Spring 2002, p.8

Riverside Park Users Asked to Share
T.A. Stresses Safety and Courtesy, Not Enforcing Speed Limits

Read the latest news on this issue.

The Riverside Park Promenade was once a dead-end for cyclists, skaters, runners and others using the Hudson River Greenway. Now that it is connected with the greenway, the promenade is a popular through route for path users-especially cyclists. The greenway runs continuously from Battery Park to the George Washington Bridge.

However, users new and old are not always sure about who has the right of way, so they compete--sometimes heatedly--over coveted space. In response, the Parks Department has planted temporary "Shared Path" signs in Riverside Park from 66th to 83rd Street in March 2002. T.A. commends the Parks Department for its sign campaign and encourages the Parks bike patrol, which monitors the area, to focus on safety and courtesy.

The Parks Department intended its signs to foster an atmosphere of respect on this busy section of the Hudson River Greenway. Over 7,000 people a day use the greenway during peak periods. The signs reinforce commonsense rules that all path users should follow: bicyclists and skaters must yield to pedestrians, signal when passing and watch for children, and dog walkers must use a short leash.

In addition to the signs, the Parks Department is connecting a separate cyclists' preferred path from 66th to 83rd Streets to ease crowding on the promenade. The Hudson River Greenway is a multi-use path funded with Federal clean air funds that are intended to encourage commuter cycling. The preferred path will segregate cyclists from slower path users on the promenade. T.A. suggested the "Shared Path" signs and "Preferred Path" to Riverside Park in the Fall of 2001, and we applaud their efforts to work with path users' behavior instead of employing unrealistic or draconian rules.

Unfortunately, the Parks Department has included a statement that "Bikes must not exceed 10 mph" on the temporary "Shared Path" signs. T.A. strongly opposes this speed limit and insists that the Parks Department remove the statement. A 10 mph speed limit is hard for cyclists to interpret and difficult to enforce without a radar gun. T.A. recommends that the Parks Department instead base its enforcement on reckless cycling and skating and failure to yield right-of-way to pedestrians. Policy should be focused on courtesy and respect, and be practical. Since path volumes vary from season to season, "Shared Path" signs should be applicable year-round and promote respect in all conditions. T.A. also recommends that the Parks Department work with NYPD bike cops to train Parks' bike patrols to appropriately identify and stop dangerous cyclists and skaters.

Write to:
Commissioner Adrian Benepe
NYC Parks Department
830 5th Ave
NYC 10021