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PHOTOS: Central Park Gets First East/West Shared Bike/Pedestrian Path

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 04:59 PM

The shared bike/pedestrian path in Central Park (photo by Kate Hinds)

In the past, bicyclists wanting to cross Central Park had two legal choices: ride a couple of extra miles around the loop, or use the more direct -- but narrow and often dangerous -- transverses used by vehicles.

Until now.

(photo by Kate Hinds)

Shortly before New Year's, the New York City Parks Department and the Central Park Conservancy began a six-month pilot program permitting bicyclists to share a pedestrian path south of the 97th Street transverse. According to a Parks Department spokesperson, the path will be monitored to see if it should continue -- or possibly even be expanded.

(photo by Kate Hinds)

When the shared path program was first announced last June, there were supposed to be two. Parks wouldn't comment on why the number of paths in the trial program had been reduced to one. But the lanes were not exactly welcomed by Community Board 8 -- the board representing the east side. And last year, Central Park seemed to become center stage for a bike ticketing crackdown.

But earlier this week, when TN checked out the path, all was quiet. The park was relatively uncrowded at 10:30 in the morning on the west side.

(photo by Kate Hinds)

Earlier reports indicted that there might be posted speed limits for cyclists, but the signs currently in place tell bicyclists to "ride slowly."  Other rules: yield to pedestrians, ride in single file, and no bicycle groups over four people.

(photo by Kate Hinds)

If you're looking for it, the path is just south of the 97th Street transverse and passes just north of the tennis courts on the West Side. (For a map of Central Park, go here.)

Have you used the path yet? Let us know your experience, and comment below!

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Comments [8]

Hoss

Didn't even know this existed. I'd almost rather ride with the vehicles on the sunken transverse. So used to the foot paths being off limits to bikes(except to tourists who can't read signs apparently) that I'd never even noticed the little green signs or the bike painted on the pavement.

Jul. 06 2012 03:29 PM
Matt G

Having started a new job on the UES (I live on the UWS) I have been splitting my time between walking across the park and biking. The 96th St crossing is great, especially as it has been relatively free of both pedestrians and bikes when I've gone through. Pedestrians have responded to my bell and moved aside.

The tough part is having to walk from the east drive to Fifth Ave (you can pretty much ride right in/out on the west side from the 96th St entrance). The new lanes on 72nd coming in June will be very welcome as you will be able to ride all the way (and both directions) between CPW to 5th Ave.

The biggest problem I have - both walking and biking - is the number of dogs off their leashes. I love dogs, but twice now while walking, I've had my pants dirtied from friendly dogs coming over and jumping up. I imagine that people afarid of dogs must be terrified of walking through the park. Interestingly, a) the problem is much worse on the East Side and b) leash laws are clearly not enforced, yet enforcement officers were out ticketing this morning for bikes that don't make a full stop on the loop at a red light. Priorities . . .

Apr. 11 2012 05:11 PM
THM CPW

I wish the rest of the park would be properly marked with the NO BIKING signs. I walk my dogs regularly in the park near Tavern on the Green. I have been hit twice in the past 5 yrs by TOURIST on bikes with cameras on pedestrian paths. I couldn't avoid them as they came at me from behind. I also saw a toddler nearly hit by one. It's not just the tourist that are a problem. I've seen neighbors of mine flying by at high speeds on pedestrian paths. I tell them it's not allowed and they say they know but since there are no signs they will fight it if something was to happen or if they are ticketed. To me the biggest culprit to blame are the bike rental places. They never tell the tourists they are to only stay on the main road as they know some people will then not rent. I'm always stopping tourist now and telling them.

THe city screams they need money. Well here is your opportunity. Get cops to ticket the tourist and the bike companies make them all responsible. You watch how much safer the park will become.

I worry that there will be a tragedy if we don't do something. A dog or child will be killed.

I wonder- if I'm hit again. Who I should go after. I will sue the park, the city and the biking companies!

Mar. 27 2012 08:46 PM
Gene

I think it’s a great idea to use the pedestrian path south of the transverse. Though I hope signage/instructions will be clear about cyclists leaving the path and re-entering the drives. It’s amazing to me how rarely people look for oncoming traffic.

Feb. 03 2012 11:33 AM
Gene

I think it's a great idea to use the transverse. Though I hope signage/instructions will be clear about cyclists leaving the path and re-entering the drives. It's amazing to me how rarely people look for oncoming traffic.

Feb. 03 2012 11:31 AM
Eric W

Living and biking in Santa Monica I can tell you guys that the stick story is urban legend for the gullible.

It's crowded near the pier, yes. There are peds on the bike path (maybe even from NYC!) who don't see the walking path next to it. On July 4th there were so many cyclists on the path that the lifeguards declared a "Sigalert" due to traffic congestion - just like the 405 freeway, and advised people to "take an alternate route".

No people with sticks attacking the castle, nor cyclists on the bike path. Might be a movie plot in there somewhere?

Jan. 30 2012 01:40 PM
Al Lewis

Bravo. This is a great idea. Nearly all bikers on the paths bike responsibly - unlike the frequent speeders with the racing bikes on the paved roads. When this program proves to be safe, would like to see other paths open to bikes as well. To make sure program suceeds, speed limits or warnings should be posted freely and park police should ticket speeders and recklass bikers on paths.

Jan. 30 2012 11:20 AM
j

But this makes no sense. There is already a road for emergency motor vehicles across 103rd St. that, I believe, bikes are allowed to use. (Certainly the police are in the habit of allowing it.)

The shared path needs to happen further south.

Jan. 30 2012 09:33 AM

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