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NYPD Forced Cyclists Off Greenway and Onto West Side Highway at Rush Hour

12:58 PM EDT on September 8, 2016

Forced off the greenway, these brave cyclists took to the West Side Highway. Photo: David Meyer
NYPD diverted cyclists off the Hudson River Greenway yesterday, so people biked in car traffic on the adjacent West Side Highway, which remained open. Photo: David Meyer
Forced off the greenway, these brave cyclists took to the West Side Highway. Photo: David Meyer

For four and a half hours last night, NYPD shut off bike access to the Hudson River Greenway between 44th Street and 55th Street, a major bike transportation artery used by several thousand people each day.

The greenway closure was billed as a "safety/security measure" for the televised Clinton/Trump Q & A with Matt Lauer held on the USS Intrepid. But there was no NYPD detour imposed on motorists using the adjacent West Side Highway, where people remained free to pilot large vehicles with substantial carrying capacity at high speeds.

Large numbers of cyclists returning home for the evening commute chose to bike on the West Side Highway for those 11 blocks. In the name of safety and security, NYPD created a more dangerous traffic condition, depriving cyclists of the protection of the greenway.

IMG_0688
Riders lining up to exit the greenway at 44th Street last night. Photo: Mark Gorton

Dismount signs and fences were posted at the 44th Street crossing where police officers blocked the greenway. Officers were also stationed along metal barricades lining the sidewalk on the east side of the road. A traffic control agent at the 44th Street intersection was on hand, but to direct southbound drivers turning left -- not to assist cyclists (who either continued along the West Side Highway in car traffic, took to the sidewalks, or headed east along 44th Street).

Had an equivalent number of motorists been inconvenienced by the event on the Intrepid, there would have at least been some official alert from public officials, if not blanket coverage on the 5 o'clock news. The only alert we could find was a tweet posted by the Hudson River Park Trust the day before the closure.

Biking on the West Side Highway sidewalk at 46th Street. Photo: David Meyer
Pedestrians and cyclists share a cramped West Side Highway sidewalk at 46th Street. Photo: David Meyer
Next up? Maybe a wider bike lane and more space for pedestrians along the West Side Highway? Photo: David Meyer

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