Give cyclists a car-only lane on Henry Hudson Parkway – Streetsblog New York City
A former traffic commissioner pushes back the cars.
Sam Schwartz, aka “Gridlock Sam,” wants the city to take a lane away from drivers on the northbound Henry Hudson Drive and give it to beleaguered cyclists in northern Manhattan and the western Bronx when the Parks Department closes a northern part of the Hudson. River Greenway this month. The existing bike path runs along the westernmost lane of the highway’s northern fork.
“The northbound Henry Hudson Parkway has three lanes, but could easily get by with two,” Schwartz told Streetsblog this week. “Traffic never reaches capacity on the HHP north of the George Washington Bridge so use a northbound lane and have a temporary bike lane using the left shoulder and leftmost lane separated by a barrier Jersey is far superior and much safer than sending cyclists through the upper Manhattan street system.
The current plan, which was due to begin this week, calls for parks to close a one-mile stretch of the Greenway between Dyckman Street and the George Washington Bridge for at least four months for repairs. During the shutdown, the Parks Department wants walkers and cyclists to access congested and dangerous Broadway instead from W. 181st Street and Dyckman Street, which are hilly streets that encompass northern Manhattan’s main truck and freight route. . The recommendation angered cyclists, who use the Greenway as the only safe north-south transit route, as well as a leg of the 750-mile Empire State Trail.
The detour is dangerous. From May 2020 to April 2022, 255 accidents were reported on detour streets, injuring 20 cyclists and 18 pedestrians, according to city data, with a higher incidence of collisions during the summer when the greenway is used more. .
A year ago, Manhattan Community Board 12 formally asked the Departments of Parks and Transportation to study the idea of erecting a bike lane on the boardwalk during construction. The plan, passed on by some local residents with an engineering background, proposed using inexpensive Jersey barriers to create a temporary bike path in the underused west lane of the northbound parkway. To do so, the city would need permission from the state DOT, which controls the road (also known as State Route 9A). The greenway in this stretch is at the western end of the northbound parkway lanes, east of the southern fork of the forked road.
The state, for its part, did not dismiss the idea out of hand, but said the city should seek a review. The city never did — although, according to traffic engineer Schwartz, it’s common sense and a small measure of justice.
“The city and state go to extraordinary lengths not to close a freeway to drivers when construction is needed,” he said, recounting that decades ago when he helped rebuild from FDR Drive to Midtown, “rather than closing the drive, we’ve built a temporary freeway across the East River! The extension is being transformed into the East Midtown Waterfront.
A Henry Hudson Parkway bike lane would bring immediate relief to bike commuters such as Stella Billings, who said she and her 13-year-old child, who used the greenway to get to school, had given up riding because of the construction.
“The idea of anyone, let alone young teenagers, taking the unprotected death trap that is Broadway between Dyckman and 181st is outrageous!” said Billings. “Unfortunately the alternative route they are offering is not a detour in our minds at all – just a complete closure of access during peak months.”
The Broadway detour is just the latest example of what bikers describe as dismissive treatment from the Parks Department. Brooklyn bikers are angry that Parks refused to provide a safe route during a year-long Brooklyn Greenway repair. A repair of the Cherry Walk section of the Hudson River Greenway in Riverside Park two years ago sparked complaints about lack of notice and poor signage. Other complaints have been filed over the years due to prolonged closures of the East River Greenway downtown for flood remediation and downtown for sinkhole repairs. Even on the upper Hudson River Greenway, Parks lagged in repairs. For example, in 2018 it only repaired a pedestrian bridge that spans the tracks of West 181st Street after Streetsblog highlighted the problem.
And, of course, Ocean Parkway is also a Parks Department infrastructure disaster. The agency also failed to provide safe routes for cyclists through Central Park, where a beloved doctor was killed in 2019.
“Mayor Adams should do things for cyclists right now by removing the Greenway from the jurisdiction of the Parks Department,” said Inwood resident (and transit advocate) Danny Pearlstein, an all-time cyclist. year that has been using the Hudson River Greenway for over a decade. “Parks has consistently failed to prioritize the needs of users of the nation’s busiest bikeway, the crown jewel of the city’s greenway system. The latest shutdown, with its dangerous last-minute detour, only adds insult to injury after years of blatant disregard for infrastructure and ruthless attacks by bike-afraid bureaucrats. The future of sustainable transportation in New York City demands that City Hall step in now to treat the Greenway as the primary transportation route it is.
Contrary to Pearlstein’s criticisms, the Parks Department said it “worked with the DOT to determine the best possible detour to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists,” according to spokeswoman Megan Moriarty, who added that the detour was “determined on the basis of knowledge of the best cycle routes available”. in the area.” She said the aforementioned West 181st Street pedestrian bridge — which allows people to access the upper greenway from the park and continue south on the greenway below — would help commuters by remaining open during construction.
The DOT declined to comment, referring us to Parks.
Besides the trucks, the detour designated by the parks has a number of other hazards. Officers from the 34th Ward at 4295 Broadway combat park their personal cars diagonally across Broadway, presenting hazards to all street users, even other motorists. Meanwhile, the MTA will put even more vehicular traffic in the area: The agency said it will close the A train above 168th for many weekends this summer due to station construction at 181st Street, CB12 announced Monday. The A train runs along Broadway north of 181st Street; thus, any closure would put dozens of passenger shuttles on the same route as the bike and walk detour recommended by Parks Canada.
There are precedents for reallocating space on 9A due to construction: the repair of the collapsed Castle Village retaining wall at 183rd Street closed a lane of the Henry Hudson Parkway and the 181st Street entrance to the freeway for three years starting in 2005. Meanwhile, others south of Manhattan, where 9A is called West Street, hosted a detour for bikers from 14th to 16th Streets for a week during off-hours working when Pier 57 was under construction in 2021.
It is also not unusual for city agencies to operate on Henry Hudson Parkway, despite its designation as a state highway. The NYPD, for example, responds to accidents and helps motorists in distress, even those who cannot legally drive on the road (as in the tweet below).
—Streetsblog New York (@StreetsblogNYC) May 16, 2022
Anyway, Henry Hudson Parkway exists in the first place because in the 1930s, Robert Moses commandeered a city street – Riverside Drive – widening it to create the freeway. The section of the greenway being repaired runs along the old sidewalk of the RSD and still has beacons that say so.