Cyclists Jockey With Traffic in NYC’s Annual Fleet Week Greenway Debacle

Photo: @Fresh_Kermit
Photo: @Fresh_Kermit

As expected, the city has severed the Hudson River Greenway as a bike transportation route for Fleet Week.

The greenway is the perhaps the most heavily traveled bikeway in the United States. Yet unceremonious disruptions have become an annual tradition during Fleet Week.

Rather than temporarily claiming a lane from motor vehicles on 12th Avenue in the 40s, the agencies responsible for greenway have again set up a dismount zone. Many people are opting to ride on 12th Avenue instead of walking their bikes.

On Thursday evening, @Fresh_Kermit posted these photos of people on bikes mixing it up with motor vehicle traffic:

Greenway managers can’t even be bothered to notify the public ahead of time. We found no announcements of any kind from the Hudson River Park Trust, the Parks Department, or NYPD warning about the closure.

When we reached out to Parks concerning Fleet Week plans earlier this week, staff referred us to the Hudson River Park Trust, which manages the greenway below 59th Street. We asked HRPT earlier today for details on the current greenway interruption, but have yet to receive a response.

It makes sense to divert bike traffic to make way for Fleet Week crowds, but sending people on bikes out into 12th Avenue traffic just trades one hazard for another. And at one point the city had this figured out.

In 2003 NYPD set up barricades to reserve the westernmost lane of 12th Avenue, between 43rd and 48th streets, for biking and walking during Fleet Week. There are a lot more people biking in NYC now than there were 15 years ago, but year after year the city fails to accommodate greenway users during an event that everyone knows is coming.

  • Reader

    Do we have a mayor? Hard to tell.

  • NYCyclist

    Parks Officers Issuing $250 Tickets to Greenway Cyclists Amid Fleet Week Activities 🙁

  • Simon Phearson

    So it seems like they did prepare for the Fleet Week shutdown. They brushed up on the citations they could issue.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Today it had dismount signs only facing north (viewable if you are going south). They were being ignored by everyone in the morning and most people in the afternoon, and the yellow-vested guy by the Intrepid crossing who was telling us the path was closed yesterday said nothing today. It mostly wasn’t that busy and other than watching out for a few wandering tourists the separation of cycling and walking was fine.

    I suspect that this kind of inconsistent riding experience (will my route be open? will it be closed? will there be a construction blockage? parking blockage? steel plate sticking up? flooded? plowed? snowy? icy?) is a big part of why cycling growth seems to have slowed dramatically in the past few years.

  • Eli

    Even in 2005, the summer ridership on this trail exceeded that of the current ferry system.

    I wonder if they would also tell ferry passengers to just swim 12 blocks for a week?

  • Guest

    Now that we have a nightlife mayor, it’s time for a bike mayor!

  • Knut Torkelson

    There is a mayor- he’s just not for us (unless you happen to be a real estate developer or major donor)

  • Commuter

    Hudson River Trust mall police could of sent out some kind of PSA. It’s ridiculous to ticket cyclist on their way to work. Even worse is there was no notification and just look at there bloated board and staff. More reason NOT to give to the friends of this park if this is the way they treat commuters.


Happy Bike Month! Cyclists Must Dismount on Greenway, No One Knows Why

3/3 Closing essential, safe #bikenyc infrastructure midday NOT an option anymore, @HudsonRiverPark. #visionzero — Joanna Oltman Smith (@jooltman) May 26, 2016 Update: The Parks Department sent us this statement Thursday evening: “Ensuring the safety of all during the holiday weekend, in preparation of increased pedestrian traffic during Fleet Week, NYC Parks has posted signs […]