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Posts from the Hudson River Greenway Category

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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 Nagel 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.

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Parks Department Proposes 9-Block Bike Detour on Hudson River Greenway

A Park Department proposal could prohibit cyclists from biking along the west side waterfront between 73rd Street and 82nd Street. Image: Flickr

The Parks Department is proposing to shunt cyclists away from this waterfront section of the Hudson River Greenway between 73rd Street and 82nd Street. Photo: Howard Brier/Flickr

Cyclists could be forced to take a winding, hilly detour away from the Hudson River Greenway between 73rd Street and 82nd Street, thanks to a proposal from the Parks Department that has the support of Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

As DNAinfo reported, Parks landscape architect Margaret Bracken presented the plan at Monday’s Manhattan Community Board 7 meeting. The proposal emerged from last year’s participatory budgeting process, which allocated $200,000 to reducing conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians on that part of the greenway. Overcrowding is a concern during the summer months, when usage increases dramatically.

CB 7 member Ken Coughlin said the participatory budgeting plan only intended the alternate bike route for “high-traffic summer months” [PDF]. Now, Coughlin and other people who bike on the greenway are concerned the detour will force cyclists into dark, steep paths that could be especially unsafe during the colder parts of the year.

Brachen and representatives from Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s office told attendees at Monday’s meeting that they did not want to have inconsistent rules guiding usage of the path. “My response to that is they’re taking a sometime problem and applying an all-the-time solution that puts cyclists at risk,” Coughlin told Streetsblog. “I only agreed to be an advocate for [the plan] on the condition that it would be seasonal. The crowding on the path is only a real problem during the summer and during the day.”

A Parks Department spokesperson argued that the new bike route “will not be a detour” because it will run parallel to the greenway. “The safety of all parkgoers is a top priority for NYC Parks,” Parks Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro said in an email statement to Streetsblog. “Working with cycling advocates, we are happy to move forward with adding additional pathway to The Hudson River Greenway so to better accommodate cycling traffic on this popular Manhattan destination.”

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Eyes on the Street: 8-Year Downtown Greenway Detour Finally Ends

greenway_free

Looking north on the newly reopened segment of the Hudson River Greenway by Brookfield Place. Photo: @DataVizier

Since 2007, people biking on the Hudson River Greenway in Lower Manhattan have had to take a circuitous detour into Battery Park City. Not anymore.

This weekend, the shuttered greenway segment reopened, providing a straight shot to and from the Battery. @DataVizier called our attention to these photos he took of the reconstructed greenway at night, and the Tribeca Citizen has more coverage.

Several agencies were involved in the eight-year process of rerouting and, after a very long wait, restoring the greenway. The detour began in 2007 to accommodate construction of an underground passageway beneath West Street, linking the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place to the World Trade Center PATH station. Originally slated to last until 2010, the detour dragged on for a full eight years, including two years after the PATH tunnel opened. The state DOT announced two months ago that the greenway would be back to normal by November.

Throughout all eight years of the greenway detour, motor vehicle capacity on West Street was barely affected.

But as of this weekend, convenient biking and walking access along West Street has been restored. Enjoy.

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Downtown Greenway Segment Closed Since 2007 to Reopen in November

Looking south from Vesey Street. Construction on this section of the Hudson River Greenway, detoured since 2007, is set to reopen in mid-November. Photo: Stephen Miller

This section of the Hudson River Greenway, closed since 2007, is set to reopen in mid-November. Photo: Stephen Miller

An eight-year Hudson River Greenway detour is set to conclude in less than two months, restoring a direct bike route along West Street near the World Trade Center site.

Since 2007, the greenway has been closed near Brookfield Place, the office and retail complex on the west side of West Street formerly known as the World Financial Center. For eight years, cyclists (and on many blocks, pedestrians) have been detoured to the streets and waterfront promenades of Battery Park City.

The area covered by the greenway closure has varied over the years. As of today, the greenway remains closed between Vesey and Thames streets.

The detour was put in place while Brookfield and the Port Authority built an underground passageway connecting the winter garden at Brookfield Place with the World Trade Center PATH station. The detour was originally supposed to end in spring 2010, according to a NYC DOT announcement, but delays ensued: the PATH tunnel didn’t open until 2013. When Downtown Express checked in on the situation last year, state DOT said the detour would end sometime late this year.

It seems that timetable will hold. Work is almost done on rebuilding the separated bicycle and pedestrian paths between Vesey and Albany streets, and construction equipment stored on the greenway between Albany and Thames streets should eventually be cleared out.

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Eyes on the Street: Parks Officers Ignore Driver on Greenway [Updated]

A driver on the greenway? No way! Photo: Shelly Mossey

Reader Shelly Mossey says park enforcement patrol officers just to the right of the woman in green claim they never saw this driver on the greenway before waving him into a parking garage on Sunday. Photo: Shelly Mossey

A driver cruised down the Hudson River Greenway Sunday afternoon, passing park enforcement patrol officers who waved him into a parking garage at Pier 40. When Streetsblog reader Shelly Mossey asked why they didn’t ticket him, the officers pleaded ignorance.

Mossey was biking south on the Hudson River Greenway, on his way home to Battery Park City at about 5:45 p.m. Sunday. “I get to Houston Street, and I’m behind this minivan,” he said. The driver sat through a couple of light cycles as Parks Department enforcement officers next to the greenway waved cross traffic into the parking garage at Pier 40.

