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Helen Rosenthal Calls for Two-Way Protected Bike Lane on Central Park West

Potential Central Park West bikeway design by @BrandonWC

City Council Member Helen Rosenthal is calling on the city to install a two-way protected bike lane on Central Park West after a garbage truck driver struck and killed 23-year-old Australian tourist Madison Lyden.

“Madison Jane Lyden’s death is a profound tragedy, even more so because it was preventable,” Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side, wrote on Twitter. “In many areas of our city, painted bike lanes are simply not enough to protect cyclists. We need a two-way protected bike lane on Central Park West. This should never happen again.”

Lyden was hit near 66th Street when she was forced out of the northbound painted bike lane to avoid a livery driver who cut in front of her. The garbage truck driver, 44-year-old Felipe Chairez, was charged with an infraction for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. The livery car operator was not charged or ticketed.

The unprotected bike lane on Central Park West at 66th Street, via Google Maps
The unprotected bike lane on Central Park West at 66th Street, via Google Maps
The unprotected bike lane on Central Park West at 66th Street, via Google Maps

Parks are prime locations for protected bike lanes. The city's green spaces are biking destinations, and curbs that border parks tend to be interrupted by relatively few intersections. In recent years, DOT has laid down two-way protected bike lanes along Prospect Park West, Astoria Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and Alley Pond Park, among other locations.

Central Park West's single northbound painted lane is the only space allocated to bikes on streets that border the city's premier park. If Lyden had had a proper bikeway to ride on, she likely would not have been killed.

In response to Rosenthal's tweet, Brooklyn bike advocate Brandon Chamberlin shared a potential design. Chamberlin suggested converting the street from two motor vehicle through-lanes in either direction to one, with left turn bays and concrete along the median.

DOT took swift action after Dorothy Bruns killed two children and injured their mothers and a fifth victim in Brooklyn last March, announcing plans to redesign Ninth Street days after the collision. A DOT spokesperson told Streetsblog the agency is "studying the area" where Lyden was killed "for potential enhancements."

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