by DOT Traffic Study; Engineering Review Next." Streetsblog.org. May 3, 2013.
  9. Aaron, Brad. "Lentol: DOT Will Finalize Design for Pulaski Protected Bike Lane This Year." Streetsblog.org. October 25, 2013.

External links