Eventually, the driver saw an opening during a green light. “They just waved him through into his parking spot,” Mossey said.

Mossey, a regular greenway user, recognized one of the Parks officers, who regularly hands out red light tickets to bicyclists. Mossey approached the officer to ask why he didn’t issue a ticket.

“He was like, ‘What minivan? They were on the bikeway? You’re kidding me!'” Mossey recalled. That’s when Mossey pulled up a photo he just took on his phone. “He says, ‘Oh, there’s nothing I can do from that. I can’t do anything with a photograph.'” Rather than going after the driver he had just waved into the parking garage, the officer said he would memorize the car’s New York license plate.

Frustrated by the disinterest from enforcement officers, Mossey left. “Their attitude is even more shocking than the guy driving on the bikeway,” he said. “There’s no way they didn’t see him. It’s not possible.”

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Eyes on the Street: Cyclists Ride New Hudson Greenway Ramp in Inwood

The new ramp connecting the northern terminus of the Hudson River Greenway to Dyckman Street. Photos: Five Borough Bike Club/Facebook

The new ramp connecting the northern terminus of the Hudson River Greenway to Dyckman Street. Photos: Five Borough Bike Club/Facebook

Cyclists and wheelchair users will soon have improved access to the Hudson River Greenway in Inwood, when the Parks Department officially opens a new ramp connecting the greenway to Dyckman Street.

The ADA-compliant ramp, at the northern terminus of the greenway, was supposed to open a year ago. Until now users had to enter and exit the greenway via a set of stairs on a segment of Riverside Drive that serves as a Henry Hudson Parkway onramp. The new ramp rises from the street in a series of switchbacks.

Though Parks told us the project isn’t quite finished, photos of people using the ramp are popping up on Facebook and Twitter.

With the completion of this project, it’s even more urgent to make Dyckman Street — which connects the east and west side greenways — a safer place to bike and walk. As of July, dozens of people had been injured in crashes on Dyckman this year, according to DOT’s Vision Zero View.

Community Board 12 asked DOT to study a citizen-generated proposal to add a protected bike lane to Dyckman, but the agency hasn’t acted on the plan in the seven years since it first surfaced.

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Will the Parks Department Let Another Sinkhole Swallow the Greenway?

Photos: Ed Boyak

Photos: Ed Boyak

Remember the sinkhole in the Hudson River Greenway that took almost a year for the Parks Department to fix? Now there’s another one.

Streetsblog reader Ed Boyak alerted us and Parks to the new hole, located a few hundred yards south of Dyckman Street. Boyak said it opened up last week.

“There has been a wide depression collecting dirt in this spot for the past few years,” Boyak said in an email. “The now open hole is four to five inches in diameter and appears to be hollow underneath.”

The new hole is nowhere near the size of the Washington Heights crater that formed in 2013, but there is a discernible outline of how it could spread if it isn’t repaired.

Jennifer Hoppa, administrator for parks in Upper Manhattan, said in an email Wednesday that Parks Department staff were on their way inspect the hole. But there was no commitment to fix it.

“One of the many challenges to the site of course is mobilization given that there are stairs to that area and for full repair at a minimum we would need to arrange for a highway lane closure,” wrote Hoppa.

The Hudson River Greenway is the trunk line for bike commuting on the west side of Manhattan. In May the Parks Department and DOT closed sections of the greenway without notice — a routine practice that lengthens commutes and can force cyclists and other users onto streets that aren’t as safe for biking and walking.

The Parks Department didn’t repair the Washington Heights sinkhole for at least 11 months, allowing it to spread most of the width of the greenway.

“I fear the thought of dealing with another six-foot wide hole for the next year or two,” said Boyak.

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Just in Time for Summer, Two Big Detours on the Hudson River Greenway

This detour, between 59th and 63rd streets, will last until the end of August so DOT can repaint the highway viaduct.

One of New York’s busiest bicycle routes has been interrupted this summer by two detours where the city is asking riders to dismount and walk for blocks.

Both work zones cropped up last week without any signage explaining why they were installed or how long they would last. A tipster who asked to remain anonymous reported the detours to Streetsblog, and here are the explanations we got from city agencies.

This detour

This detour at the 79th Street Boat Basin will return for a few months starting in June.

The first detour is from DOT, which says it is painting the Joe DiMaggio Highway viaduct between 59th and 63rd streets. Crews will intermittently close the bikeway between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays, and cyclists will be directed to the pedestrian path along the river, where they must dismount and walk. DOT said it expects to finish work by the end of August. Observing the detour will add several minutes to bike trips on this stretch of the greenway.

The dismount zone is right next to one of the worst pinch points on the greenway, a section that’s been narrowed to accommodate construction work by the Department of Sanitation at 59th Street. Greenway cyclists will be able to bypass the Sanitation project once a newly-built segment by the water opens to the public.

The second detour is from the Parks Department, which is repairing Dock A at the 79th Street Boat Basin after damage from Hurricane Sandy. The Esplanade is closed entirely, with greenway users directed to the traffic circle by the Boat Basin Café.

That detour first popped up last week, but work has now been postponed until June, said Parks Department spokesperson Sabirah Abdus-Sabur. Construction should last for a few months, depending on weather.