DOT’S CPW PBL is OTW (LOL?)

Delayed for months, Department of Transportation reps will apparently head to Community Board 7 in June.

Madison Lyden's ghost bike, commemorating where she was killed by a driver in 2018. Photo: David Meyer
Madison Lyden's ghost bike, commemorating where she was killed by a driver in 2018. Photo: David Meyer

It only took an internationally covered cyclist death — and months of delay — but the city says it is finally ready to present a protected bike lane for Central Park West, Streetsblog has learned.

The Department of Transportation says its reps will head to Community Board 7’s transportation committee’s June meeting to present a protected bike lane plan for the roadway where Madison Lyden was killed on Aug. 10, 2018. The agency said previously it would present something in January, which became May and now, apparently, is June.

It is unclear what kind of bike lane will be presented. DOT declined to comment.

The issue is not controversial. One month after Lyden’s death, the CB7 panel passed a resolution pushed by Council Member Helen Rosenthal calling for a protected bike lane along the city’s celebrated park and tourist site — a similar design as the one that Prospect Park area residents have enjoyed for almost a decade. The attraction of the park partly led to Lyden’s death; the Australian tourist was cycling in the area as part of her once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York when a taxi driver pulled in front of her and blocked the painted bike lane, sending her into traffic, where a drunk truck driver killed her, police say.

(Or maybe it is controversial: In Upper Manhattan, a pedestrian was killed earlier this year on Amsterdam Avenue — and days later, the local community board reiterated its opposition to a city plan to calm traffic there that had been stalled for two years.)

On Central Park West, DOT had balked at previous requests from CB7 for a protected bike lane, no doubt knowing that a small, but vocal, minority of car owners would object if any on-street car storage is removed. With Lyden’s death, however, the agency moved forward with safety improvements.

In the months since Lyden’s death, there have been 321 crashes on Central Park West, resulting in injuries to 24 cyclists, 13 pedestrians and 29 motorists. That’s more than one crash per day on a short stretch of a neighborhood that should be an idyll.

Transportation Committee Co-Chairman Howard Yaruss remains frustrated at how long it has taken the city to draft a plan.

“They have no credibility on this, none,” he told Streetsblog. “They said to my face they’d show me a plan in January. They have been putting this off and putting this off, so them saying June doesn’t mean anything. They never give a reason why they are delayed. They’re playing games.”

Yaruss has long been critical of the city for seeming to wait for a death before it takes action to make a roadway safer. Indeed, CB7 had sought a protected bike lane years before Lyden was run down.

“It would’ve saved this woman’s life,” Yaruss told Streetsblog last year. “It’s been over two years since I first raised it. They [DOT] haven’t looked at it.”

Updated: An earlier version of this story suggested that DOT will present a two-way protected bike lane plan. That is not clear.

  • June means maybe this will get final approval by November, just in time for the painting season to end, so they have to wait until next April. Shameful.

  • Vooch

    “…In the months since Lyden’s death, there have been 321 crashes on
    Central Park West, resulting in injuries to 24 cyclists, 13 pedestrians
    and 29 motorists. That’s more than one crash per day on a short stretch
    of a neighborhood that should be an idyll….”

    I’m thinking we should ban these dockless motor vehicles from CPW until its proven they are safe.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “One month after Lyden’s death, the CB7 panel passed a resolution pushed by Council Member Helen Rosenthal calling for a protected bike lane along the city’s celebrated park and tourist site — a similar design as the one that Prospect Park area residents have enjoyed for almost a decade.”

    Ahh yes, the Prospect Park West bike lane. Let us recall that was endorsed by the Community Board AND the City Council member too. But then public advocate Bill DeBlasio pandered to the entitled by saying Bloomberg had rammed it down “the community’s” throat without enough community review.

    And what did then Borough President — ahhh, what was his name Markowitz, right — have to say about it? The bike lane was an “insult to Brooklyn,” taking its “Grand Boulevard” and turning into something less. He specifically said the city would never even think! of doing something like than on a prestigious street such as Central Park West! That’s for people who take limos, not bicycles!

