Serious Safety Flaws Mar Hudson Path
As expected, the Manhattan portion of the car-free, Hudson River Greenway multi-use path is already hugely popular with cyclists, skaters and pedestrians, all of whom enjoy the spectacular river and skyline views. The long awaited path will be completed in September but has been heavily used since April, ranking it one of the ten busiest and most strategic paths for everyday cyclists in the United States. Unfortunately, despite enormous potential, the state built serious safety flaws into the section of the path between Battery Park and 59th Street putting cyclists at risk of being killed or maimed by cars that turn across the path at high speed. Additionally, because the path lacks clear markers, bollards and signage, some cars unlawfully make the Greenway their freeway, driving down the path and parking across it. One observer recently saw a car illegally driving down the path almost collide with another car turning at high speed across it.
Cars First Design
In contrast, non-motorized users are slowed by the path's sharp dip, which is emphasized with brick pavers. Slowing path users at intersections would be okay if motorists were also compelled to slow when crossing the path. However, they are not - indeed they are encouraged to turn quickly by the design.
The State DOT set itself a good example south of Vesey Street at the World Financial Center where it kept the path above street level at intersections. From the motorist's perspective the path becomes a speed hump. Drivers are forced to slow when crossing it. The State DOT must move very quickly to install this safety improvement further uptown or vulnerable path users will be killed and injured.
The Route 9A portion of the Hudson River Greenway is the product of intense negotiation that took place between community and civic groups (including T.A.) and the State DOT in the early 1990's. T.A. and our community allies viewed it as one of the redeeming features of the enormous Route 9A project, whose extra lanes help pour more motor vehicles than ever before into lower Manhattan. During the subsequent, heated debate over potential commercial use of Hudson River Park, T.A. feared that placing many attractions on the waterfront would draw heavy motor vehicle traffic, interrupting travel on path and jeopardizing the safety of its users. The existing car-friendly design of the Hudson River Greenway path and its intersections with Route 9A suggest that our fears may have been well founded. We urge the State DOT to prove us wrong by putting the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and skaters before the movement of motor vehicles.
Safety Recommendations for
Hudson River Greenway:
The Next Six Months
Meanwhile Uptown on the Path
Cyclists, please slowdown and yield to pedestrians, slower cyclists and skaters on the Riverside Park Promenade - especially between 68th and 83rd street. There have been a number of very serious collisions between pedestrians and fast cyclists.
Now the latest news for uptown path users:
1. Cyclists now have an unrestricted passage through Riverbank State Park, 135th to 145th Streets. Pedestrians are banned from this temporary access way. The permanent segment of the Hudson River Greenway is expected to be completed sometime this year adjacent to railroad tracks east of Riverbank.
2. The gap and detour between 83rd and 91st will remain until a path cantilevered over the river is constructed sometime in 2004. T.A. and friends have petitioned the governor and mayor to widen the planned path from 14 feet to 20 feet at this critical link. Unfortunately, given the environmental permitting process and construction time, T.A. is unable to hasten completion of this much needed section. In the interim, use the detour through Riverside Park at 83rd St. and descend back onto the water side path at 91st street or continue to 96th and use Riverside Drive.
HUDSON RIVER PATH MAIN ACCESS POINTS
When construction is completed there will be an access point every two blocks south of 60th St. This list may not be complete.