Proposal for Central Park West Two-Way Bike Lane Gains Wider Approval

By Alex Israel

Community Board 7 has formally requested that the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) provide a proposal for a two-way protected bike lane on Central Park West. The resolution, which was proposed and approved unanimously by CB7’s transportation committee, passed during the October full board meeting.

The call for more protection comes as a direct response to the death of Madison Jane Lyden, an Australian woman who was hit and killed by a truck while biking along Central Park West in August. Transportation committee co-chair Howard Yaruss introduced the resolution, which followed a similar call for action by City Council Member Helen Rosenthal after Lyden’s death.

The full text of the resolution reads as follows:

The current unprotected lane for bicycles on Central Park West does not adequately protect the safety of cyclists, resulting in many injuries each year and one recent death, and discourages cycling as a mode of transportation.

Resolved, that the Department of Transportation devise a plan for implementing a two-way protected bike lane for the length of Central Park West as soon as possible.

Local residents and activists showed up to the meeting to support the call for DOT action.

“My greatest fear when my kids were born was that they would be killed crossing Central Park West,” said Andrew Rosenthal, a Central Park West resident for 22 years. “We have a problem, and it’s solvable.”

Bill Amstutz, an Upper West Side resident for 21 years and volunteer with the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, described his experience helping Lyden’s family with the installation of a memorial after her death. “I made a commitment to them that I would do everything I can to get a protected bike lane put in,” he said, thanking the Transportation Committee for their support. “It’s the least we can do for Maddie.”

Shaneve Tripp, a local cyclist, shared the story of her own nearly “fatal catastrophe” on Central Park West, just days before Lyden’s accident. She warned of negligence and intentionally aggressive maneuvers from drivers that put cyclists lives at risk. “It really is a matter of life or death,” she said to applause from the audience.

The vote passed easily, with 37 in approval of and three against the resolution. According to transportation committee co-chair Andrew Albert, the board expects a update from the DOT in 2019, possibly as soon as January.

NEWS | 36 comments | permalink
    1. KR says:

      Cue the NIMBY car owners who are too cheap to buy covered parking, to rage against this

    2. Leon says:

      I love riding a bike. And I support efforts to make it safer for bike riders. But there are some places that weren’t meant for bikes. CPW is not particularly wide for a two directional road, and this is only going to make it worse.

      If anything, the sidewalk on the park side of the street is very wide – perhaps they could carve out some of that for a bike lane?

    3. A.C. says:

      Here’s a better idea that they’ve started doing that I think they should expand:

      One way roads with buses: Bus lane on the right lane, and a bike lane on the left lane. So that would work for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Lex, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th (Up to 59th street) 9th/Columbus, and 10th/Amsterdam (Up to 110th Street.)

      On two way roads without a bus, you can just put the bike lanes on the outside… but when there’s a bus, like on Broadway or Central Park West, on Broadway, you can put the bike lanes by the median, maybe, I don’t know. On Central Park West, I don’t know if a bus lane is necessarily needed, to be completely honest. I’ve never had a problem with the M10, it usually runs very smoothly and very swiftly for me, the few buses that ever do (But I don’t take it too much, I could be wrong) Just put the bike lanes, again, on the outside, or maybe just compile them by the park, and have a different light system for them.

    4. Sid says:

      One thing that gets overlooked is that traffic calming measures like these benefit ALL users of the road, including pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists. Bravo to CB7 for pushing this through.

    5. Dailyrider says:

      Good. One big pedal in the right direction, …er, both right directions, north and south, that is. Central Park needs to be fully integrated with the surrounding city for bicycle riders like it is for pedestrians and drivers.

      The a great next step would be to create more ways to safely and legally cross the park, all the way from east to west and vice versa, for bicyclists. Currently there is only one, at 72nd.

      Please, don’t wait for someone to get run over by a bus while crossing in dangerous transepts that are designed only for vehicular traffic, and yet are the only legal way to cross the park on your bike for most trips.

