A section of Riverside Park that had been the scene of conflicts and crashes between cyclists and pedestrians, now has a new bicycle detour.
The new route stretches from 72nd to 83rd Street, moving cyclists away from the water further into the park so that they don’t crowd out pedestrians on the promenade next to the Hudson River. A cyclist slammed into a four-year-old near the Boat Basin at 79th Street earlier this year, sending the child to the hospital. The new route was funded via participatory budgeting arranged through Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s office.
“Mixing bikes and pedestrians on the Greenway, particularly in front of the boat basin, is problematic,” Rosenthal wrote in a message to constituents. “This separate cycling path will make the park safer for all of us, and I am urging the Parks Department to extend the path throughout the park wherever possible.”
Not every cyclist is using the detour, multiple pedestrians tell us.
“What I’ve seen so far during the day, around 90% of the bicyclists abide by the rerouting and use the upper path. When I took a walk with a friend last night around 9:30 p.m. however, there were a number of speeding bicyclists coming down the promenade – they went right through those barricades,” Marriane Hettinger wrote. “But overall, a great improvement at least during the day. After years of dodging speeding bicycles, it’s once again relaxing to take a needed stroll by the river!”
Another reader who asked that his name not be used wrote that cyclists have continued to use the path, and lash out at pedestrians. “A handful of angry bikers have taken to harassing the rest of us (due to their anger relating the the fact that they are being rerouted) by yelling at us and trying to scare us.” He said he thinks parks officers ought to be posted at the entrances and exits to the detours for a while to make sure that cyclists are using the separate path.