Tonight: Testify Before CB 7 Votes on Riverside Park Greenway Detour

79th_rotunda
This elevation map gives a sense of the inclines cyclists would contend with on the detour by the 79th Street Rotunda, instead of the flat waterfront path. Image: NYC Parks Department

A late addition to the calendar: Manhattan Community Board 7 will vote on the Parks Department’s proposal to route cyclists away from the waterfront greenway between 72nd Street and 83rd Street. If you want to preserve access to the flatter, straighter, better-lit waterfront path during the majority of the year when crowding is not an issue, tonight is the time to testify.

The Parks Department wants to direct cyclists inland onto a hilly, wooded path that passes through the 79th Street Rotunda, which has a particularly steep incline and is frequently occupied by cars and trucks attempting to access the nearby boat basin. Last month, CB 7’s Parks and Environment Committee voted 4 to 1 in favor of the plan, but a strong turnout tonight could influence the final vote by the whole community board.

At last month’s meeting, some attendees asked for the detour to be limited to crowded warm-weather months when pedestrians and cyclists can’t fit comfortably on the waterfront path. They were especially concerned about icy pavement on steep inclines along the detour in cold weather. But the Parks Department was adamant about a year-round re-route.

The Parks Department has consistently failed to recognize the greenway’s important role in the city’s transportation network. It’s the most-biked route in the city and the West Side’s only north-south bike route with continuous protection from motor vehicles.

While it’s uncommon for a full board to overturn a committee vote, it can happen when many people turn out to testify. Tonight’s meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Mount Sinai West Hospital, at 10th Avenue and West 59th Street.

The Parks Department wants to permanently divert cyclists from the flat waterfront greenway to the hillier path marked by the bold dotted green line. Image: NYC Parks
The Parks Department wants to permanently divert cyclists from the flat waterfront greenway to a hillier path marked by the bold dotted green line. Image: NYC Parks

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