    6. Mike says:

      Why a two-way bike lane?
      As someone who skates and bikes the length of CPW 10+ times per week, the only trouble I’ve had has been going north, just as Miss Lyden was doing. Southbound cyclists already have the Central Park Loop option, and requiring them to use a two-way lane on the park side of CPW seems like it would create a lot of unnecessary cross-traffic congestion that involves cars, bikes and pedestrians (many of whom are young children).

    7. Zulu says:

      Thank you CB7!

    8. Slooop says:

      I bike everyday to work up CPW but I think this would be a catastrophe.

      Picture the increased traffic backup and increase in traffic related noise pollution when there’s a street fair, or just sit and listen to the cars (and TRUCKS) honking during Alternate Side Parking times up and down the side streets in the 70s 80s and 90s off of CPW.

      Now imagine this happening everyday with the effect magnified at all times into the night!

      At least, I guess the residency living off of CPW can afford to soundproof their windows. A truck horn blast directly into a second floor window at 6am can really jolt one out of bed quickly though, regardless of the quality of window.

    9. George of CPW says:

      a Two-lane protected bike path on Central Park West would only be feasible if all parking were eliminated on both sides (since double parking, especially by delivery trucks, school buses and the privileged is routine), or by making the street a bike and pedestrian mall. Neither makes sense. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail.

      • B.B. says:

        That would be a slippery slope since there would then likely be calls to eliminate parking on Fifth avenue (the one side where it exists). That would be met with fierce opposition from residents of all those white glove apartment buildings and remaining private mansions.

        For the record Fifth avenue (at least along Central Park), Park Avenue (above 57th), and CPW are considered “residential” streets by the city. Among other things this is why they don’t have metered parking like Lexington, Amsterdam, Broadway, Third, Second, etc…

    10. B flat says:

      I think parking should be banned on cpw, to create space for a dedicated, barriered bike lane. Bikes and buses need each need their own separate lanes. Bikes often make sudden unpredictable moves, so it would be safer for all to keep them separate. Buses need to reach the curb, which they’ve been avoiding, partly because of bikes and partly because of uber cars using bus stops. City needs to get serious about public safety. I feel there’s no need for personal care in n.y.c., and the priority should be pedestrian, bike and public transportation over private cars.

    11. Nora says:

      Every day when I cross CPW at 90th Street to take my dog to the park I live in fear that one of us will get hit by a bike because they NEVER stop even when the light is red. Increasing dedicated bike lanes for both north and south riders would only exacerbate this problem and make it truly dangerous for pedestrians to cross Central Park West. We really need to look at the broader picture here

      • Sid says:

        Nora, I live in fear of cars and trucks that routinely run reds on the UWS, and almost certainly result in violent injuries and death. The last fatality caused by a bike occurred over three years ago, even as cycling has boomed in NYC to over 800,000 trips a day.
        Studies have also shown that creating dedicated cycling infrastructure leads to safer cycling.

    12. Tim says:

      Why did the city ban cars from Central Park? Can’t cyclists use the park??

      • dannyboy says:

        That was the September Campaign.

      • B.B. says:

        Answered this before in another thread with same query.

        Contrary to popular belief (and or actions) bicycles are supposed to follow same rules of road/traffic as motor vehicles.

        This means where a road is one way, that is how *all* traffic regardless is supposed to go.

        Central Park east side loop goes north, while the west handles south bound traffic. This goes for motor vehicles, bikes, roller blades, etc…

        To get from Columbus Circle and 58th street and say 96th and CPW via inside CP properly one would have to go across CPS portion of loop, up east side loop, either cut across at 105th, or continue to extreme north end of park, get onto west side loop going south, then finally exit.

        Does any of that make sense to you?

        We don’t tell motor vehicles to cross CPS to Madison or Park avenues, then go all the way up to 110th/Central Park North, then get over to west side.

        Motor vehicles of course can use the transverses to get from east to west. But traffic already during much of the day is backed up on Fifth, Madison and Park, sometimes far as Lexington waiting to get through. Adding yet more coming up from CPS is not a good idea.

