Pedestrians Beware

City  Hall’s  obsession  with  bicycles is no secret. Bike lanes have been popping up all over town, to the chagrin of those who see no reason to make the flow of vehicular traffic—and, thus, commerce—any slower than it is already. However, perhaps time and climate change will prove that Mayor Bloomberg’s bikers were visionaries and not fanatics.

That said, there is much to be wary of in a new plan to allow cyclists in Central Park to use paths designated for pedestrians. The Parks Department and the Central Park Conservancy argue that cyclists trying to get across the park are now forced to pedal miles out of their way because they are barred from using two pedestrian paths, one near 97th Street and the other near 102nd Street. The cyclists will be required to pedal slowly—no more than 5 miles an hour—in deference to the walkers.

Cycling enthusiasts on the Upper West Side are delighted. The older, more-traditional residents of the Upper East Side are angry and frightened. And the park, rather than serve as a D.M.Z. between these two neighborhoods, has become a battleground.

The East Side’s worries are legitimate. The plan is predicated on the idea that cyclists will defer to pedestrians and will keep to the very slow speed limit. That may be unrealistic—unless, that is, the city rigorously patrols the area and hands out tickets by the handful when cyclists endanger walkers.

If the plan moves forward, the city has to protect pedestrians. Otherwise, there surely will be a tragedy.

Comments

  1. johndog says:

    whoa!  so the faster cars go, the faster commerce in new york runs? well then why not just make every avenue in manhattan indy 500-style thru ways for the fastest cars ever?  no stop lights, no crosswalks, just top speed racetracks that will make commerce go really really fast!  why it’s a fast commerce dream!  and don’t worry about pedestrian safety, because obviously that has nothing to do with cars… it’s all the fault of bicycles and fanatics — you know, members of the four out of five households in new york city that don’t even have a car.

    btw, all evidence (not speculation or the creaky colorings of an observer opinion writer, but actual statistical evidence) indicates that since the introduction of bike lanes, better signage, pedestrian islands, and other improvements traffic in new york actually moves at least as well — i.e., fast — and often better than before.  

    what? are we supposed to look back on the koch years as a time when traffic was really swell?

    FACT: in 2011, pedestrian traffic fatalities in new york city are at their lowest point since the introduction of the automobile onto city streets.  nothing tragic about that.

    finally, must note: central park as the “DMZ” between the upper east side and upper west side?  seriously? you’re making a war of them-vs-us between these two neighborhoods with central park as a “battleground”? for the love pete, dude, take it down a notch.

  2. Gallerygirl says:

    hmmmm… I am very wary though of bicyclists being allowed to use the pedestrian paths… especially after I tried navigating my way out of a newly established bike lane while walking to an early morning appointment one groggy morning. As I politely stepped out of the way the speeding, passing biker I heard her thanks, “get the fuck out of the bike lane”, she snarled.  my new stand, dividing though it may be, is “keep the fuck out of the pedestrian walkway”.

    1. Jdrr01 says:

      agreed that rudeness never acceptable. shame on the cyclist…that said, if you’d had that same conversation with a car, good chance it would have been in braille…

  3. Al O says:

    My solution to bicycles in pedestrian spaces is a simple one – a swift kick to the lower rear spokes.   This usually has the boorish offender slowly crashing to earth (and hopefully thinking twice before riding on the sidewalk/pedestrian path again) while I walk quietly and pleasantly onward.

  4. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

  5. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

  6. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

  7. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

  8. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

  9. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

  10. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

  11. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

  12. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

  13. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

  14. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

  15. Nikki says:

    If you’re fit enough to take a bike ride through the park, what’s one more mile?  Unless, of course, these bikers are also firemen, policemen or hospital emergency service workers on a mission to save lives.

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