Photo by Rob Zand.
The city is planning to create a new bike path in Riverside Park so that bicyclists don’t use the crowded Esplanade path next to the Hudson River from 72nd to 83rd Street.
The Esplanade can get crowded and dangerous at times when runners, walkers and cyclists are all trying to use the relatively narrow path. That’s why the city designed a new bike path that would make cyclists detour through Riverside Park away from the esplanade, which would become pedestrian-only. Community Board 7’s parks committee approved the idea by a 4-1 vote a few weeks ago.
Bicycling advocates agree that “changes are necessary” because of the conflicts, but have expressed some concerns about this plan — one issue is that the new path may be too steep. Now they’re pushing for the esplanade to be open to bicyclists at least for the winter.
A petition introduced by Transportation Alternatives asks that cyclists be allowed to ride on the Greenway during the winter, which would make commuting easier.
“The nation’s most used cycle path, the Hudson River Greenway, could be facing permanent changes on the Upper West Side. Given the growth in both pedestrian and cycling use on the path in recent years, changes are necessary to avoid conflicts — particularly during seasons where usage peaks. During winter months, however, the current path should remain accessible for the thousands of commuting cyclists who are served by the current route. Will you support making this detour seasonal?”
As of Monday night, the petition had 1,554 signatures.
The full Community Board 7 will review the new path on Tuesday at its monthly full board meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 in the 2nd floor Conference Room at Mount Sinai West Hospital (formerly Roosevelt Hospital) at 1000 Tenth Avenue (59th Street). It’s not clear when this specific issue will be heard.