        People need to face the fact, because it is a fact that CPW is nothing more than 8th Avenue. If traffic wasn’t interrupted by Columbus Circle many issues wouldn’t exist.

    13. Jon says:

      I’m eager to see DOT’s response. When DOT presented their proposal for the Amsterdam Ave protected bike lane to the CB a few years ago, they mentioned that they studied CPW, but determined that it was infeasible to accommodate a bike lane.

      Regardless, this is exciting news. Along with the Columbus Circle changes this would provide much-needed continuity between the UWS and Midtown protected bike lanes on Broadway and 8th Ave.

    14. Jan says:

      How many times per day are u nearly hit by a bike?
      It’s clear by now the bike lanes ARE the cause
      of congestion. Oh we could ban cars?
      What is it gonna take for our city to see that bikes
      Are never gonna work successfully in NYC

      • Alta says:

        Actually Jan, if you look at the real data, less than one pedestrian is killed by cyclists each year on average, while cars kill dozens per year.

        If you actually wanted to make the roads safer, you would build more bike lanes and reduce the number of cars.

    15. Mike says:

      This is great and proactive, but there also need to be greater safeguards for pedestrians who are regularly endangered by cyclists who totally disregard traffic regulations in virtually all bike lanes.

      • Dailyrider says:

        The principle reason that bike riders often disregard traffic rules in bike lanes is that there are not enough of them. The infrastructure for us is so sporadic, poorly enforced, poorly thought out and poorly maintained that it would take a saint with a lot of time and patience to follow every single rule every single time.

        I know that sounds crazy to you but try to imagine if you were making your way through New York as a pedestrian, and the only place you could legally walk north was on Amsterdam and if you wanted to walk south for a block or two, you would have to make your way somehow to Columbus Avenue, finding the right direction of one way street to get there, and then make your way back.
        Imagine that if you wanted to cross central park, and in order to do so you had to make your way to the only place in the whole park where it is legal to go to the other side, that is 72 street, or else you would need to walk along the side of the street in the one of the nasty transepts that are designed for traffic, inches away from fast moving buses and trucks because you could get ticketed if you dared walk on the sidewalk.
        Imagine that people would say to you…”you can use the park! aren’t you satisfied?”, but they didn’t understand that you could only legally walk in one direction on the loop, so if you had to go a block or so north on the west side of the park you would have to walk ALL the way around the whole park to get there legally, because the loop requires you to walk only south on that side of it.

        Imagine if you were walking along one of these rare “people paths” in the right direction, of course, and trying to make it to where you were headed, and it was always punctuated with cars forcing you out of the path into their domain, buses honking at you to get out of the way, and red lights every 30 feet or so that you had to wait at for 2 minutes even when there was no danger to you nor were you a danger to others.

        Imagine if half the trips you took, depending on which direction you were trying to go—if you followed all the rules diligently and didn’t want to walk on the most dangerous streets with the fastest trucks and buses forcing you into the car doors opening out at you— would be very roundabout, perhaps an extra mile, or an extra 8 blocks, and usually requiring at least a few blocks or a mile where you had to mix anyways with the fastest buses and trucks honking at you to get out of the way, because of the whole illogical and unpredictable mess of one-way grid streets and paths that change according to whim and whimsy.

        Imagine if you loved walking anyways because it is a great way to get around, so you just put up with all of this and tried to get improvements to happen, and people kept telling you that you were crazy because New York is made for cars, not walkers. And if you want us to let you keep walking, don’t expect nor think you deserve any improvements, any safety measures, but above all, shut up and follow the rules because every day when I’m standing around after getting out of my car, I almost get hit by at least ten to twenty walkers. They sometimes come within an inch of me.

