Ride to Improve Cycling Along the GW Bridge & 9W
One of the most popular touring routes in the Northeast (and the country for that matter!) takes cyclists over the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan onto River Road in New Jersey and continues north to Nyack along NJ Route 9W. The GW Bridge is the only New Jersey-Manhattan crossing for walkers and bicyclists, as well as the only Hudson River bridge bike/ped crossing for 35 miles. Thousands of cyclists travel across the GW Bridge to traverse this scenic route every weekend, and a growing number of cyclists use it for their daily commute into NYC.
Currently there are a number of improvements that must be made to the GW Bridge to ensure safe and efficient travel by both pedestrians and cyclists.The ride will take us over the bridge, and we will be pointing out the various safety flaws on the bridge, as well as troubleshooting ways that the Port Authority of NY/NJ--which manages the bridge--can make critical improvements.
After connecting to Hudson Terrace, aka River Road, via the newly constructed River Road connector path, the ride will connect to NJ Route 9W. Route 9W is New Jersey’s biggest cycling path. However, this is despite the fact that the conditions along this route are actually far from ideal for cyclists. Much of the route is comprised of steep, narrow streets with no shoulders, and is also a corridor for heavy car and truck traffic. The ride will support the call for the NY & NJ DOT to implement street improvements that will allow for safer cycling conditions along this route, including widened shoulders and street signage clearly affirming cyclists’ right to the road.
The ride is also intended to improve the relationship between motorists and cyclists along this route. The negative reception of cyclists along Route 9W demonstrated by local law enforcement agencies is echoed in the aggressive and dangerous behavior of motorists towards cyclists, exemplified by motorists tailgating and verbally harassing cyclists. At the same time, cyclists using 9W have worsened the negative perceptions of themselves by retaliating with aggressive and unsafe cycling behaviors. T.A. will work to reverse this unconstructive relationship between the law enforcement agents, motorists, and cyclists using Route 9W. On the ride, we will encourage cyclists to be the best ambassadors to usher in a positive—rather than adversarial—relationship between all users of route 9W, pointing out that despite what efforts advocates may take to improve street conditions and motorist/police behavior, the overall experience of cyclists along this route cannot improve without improved etiquette of cyclists themselves.