Now You Can Bike Both Ways Across Central Park on 72nd Street

Photo: Heidi Untener

The two-way, buffered bike lane across Central Park on 72nd Street is rounding into form, with most but not all of the markings in place, readers tell us. The path is rideable in both directions, adding a critical piece of east-west connectivity to the bike network.

Reader Heidi Untener sends this pic from a recent trip on the improved 72nd Street, which used to provide only a westbound lane for bikes, and nothing between the Central Park loop and the eastern and western edges of the park. The two-way path consists of spacious seven-foot-wide bike lanes and a four-foot buffer, and the motor vehicle right-of-way has been slimmed from two lanes to one.

Heidi reports that there are no directional arrows yet, and that the bikeway is still a little “funky” where it crosses the loop on each side of the park. Overall she said the bikeway is going to make daily trips to school and camp with her kids much better. She and her family “cheer each time we ride through.”

When the Central Park Conservancy announced the DOT project last year, car-free park advocate Ken Coughlin called it “a significant step both toward making crossing the park on a bicycle less perilous and toward a car-free park in general.”

If you’ve been following the transportation bill news from Streetsblog Capitol Hill, then you know we are going to be posting a deluge of bad news. Savor this bit of progress, Streetsblog readers, because it’s probably the only scrap of news today that will nourish your hope for the future.

Here’s another angle, courtesy of Ken:

Photo: Ken Coughlin

And because not even the good news comes without a dark cloud, Ken also sends a report of ham-fisted ticketing by the Parks Enforcement Patrol:

Photo: Ken Coughlin

A cyclist… got a ticket from the Parks Enforcement Patrol on the West Drive at 81st Street, near the Delacorte at about 9:50 this morning. When the light turns red a parks officer holds up a handheld “Stop” sign.  Any cyclist who goes through the light is stopped by PEP officers a hundred feet or so down the road and issued a ticket, whether or not a pedestrian was actually crossing the intersection. The cyclist in this case told me there was no one trying to cross and that he didn’t have enough time to react to the Stop sign. He was pretty pissed. As I talked to him, a passing cyclist yelled out “Ticket the cars for speeding.” This enforcement by the PEP appears to be in contrast to the stated policy of the CP Precinct, which is to use discretion when ticketing cyclists who blow red lights, with the focus on those who fail to yield to crossing peds.

Okay, so here’s one more look at the good stuff, courtesy of Heidi: