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Posts from the Hudson River Greenway Category

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Monday: Tell CB 12 to Get on Board With Dyckman Street Upgrades Already

The DOT plan includes painted bike lanes on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Nagle Avenue and a protected bikeway between Nagle and 10th Avenue. Image: DOT

The DOT plan includes painted bike lanes on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Nagle Avenue and a protected bikeway between Nagle and 10th Avenue. Image: DOT

DOT will bring its plan for new bike lanes on Dyckman Street in Inwood back to Community Board 12 next Monday.

Local residents have been asking DOT for a protected bike lane on Dyckman, a major neighborhood thoroughfare that connects the east side and west side greenways, since 2008. CB 12 requested that DOT come up with a proposal for better bike infrastructure on the corridor — Dyckman currently has painted lanes on the east and west ends, but they don’t connect — in 2011 and 2012.

But when DOT put forth a plan last spring, CB 12 declined to support it. Instead, after years of talking around Dyckman improvements, the board’s transportation committee asked DOT for more meetings. Since then DOT has conducted site visits with CB 12 members to discuss the plan further, the agency told Streetsblog.

DOT has proposed a road diet for Dyckman between Broadway and Nagle Avenue, with a painted median and center turn lane flanked by one general traffic lane and a five-foot painted bike lane in each direction. Between Nagle and 10th Avenue, in place of existing painted bike lanes, DOT would install a nine-foot two-way protected bikeway on the south side of the street.

In addition to the bike lanes, the plan includes new median islands for pedestrians at Vermilyea and Post avenues and a painted curb extension and new crosswalk where Dyckman intersects with 10th Avenue, which right now is a vast expanse of asphalt.

The DOT plan for Dyckman is not the end-to-end bikeway that locals first proposed when George W. Bush was in the White House, but it would impose some order on a chaotic, heavily-trafficked street, acknowledging the presence of people on bikes and making intersections safer for walking.

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CB 7 Endorses Year-Round Parks Department Greenway Detour

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The detour will compel cyclists to climb an incline at the 79th Street Rotunda. The Parks Department could not say how steep these slopes are. Image: NYC Parks Department

Based on scant justification from the Parks Department, yesterday Manhattan Community Board 7 voted in favor of a permanent detour for cyclists along the Hudson River Greenway between 72nd Street and 83rd Street. Amendments to keep the main path accessible to cyclists during off-peak times either failed or were not considered, in part because board chairs Roberta Semer and Klari Neuwelt were in a hurry to finish the meeting.

The detour would take cyclists off the flat path by the river and route them onto a hilly trail that ascends a steep incline by the 79th Street Rotunda. It would also put bike traffic within a few feet of motorists exiting the Henry Hudson Parkway near the 79th Street boat basin.

The Parks Department, which controls this part of the greenway, says the detour is necessary to reduce conflicts between people walking and people on bikes. But while crowding is undoubtedly a problem at some times, Parks provided no data to assess when it is most severe or how it affects people. Nor did the agency provide quantitative information about how its detour plan, which would be in effect 24 hours a day year-round, would affect cyclists.

The Parks Department wants to start the detour, which is supported by City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, next year.

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Tonight: Testify Before CB 7 Votes on Riverside Park Greenway Detour

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This elevation map gives a sense of the inclines cyclists would contend with on the detour by the 79th Street Rotunda, instead of the flat waterfront path. Image: NYC Parks Department

A late addition to the calendar: Manhattan Community Board 7 will vote on the Parks Department’s proposal to route cyclists away from the waterfront greenway between 72nd Street and 83rd Street. If you want to preserve access to the flatter, straighter, better-lit waterfront path during the majority of the year when crowding is not an issue, tonight is the time to testify.

The Parks Department wants to direct cyclists inland onto a hilly, wooded path that passes through the 79th Street Rotunda, which has a particularly steep incline and is frequently occupied by cars and trucks attempting to access the nearby boat basin. Last month, CB 7’s Parks and Environment Committee voted 4 to 1 in favor of the plan, but a strong turnout tonight could influence the final vote by the whole community board.

At last month’s meeting, some attendees asked for the detour to be limited to crowded warm-weather months when pedestrians and cyclists can’t fit comfortably on the waterfront path. They were especially concerned about icy pavement on steep inclines along the detour in cold weather. But the Parks Department was adamant about a year-round re-route.

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CB 7 Parks Committee Votes for Hilly Greenway Detour in Riverside Park

NYC Park wants to divert cyclists from the waterfront greenway to the hillier path marked by the bold dotted green line year-round. Image: NYC Parks

The Parks Department wants to permanently divert cyclists from the flat waterfront greenway to the hillier path marked by the bold dotted green line. Image: NYC Parks

Manhattan Community Board 7’s Parks and Environment Committee voted 4 to 1 last night in favor of the Parks Department’s proposal to route cyclists away from from Riverside Park’s waterfront greenway between 72nd Street and 83rd Street.

The plan would direct cyclists inland at 72nd Street through a hilly wooded path passing through the 79th Street Rotunda, which has a particularly steep incline. The justification is that the waterfront path is too crowded for cyclists and pedestrians to share, but the crowding is only a problem during peak summer months, and the detour would be in effect year-round. It is one of three similar detours in the department’s preliminary Riverside Park Master Plan.

The project received $200,000 from Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s participatory budget, far less than the $2 million that the Parks Department reps said is needed for a full build-out. In lieu of securing funds for the full project, the money will go toward partial measures: paving gentler turns onto the detour route at 72nd Street and 83rd Street, installing bright LED lights, and trimming surrounding trees to increase visibility. The project would be implemented next year.

Ultimately, the master plan calls for regrading the path to make it flatter. That would be an expensive capital project that would cost even more than $2 million, said Riverside Park Chief of Design and Construction Margaret Bracken. Until then, the detour will be in effect and the path will be hilly. The LED lights will at least improve visibility at night.

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Parks Dept. Implements Hudson River Greenway Detour, Then Explains It

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Hudson River Greenway traffic will be disrupted for the next two weeks to allow for construction work around 59th Street, the Parks Department said today.

Yesterday greenway users were surprised to find the path fenced off from 59th Street to around 63rd Street, with all bike and foot traffic detoured onto a path approximately eight feet wide. A sign on the site seemed to indicate the detour would be in place for two years while Parks works on a capital project, including a playground and bikeway, in Riverside Park South.

As it turns out, construction work that affects the greenway is scheduled to be completed in two weeks, according to the Parks Department. During that time the greenway will be closed from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with bike traffic rerouted by Parks officers. Yesterday, however, the detour was in effect in the evening, long after 3:30.

“The Riverside South Greenway will not be closed for two years — rather, it will be closed during certain times of day for a period of two weeks, during which time crews will be at work improving 59th Street entrance and the greenway,” said the Parks Department in an emailed statement. “NYC Parks appreciates cyclists’ patience and cooperation during this brief construction project.”

The explanation is better late than never, but the lack of any organized communication before the detour went into effect highlights how the Parks Department repeatedly fails to treat the greenway as the major transportation corridor that it is. We’re talking about the busiest bike route in the U.S., and the agencies that oversee it don’t even give people any advance notice when the path is disrupted.

“There is no question that there must be a safe and comparable alternative route provided to cyclists given that this is the most traveled bike path in the country,” Transportation Alternatives Deputy Director Caroline Samponaro told Streetsblog via email. “Cyclists of all ages and abilities depend on this path for daily commutes and this is a benefit to the city. We wouldn’t shut down a major roadway, for even a day, without clear and adequate detour plans for drivers. In 2016 we need the same standard for bikes.”

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NYPD Forced Cyclists Off Greenway and Onto West Side Highway at Rush Hour

Forced off the greenway, these brave cyclists took to the West Side Highway. Photo: David Meyer

NYPD diverted cyclists off the Hudson River Greenway yesterday, so people biked in car traffic on the adjacent West Side Highway, which remained open. Photo: David Meyer

For four and a half hours last night, NYPD shut off bike access to the Hudson River Greenway between 44th Street and 55th Street, a major bike transportation artery used by several thousand people each day.

The greenway closure was billed as a “safety/security measure” for the televised Clinton/Trump Q & A with Matt Lauer held on the USS Intrepid. But there was no NYPD detour imposed on motorists using the adjacent West Side Highway, where people remained free to pilot large vehicles with substantial carrying capacity at high speeds.

Large numbers of cyclists returning home for the evening commute chose to bike on the West Side Highway for those 11 blocks. In the name of safety and security, NYPD created a more dangerous traffic condition, depriving cyclists of the protection of the greenway.

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Riders lining up to exit the greenway at 44th Street last night. Photo: Mark Gorton

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Greenway Shut Tonight for Presidential Forum — Motorists, Carry On

Ten blocks of the Hudson River Greenway will be closed during evening rush today as a “security” precaution for a presidential candidate event on the USS Intrepid. While people on bikes will have to figure out another way around, there’s no indication that people driving multi-ton metal boxes a few feet away on the West Side Highway will have to change their routines at all.

According to the Hudson River Park Trust, the greenway will be closed from 44th Street to 55th Street from 5 to 10:30 p.m. due to “NYPD safety/security measures.” The trust said greenway commuters should “plan an alternate route,” and posted no re-routing info on its web site or Twitter feed.

We called NYPD about the greenway closure, and to ask if the West Side Highway would be shut as well. NYPD referred us to the Secret Service. “NYPD’s the one who closes the street,” said the person who answered the phone at the Secret Service field office in Brooklyn.

A spokesperson said the Hudson River Park Trust learned of the greenway closure yesterday. No one we contacted would say if motor traffic would be blocked or rerouted. No announcement of a road closure has been posted online, and the DOT’s map of street disruptions shows no parallel detour on the West Side Highway today.

Tonight’s event is a forum on the military and national security. While it looks like operators of motor vehicles will carry on unimpeded, people biking and walking will be targeted by NYPD security theater.

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New Riverside Park Master Plan May Send Greenway Cyclists on Hilly Detours

The preliminary Riverside Park Master Plan reroutes cyclists away from the waterfront at 72nd Street. Image: NYC Parks

The preliminary Riverside Park Master Plan reroutes cyclists away from the waterfront at 72nd Street, along the hillier path marked by the bold dotted green line. Click to enlarge. Image: NYC Parks

The waterfront greenway in Riverside Park is one of New York’s most popular places to bike and walk. During the summer, it can get crowded — so crowded that the Parks Department is proposing new detour routes to divert cyclists away from the waterfront path. Those routes are hillier and poorly lit, however, and advocates are worried that the department will compel cyclists to use them at all times.

On Monday, the Parks Department presented parts of its preliminary Riverside Park Master Plan to the Manhattan Community Board 7 parks and environment committee. The plan includes bike detours along three segments of the greenway — between 72nd and 83rd streets, 93rd and 99th, and 145th and 155th.

The detour path between 72nd and 83rd received some funding courtesy of Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s 2015 participatory budget and will be built next year. It includes a particularly steep incline at 79th Street, where cyclists will have to climb up and around the 79th Street Rotunda. Lowering the grade of the rotunda’s access ramps is included in the long-term Riverside master plan, but is not part of the upcoming project and will likely be very expensive.

CB 7 member Ken Coughlin, speaking for himself and not the board, said that while the waterfront esplanade can get messy in the summer, most of the time it is fine. The greenway is the most heavily-biked route in the city, and for much of the year there are more cyclists than pedestrians using the waterfront path.

He warned that the detour paths could pose particular problems during the winter, when there is limited lighting and inclines may freeze over and become slippery. “The absence of notable conflicts on the current riverfront path during most days and times does not justify forcing [cyclists] to divert to a sub-optimal hilly, indirect and potentially unsafe route at all times,” he said in an email.

Rosenthal’s communications director Stephanie Buhle said rules regarding cyclists’ use of the waterfront path have yet to be determined. “[We are] trying to assess and make sense of what will work to make sure pedestrians and cyclists are using the space in a way that makes it possible for everyone,” she said.