    16. Catherine says:

      It is a terrible shame that poor young woman was killed on CPW. NYC is not a bike town no matter how much some people would like it to be. Until the day comes when there are fewer cars in Manhattan, it never will be safe or work. We need EVERY inch of space to keep traffic flowing. Has anyone been down Columbus Ave and noticed how congested it has become? Trucks still have to deliver, taxis stop to drop of and pick up passengers and taking lanes away for bike riders is just ridiculous. And I agree w another person who wrote she is afraid every day at 90/CPW crossing w her dog to the park because bike riders go way too fast, think they come before pedestrians, and often go the wrong way so even if it is a one-way street, you still have to look both ways to be sure. Between bike lanes and pedestrian malls, it is getting to be ridiculous to move anywhere except take subways or walk.

    17. Sarah says:

      What’s ironic here is that since the bike lanes have gone in on Columbus and CPW, my biggest fear is one of my children getting run over at full speed by a biker who Zips up the bike lane (or goes in the wrong direction in the bike lane) and doesn’t even slow down when we have a walk sign. You now have to creep out and look both ways and also avoid turning cars WHILE you have the right of way. It’s really dangerous for pedestrians, and that can only get worse if a two way lane is added. It’s like a scary game of frogger.

    18. Anon says:

      Where would this bike lane be? On the west of would block the buildings and make getting to a can difficult or dangerous for the elderly and handicapped. If it is on the east, immediately next to the park, with no cross streets most cyclists won’t stop for red lights. That will make it nearly impossible for pedestrians to safely come and go.from the park.

    19. Jamie says:

      That is wonderful news. I ride a bike on this road with my 7 year old daughter and we would love to feel safer.

    20. BillyNYC says:

      It’s it’s a ridiculous idea just get rid of the bike lanes get this thing over with you know in the next five years are going to be gone or better be !!!!!!

    21. BB says:

      “Poor New Yorkers mostly rely on public transit.”. NYT, 10/13/18. The $ would much better spent fixing the subways both from a social equity perspective & from a per mile/per person travelled perspective.

    22. Sekhar Ramakrishnan says:

      This is opportunistic overkill. There are protected lanes going uptown on Amsterdam and downtown on Columbus. More importantly, there are good bike lanes inside the park a few yards from CPW. TA seems highly opportunist. They should pick stretches without any bike lanes nearby and work on them. Especially in the other boroughs. Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues?

    23. Lynn says:

      And when CPW is one kane in both directions where will all the UPS, FEDEX and other box-delivery trucks doublepark? DOT shows more concern for bikes than foe the fact that we are a delivery society and those trucks need somewhere to park.

    24. mm says:

      Has everyone already forgotten about the woman who was killed by a speeding bicycle in Central Park a few years back? I live in much more fear of bicycles than of cars as I cross CPW or the Park loop. Cars can (more or less) be trusted to stop at signs and lights and yield to pedestrians; bicyclists not so much. My experience with bicyclists is that they are highly unpredictable around the concept of sharing the road. No one ever mentions the obvious additional hazard that a pedestrian can hear a car coming. Bicycles are virtually silent and are upon a pedestrian before they have time to react. Visually, the narrower profile of a bicyclist is harder to apprehend than that of a car. This bike lane could well lead to the very kind of tragedy it purports to avoid.

      • uwsbikerdad says:

        Stop pretending anecdotes based on your feelings represent reality and read an actual study of pedestrian fatalities:

        From 2006 to 2016 of the 1,677 pedestrian traffic fatalities, seven occurred as a result of pedestrian-bicycle collisions, accounting for 0.4% of all pedestrian traffic fatalities in New York City.

        Here’s the full study: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/bike-safety-study-fullreport2017.pdf

        The rest of the fatalities were from cars. I get it, parking on the street for free is really important to the tiny minority of car-owning New Yorkers, but don’t pretend bikes are any more than 0.4% as dangerous as cars to pedestrians.

        And for what it’s worth, I personally think a protected northbound lane on CPW created by moving the parked cars to the outside of the bike line is all bikers need. All you need is to repaint and there is no net loss of street space. Southbound bikers can use the nice big road in the park.

    25. William Raudenbush says:

      With the U.N. report on climate change recently released, I’m glad our city is investing in green infrastructure and doing the important work of making it more desirable by making it safer.