Let There Be Light: Notorious Dark Patch of West Side Greenway Gets Bright

New lights on the Hudson River Greenway between 59th and 72nd Streets. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/sd/8516807301/##Sebastian Delmont/Flickr##

New lights appeared earlier this week on the Hudson River Greenway between 59th and 72nd Streets, on a notoriously dark stretch beneath an elevated section of the West Side Highway.

Although a few patches remain dark, sources tell us it’s a vast improvement. Word is that DOT is responsible for installing these lights, which are a temporary solution until the Parks Department redesigns this area of the park next year. Repeated appeals from local cyclists to the Parks Department to provide this simple safety upgrade were met with surprising apathy in the past. Parks first promised lighting on this stretch of the greenway in 2010, but didn’t deliver anything until last year. The new lights seem to be a big step up compared to the old ones.

Streetsblog has checked with DOT and the Parks Department for more information. We’ll let you know if we hear an update.

  • Daniel Winks

    Here’s a pretty decent read about how streetlights decrease safety, not improve it:

    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/02/dimming-streetlights-makes-streets-safer

  • Ian Turner

    This is welcome, although from my perspective far less important than the lack of a barrier to block the headlights of oncoming traffic, between 96th st and 130th st.

  • Joe R.

    Similar situation on the Belt Parkway Greenway, although practically the entire 8 mile run has poor lighting and/or headlights from traffic blinding you. This past December when I was coming home at about 1 AM, it seemed the darkness swallowed up even the ~600 lumens I had coming from my headlight and an auxiliary flashlight I attached. The problem was actually more the headlights from the oncoming cars on the Belt Parkway than the lack of lighting. If my eyes had a chance to adjust to the darkness, the ~200 lumens from my main headlight would have been just fine. In fact, the first time I rode the Greenway at night my headlight was enough to see the path ahead just fine, even when I was going close to 30 mph with a stiff tailwind. Fortunately, in that area of the Greenway the car headlights weren’t an issue.

  • Anonymous

       I always thought the parks dept left that stretch in kind of a “hey if you’re riding your bike here at night it’s at your own risk, and screw you, bikes should have lights anyways”.  Kind of a sick way to promote cyclist to use lights? The separate waterfront paths are well lit, no? I tend to imagine the Parks Dept is particularly bike friendly, thanks DOT.

  • Anonymous

    The management of Greenways as transportation routes, not just recreation ones, is a big issues.  Streetsblog covered this issue a few months ago when discussing winter storms. 

    As more cyclists commute using greenways, they need to be lit.  Sunset is 4:30pm in winter.

  • KeNYC2030

    Great credit for this is due to the dogged persistence of Community Board 7’s Parks & Environment committee — and its co-chairs in particular — as well to the Upper West Side Streets Renaissance and attorney Steve Vaccaro.  

  • Jesse

    Totally. Riding north on that stretch at night is the worst.

  • Here’s a short but awesome video clip of the new ambiance:

    http://vine.co/v/bXpVKH13r9e

  • Mrosenbloom

    Plus one on this one. Also I am always worried that someone is waiting for me on the hill near the Washington bridge

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