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After 8 Years, DOT Finally Has a Bike Plan for Dyckman St. CB 12: Not So Fast.

DOT's plan would put painted bike lanes on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Nagle Avenue and a two protected lane between Nagle and 10th Avenue. Image: DOT

DOT’s plan calls for painted bike lanes on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Nagle Avenue and a two-way protected lane between Nagle and 10th Avenue. Image: DOT

Eight years after uptown advocates first called for a bike connection across Inwood, linking greenways along the Hudson River and the Harlem River, DOT has a bike lane plan for Dyckman Street.

Between Broadway and Nagle Avenue, the redesign would convert the current four-lane design into DOT’s standard road diet template — a general traffic lane and a five-foot-wide un-protected bike lane in each direction, plus a painted median and center turn lanes. Between Nagle Avenue and Tenth Avenue, where there are already buffered bike lanes, the project would add a nine-foot two-way protected bike lane with a three-foot buffer along the north side of Harlem River Park.

While the plan falls short of the fully-protected connection advocates wanted, it’s a big improvement on a street that currently lacks space for cycling.

Washington Heights resident Jonathan Rabinowitz, who has pushed for a bikeable Dyckman Street for several years, said the project will provide a useful link to other recent bike network improvements in the neighborhood. “For someone who is going typically [north-south] like myself, even this minimal on-street bike lane approach is a benefit because it creates a space on those two blocks to connect Fort George Hill with Sherman Avenue,” he said.

In addition to the road diet and bike lanes, the project includes new median islands at Vermilyea and Post Avenues and a large painted curb extension and new crosswalk at the intersection with Tenth Avenue.

On June 6, DOT presented the Dyckman Street project to the Manhattan Community Board 12 transportation committee [PDF]. Instead of supporting the plan, the committee asked DOT to hold a workshop on the proposal and the overall transportation needs of the area. But neighborhood residents have already waited eight years for safer cycling on Dyckman.

The Dyckman project has gone through an interminable public process. In 2008, after months of local advocacy, CB 12 passed a resolution requesting a DOT feasibility study of a Dyckman protected bike lane. Then, in 2011 and again in 2012, the board requested bike lane upgrades. But now that a DOT plan has finally materialized, the committee wants to delay implementation with more meetings.

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Happy Bike Month! Cyclists Must Dismount on Greenway, No One Knows Why

Update: The Parks Department sent us this statement Thursday evening: “Ensuring the safety of all during the holiday weekend, in preparation of increased pedestrian traffic during Fleet Week, NYC Parks has posted signs requesting cyclists dismount and walk their bikes on the west side greenway between 56-46th streets.”

Update: The Hudson River Park Trust sent us this statement Friday: “The Hudson River Park Bikeway is open, but users may be asked to dismount due to Fleet Week crowds. We ask that riders please adhere to the posted signs, and we appreciate their patience as we work to ensure safety along the Bikeway. “

Parks Department officers are ordering cyclists to dismount on the Hudson River Greenway in Midtown and ticketing people who don’t comply.

Streetsblog reader Joanna Oltman Smith tweeted photos of what look like uniformed Park Enforcement Patrol officers issuing a ticket to a cyclist near 45th Street, and another blocking the greenway with a “dismount bike” stop sign. She says the dismount zone is in effect between 46th and 49th Street, interrupting the biggest transportation artery for bikes in the city, if not the nation.

We contacted the Parks Department and the Hudson River Park Trust about the dismount zone. No one who answered the phone could say why cyclists are being asked to dismount, but it seems probable that whatever is happening is related to Fleet Week. The Parks Department press office and the Hudson River Park Trust have both said they’re looking into it.

Making people walk their bikes is not a rational response to past incidents. In 2011 a motorist killed Steve Jorgenson, a Marine in town for Fleet Week, as he and his shipmates exited a cab on the West Side Highway at W. 49th Street.

The greenway is controlled by city and state agencies, and the state has jurisdiction below 59th Street. Whatever the intent behind the dismount zone may be, it’s emblematic of greenway managers’ longstanding failure to recognize this route as a vital bike transportation corridor.