Better Lighting Arrives on 13 Blocks of Hudson River Greenway

Bright new lighting will make riding the Hudson River Greenway much safer between 59th and 72nd Street. Photo: ##

Cyclists riding after dark on the Hudson River Greenway have long complained about the insufficient lighting on two stretches of the heavily-trafficked path. The “Cherry Walk,” between 102nd and 125th Streets, is made truly treacherous by the combination of an unlit pathway and the glare of oncoming highway traffic. Nearly as bad, though, are the 13 blocks between 59th and 72nd Streets, where the greenway runs beneath the elevated Miller Highway. That latter stretch is finally getting some upgraded lighting.

First brought to our attention by reader BicyclesOnly, better lighting is already up at the southern end of the stretch, below 63rd Street. New lights are currently being installed between 63rd and 72nd as the Parks Department builds the brackets to mount the lights onto the elevated highway and should be in by this spring, the department told Streetsblog. Similar lighting upgrades were promised in 2010.

“The Hudson River Greenway has been more successful than most imagined, especially in terms of the number of people who commute to and from work, often after dark,” said Riverside Park Administrator John Herrold. “We are improving the lighting because it became evident that the original lighting plan did not provide sufficient illumination for this stretch of the Greenway, which runs underneath the elevated highway and is thus in deep shadow. Our goal is to make the route safer and easier for cyclists to navigate; even more, it is to increase safety for pedestrians who must cross the path to enter or leave the park and are at risk of being struck, day or night.”

Lighting upgrades to the Cherry Walk, where they are more badly needed, would be more difficult, as there is no electric wiring to the path.

  • Nuttree

    If there’s no electric wiring along the Cherry Walk, it might make sense to put in photovoltaic lights:

  • LN

    The bike paths along the cape cod canal doesn’t have wiring and its well lit by solar lights. The Cherry Walk is the problem, not under the highway, which was shadowed, but not scary dark.

  • Joe R.

    Anyone know if those are LED lights? Judging by the color, which is much whiter than the very yellow high-pressure sodium used on most roads, they’re either LED or metal-halide.

  • KeNYC2030

    Let’s be clear that the lighting between 62nd and 72nd is only temporary and, while better than nothing, may or may not be adequate.  The permanent lighting will be part of the reconstruction and widening of that section of the bike path, to start in spring of next year, according to Herrold.  For well over a year, Community Board 7’s Parks & Environment committee has repeatedly reminded Herrold of the problem and asked him to find a way to install lighting there.  It’s great to know that riders will finally be able to see what’s in front of them on their after-dark commutes.    

  • Anonymous

    More than lighting, Cherry Walk needs some shrubs or other low-maintenance solution to block or diffuse the southbound car headlights on the parkway, which are blinding for cyclists riding northbound after dark. 

  • J

    I brought this issue up a few years ago, when I used that stretch a lot. The Parks department did plant some shrubs to shield path users from oncoming headlights, but those only do so much. The problem is that this type of initiative (bicycle safety) is a low priority for DOT and Parks. As such, they don’t devote any resources or creativity to the problem. The “no electrical hookups” argument is bunk, and is merely an excuse for laziness and a lack of creativity. Honestly, this would be a good project for an enterprising group to research and put together a proposal for solar lights to bring to DPR. There are standards for lighting fixtures, so you could look up exactly what is needed and show Parks precisely what it would cost to purchase. Then they’d have no more excuses.

    In general, Parks has ranged from apathetic to intolerant of cycling. Ever tried to lock up a bicycle near an attraction in a park? There are rarely any bike racks, yet there are always tons of signs telling you not to lock to gates and trees.

  • Drosejr

    Good news. I was fearful that DPR was going to wait until the viaduct was buried under the Trump buildings before lights were hung. Beat my estimate by at least ten years then…

  • SafetyPatrol

    I thought the comment “even more, it is to increase safety for pedestrians…” Wow. 

  • Please write or call Community Board 9 Manhattan, attention Parks Committee, to ask for better lighting, better paving, and better line painting for the Cherry Walk section.

    Community Board #9 Manhattan

    16-18 Old Broadway

    New York,
    NY 10027

    Phone: 212-864-6200

    Fax: 212-662-7396

    Email the district manager: and ask for your message to be passed on to Brad Taylor on the Parks Committee.

  • Red

    A low-tech no-energy help: use glassphalt to pave the pedpath. Glassphalt doesn’t raise the ambient light level, and it doesn’t shield us from oncoming cars’ headlights, but (if you’re not a ninja) your own headlight will reflect from the glassphalt — particularly helpful on Cherry Walk’s curves; also on the 181st St – Dyckman St segment farther north.

    Another chronic problem with the 63rd St – 70th St segment: though the ramp connecting the park pedpath to Trumpistan at 68th St and Riverside Blvd is on the NYC bike map as a bicycle path, it remains signed “Bicyclists Must Dismount”.

  • Anonymous

    Safety Patrol, I’m glad you spotted that too.  My safety as a biker isn’t even important on the friggin’ bike path?!?

  • What’s needed for the Cherry Walk is a series of *creative* solutions.  A few have already been mentioned in this comment thread.  Instead of saying “can’t,” ask “how can we?”  The big stop I’m always hearing is the lack of funding.  Well, the highways have “Adopt a Highway” programs.  Why not an “Adopt The Greenway” program — businesses (like bike shops, messenger services, business that have large numbers of commuters, or any business for that matter); rich benefactors; publications; et al. could “own” swaths of Cherry Hill and contribute towards improvement, safety and maintenance.  
    There could also be a Kickstarter project to raise funds.   In addition to the terrific ideas of solar lights, glasphalt, etc. mentioned earlier, light-sensitive reflectors similar to those seen on roads could be installed into the pavement.  Groups of volunteers could paint reflective striping onto the roadway.  I’ve been part of crews that have painted iron fencing in Riverside Park.  Also, it does not have to be done as one segment, does it?  Tackle the most dangerous parts as funding becomes available.


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