Change could be in the future for overcrowded Brooklyn Bridge

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Josh Einiger has the story.

If you're the kind of jaded New Yorker who gets hives at the thought of walking in Times Square, have you seen the Brooklyn Bridge lately?

"It's the best bridge ever, ever," said Nour Benhassen, a tourist from Tunisia.

The 1883 marvel of engineering has been overrun by tourists brandishing selfie sticks and maps, by baby strollers, and by hucksters galore.

In the last eight years, bike traffic has skyrocketed 66 percent in the morning, 93 percent in the afternoon. And on weekends, pedestrian traffic is up 275 percent!

The DOT does has a tentative plan, which would involve expanding the esplanade over the car lanes. But that'll take years.

Here is a look at the initial concepts being considered for the promenade (click the diagonal arrow in the upper-right corner to expand the gallery and make it full screen):

"We're kind of like squished like tomatoes," said Laura Howe, a tourist.

Howe came with a friend from Norwich, Connecticut, and found the ancient walkway a tad cozy and not all that friendly.

"The people on the bikes are like crazy. They almost like are going to run you over if you don't get out of their way," Howe said.

"You dehumanize all the tourists coming across every day because they're just in your way, rather than realizing that they're trying to have some fun," said Simon McDonnell, a commuter.

McDonell was himself a tourist when arrived from Ireland eight years ago. Now he's just trying to get to work on a path that hasn't grown in 133 years.

"There's no learning and a tourist is a tourist and this is a different tourist every single day doing the same thing, so it's very much groundhog day," McDonell said.

It's actually city leaders who've taken to calling the Brooklyn Bridge "Times Square, in the air," and over the next six months they plan to study this question: how do you widen the pedestrian walkway, so that someday things can be a bit more pleasant there, on one of the city's crown jewels.
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