The city has outlined plans to change the loop road in Central Park, reducing the speed limit to 20 mph from 25 and creating new separations between pedestrians and bicyclists. At certain intersections, new signs and blockades will try to minimize conflicts between pedestrians and bicyclists.
Two pedestrians have been killed this year by bicyclists on the loop road and bike-on-pedestrian collisions had risen 52% year-over-year as of last month. Police have also been increasing summonses: “The Central Park Pct. has so far issued 865 tickets to cyclists this year compared to 212 over the same period last year as of November 12th,” according to A Walk in the Park.
There are quite a few changes coming to the park. Here’s how the city explains it:
“The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, NYPD, and the Central Park Conservancy today announced immediate safety enhancements along the Central Park Drives. In addition to a reduction of the speed limit inside Central Park from 25 to 20 MPH for all modes of transportation, four key crossings across the park will receive substantial enhancements, including highly prominent “Pedestrian Crossing” warning signs at the intersections, advisory 10 MPH speed signs, and advance pedestrian crossing signs before each intersection. The advance signs will be reinforced with roadway markings near the sign locations, refurbished crosswalks and clearer lane use markings.
Barricades will also be installed to shorten pedestrian crossing distance on the West Drive at two crossings (at Sheep Meadow, near W. 68th Street, and at Heckscher Ballfields, near E. 63rd Street) where the drive is significantly wider than typical. The barricades will be placed in the west-most motor vehicle lane during car-free hours. At Delacorte Theater (near W. 81st Street), a barricade will be installed between the pedestrian and bicycle lanes to better guide pedestrians to the crosswalk.
The four locations to receive these treatments include:
• West Drive at Delacorte Theater (near W. 81st Street)
• West Drive at Sheep Meadow (near W. 68th Street)
• West Drive at Heckscher Ballfields Crossing (near E. 63rd Street)
• East Drive at Terrace Drive (near E. 72nd Street)
The Central Park Precinct will continue its public awareness campaign in the park to inform every one of the rules and regulations as it relates to traffic and pedestrian safety. Individuals found in violation of the rules will be cited accordingly.”
Council members Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine are also pushing a bill to make the park off-limits to cars next summer, and possibly permanently.
Several readers suggested adding speed bumps at select intersections, but those doesn’t appear to be part of the plan. Will these changes make the park safer? Take our poll below, and let us know in the comments.