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.