    Can someone see if you can get a quote out of this guy? Didn’t you say…

  • Daphna

    The city needs to COMPLETELY change parking policy. Change needed: car owners must have off-street parking (lot, garage, driveway, etc.) Meter most all NYC street daytimes. No overnight curbside parking allowed. This will be a massive change and is needed. Curbside space should never have been used for long term car storage. Curbside space should be for deliveries, loading/unloading, commercial vehicle parking, and other short term use such as retail customer, business patrons, etc NYC pretends that this is what curbside parking is for, and pretend that this is what they are fighting for when trying to preserve parking, but that’s false, as what parking preservationists are really fighting for is to preserve the free on-street long term car storage, not for any kind of parking that actually promotes spot turnover.

    Once free car storage at the curb is taken out of the equation, and car owners are required to have off-street parking, NYC can really begin to transform it’s streets. As an example, there should be NO parking on the park side of any street citywide.

  • qrt145

    Thanks for trip down memory bike lane! 🙂

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Kind of dreading seeing the final reveal on this one.

  • Joe R.

    Right. Either ban free curbside car storage, or let non car owners use that space also by allowing them to put storage containers there. My guess is if storage containers were competing for curbside space with cars the storage containers would win. A lot of people in NYC with tiny apartments would welcome the extra storage space.

  • qrt145

    I bet it will require users to cross three times per intersection, kind of like the Columbus Circle bike lane! 🙂

  • cjstephens

    One correction: we need to _return_ to requiring off street parking, which was required not so long ago.

  • FivePoint

    There’s a bike lane around Columbus Circle? I never realized, lol

  • qrt145

    I haven’t been there in a while so I don’t know if this plan got implemented: https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2018/06/21/safer-bikeways-slated-for-columbus-circle-and-amsterdam-avenue/

    The design requires cyclists to cross in to get to the bike lane, and then cross out to get anywhere.

  • FivePoint

    This definitely hasn’t been implemented yet. It’s not a great design, but definitely better than the nothing that exists today!

  • Daphna

    The NYPD are always parks (night and day) where the sharrows indicate bikes should ride of the NE section of Columbus Circle.

    There are also two dedicated bus lanes on the west side of Columbus Circle that both are entirely filled daytimes with waiting taxis. It is an incredibly poor design that does not take the reality of the situation into account. Yet, when the thermoplast wears off, the DOT re-stripes those bus lanes as if they are in some way functional actual bus lanes.

  • crazytrainmatt

    Why just CPW? 59th, 110th, and Morningside and St Nicks up to the 140s should all be boilerplate copies of PPW and Van Cortlandt lanes.

    Add 6th ave down to the upcoming PBLs on 52/55 and some crosstown connections from the park to the river greenways, and you would have a network of protected uptown routes with rare turn conflicts.

  • Joe R.

    I remember the first time I read about all the controversy regarding the PPW bike lane, I thought it was something like 10 miles long. Then I found out it was 0.9 miles. All this over what barely qualifies as a connector? It just shows how resistant to change some people are.

  • Rider

    Time for DOT to take a page from NYPD’s counterterror tactics. Just roll out some Jersey barriers and concrete cubes the next time the parking spots are cleared for alternate side parking and voila, instant bike lane. If it’s good enough for pedestrians in Midtown, why not bikes on CPW?

  • WTF

  • HamTech87

    The street side of the curb could also be where garbage is left for pickup.

  • Ground Control

    The city thinks it can be all things to all people without consideration of what that means. I have almost been run over twice by cyclists going at high speeds who don’t stop or even slow down when you are crossing the street with the light. How does this work? The crosswalk enters the bike lane before you get to the other side of the street. Does a pedestrian have the right to cross in a crosswalk with the light without being run down by a cyclist clocking 25 mph barreling through the light? That said if bike lanes cannot be made safe for cyclists and pedestrians they need to be redesigned.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG