Eyes on the Street: Lights Are Finally Coming to the Hudson Greenway “Cherry Walk”

At night, cyclists are blinded by oncoming car traffic on the Henry Hudson Parkway along this notoriously poorly-lit 23-block greenway segment.

Survey respondents said they'd like an alternative on Riverside Drive to the Hudson River Greenway bike path for cyclists and pedestrians (pictured). Photo: Ken Coughlin
Survey respondents said they'd like an alternative on Riverside Drive to the Hudson River Greenway bike path for cyclists and pedestrians (pictured). Photo: Ken Coughlin

If you ride the Hudson River Greenway at night, these orange cones are a sight for sore eyes. They are sitting on top of the bases for new lighting fixtures along the 23-block greenway segment known as the Cherry Walk, where cyclists currently have to contend with poor visibility at night.

The Cherry Walk spans the area roughly between 102nd Street and 125th Street. Not only is it dark, but in the absence of lighting, oncoming car traffic can blind cyclists, making topography and any obstacles along the path difficult to discern. Streetsblog first wrote about the poor visibility on the Cherry Walk more than a decade ago.

Upper West Side resident Ken Coughlin, who co-chairs the Manhattan Community Board 7 parks committee, has been advocating to improve conditions on this segment of the greenway for years, along with co-chair Klari Neuwelt. He sent the above photo of the first visible signs that better lighting is on the way. While the greenway is managed by the Parks Department, the lights are being installed by DOT, says Coughlin.

Without lighting on the Cherry Walk, oncoming traffic blinds cyclists heading uptown at night. Photo: Lars Klove
Without lighting on the Cherry Walk, oncoming traffic blinds cyclists heading uptown at night. Photo: Lars Klove

Greenway users flagged this problem years ago, but progress has been slow, in part because this section of the greenway was not initially built with connections to the electrical grid. The cost of adding electrical hook-ups and lighting fixtures will be $1.2 million, DOT told Coughlin.

The new fixtures will be “Riverside Park luminaires,” which do not focus light directly at the ground. The installation so far only runs a third of a mile, but Coughlin said he expects the new lights to extend the length of the Cherry Walk.

Repaving the rutted asphalt on the Cherry Walk is a separate project and remains unfunded. The Parks Department has pegged the cost at $5 million, said Coughlin.

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