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Battery Park City Bans Bicycling on Esplanade By North Cove Marina

12:29 PM EDT on August 17, 2016

A cyclist gets back on her bike after dismounting at the North Marina Cove plaza. Photo: David Meyer
A cyclist gets back on her bike after dismounting at the North Marina Cove. Photo: David Meyer

The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), the state agency that manages the Lower Manhattan neighborhood, has posted "cyclist dismount" signs around the North Cove Marina plaza, a key connection along the waterfront.

BPCA Chief of Staff Kevin McCabe told Streetsblog that the new policy is a "proactive pedestrian safety measure" and not a response to any specific incident.

In a June 30 press release, the authority announced the dismount zone as well as a working group "to solicit feedback and develop recommendations for bicycle usage on the Battery Park City Esplanade" [PDF].

“We look forward to engaging the community to review bicycle usage on the Esplanade, and developing recommendations for the most balanced, effective use of this incredible public space," BPCA president and CEO Shari C. Hyman said in the press release.

The bicycle working group will include members of Manhattan Community Board 1's Battery Park City committee, but not much else is known about how it will be composed. Advocates at Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York said BPCA has yet to reach out to them.

Bike New York CEO Ken Podziba told Streetsblog that the dismount signs are "inappropriate" at the location. “I believe a more reasonable solution would be to have signage instructing cyclists to slow down by the marina," Podziba said.

BPCA defended the cycling ban on the plaza, saying people should bike on the Hudson River Greenway along West Street instead. That section of greenway, by Brookfield Place, had been off limits because of construction from 2007 to 2015. Cyclists were detoured to the esplanade plaza until the greenway reopened last November.

“With a viable alternative for bicycle traffic now available the full length of BPC along Route 9A, it makes sense to be having a larger conversation with the community about bicycles on the Esplanade," McCabe said.

Cycling has not been banned along the rest of the Battery Park City waterfront, which, like the plaza, parallels the Hudson River Greenway. Along the esplanade, cyclists, skateboarders, and runners must stay on the park's lower pathway, while the upper pathway is reserved for pedestrians.

McCabe said the working group will get started in the fall, once CB 1 has reconvened from its summer recess, aiming to make recommendations for the following spring. "We are committed to engaging and gathering broad-based public input to help inform the decisions we make about bicycles on the BPC Esplanade," he said.

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