New York City will ban all street vendors from the elevated pedestrian path of the Brooklyn Bridge, effective Wednesday, clearing space and the crowded bridge entrance, City Hall announced on Friday.
The new Department of Transportation rule will prohibit vending on pedestrian walkways and bike lanes on NYC bridges and bridge entrances, with the popular Manhattan-side entrance to the famous suspension bridge – which is typically bustling with merchants selling souvenirs and NYC knickknacks – being a particular target.
“Tourists and New Yorkers alike deserve to walk across [the Brooklyn Bridge] and enjoy its beauty without being packed together like sardines or risking their safety,” Adams said. “That’s why we’re giving vendors fair warning: As of January 3rd, they won’t be allowed to set up shop on pedestrian walkways or bike lanes on our bridges – giving New Yorkers the ability to use those public spaces safely and freely.”
Outreach to licensed vendors began on Friday. The city will require all items to be removed by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday before enforcement begins on Wednesday, Jan. 3.
With the amount of pedestrians crossing the bridge in a single weekend day jumping from 17,000 in 2021 to 22,000 in 2022, according to city data, more attention has been brought to the need for space.
City Hall said that the elevated pedestrian path on the Brooklyn Bridge is, on average, 16 feet wide, but becomes as narrow as five feet in some places.
When considering the addition of vendors and their goods – including carts, tables, tents, tarps, canopies, coolers and generators – City Hall claims that these walkways are not fit for traffic flow or for pedestrians to safely exit the bridge.
The rule was introduced by the Department of Transportation and developed in consultation with the NYPD and Department of Sanitation to ease overcrowding and improve pedestrian safety and bridge security, the mayor’s office said. It was published in the City Record on Oct. 6.
“The Brooklyn Bridge has been called America’s Eiffel Tower, and it’s important that all New Yorkers and the millions of people who visit our city each year can enjoy it without impediments to safety and pedestrian mobility,” DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said.