Mayor: ‘Yeah, I Really Should Ask the NYPD Why it Seals Off Streets for No Good Reason’

A phalanx of NYPD at Columbus Circle. Photo: Austin Jain-Conti
A phalanx of NYPD at Columbus Circle. Photo: Austin Jain-Conti

Mayor de Blasio says he’ll ask police officials — who work for him — why they are continuing to seal off Central Park West despite no indication of violence or specific threats against a Trump-branded hotel on Columbus Circle.

Responding to a question from Streetsblog about the NYPD’s unannounced decision to bar motorists and cyclists from Central Park West, the mayor suggested that he was not fully up-to-date on the NYPD’s plans, which force residents and working cyclists off the new Central Park West protected bike lane and onto a detour to Broadway, which is far more dangerous.

Here’s the full back and forth:

Streetsblog: The Department of Transportation spent considerable effort and time and money to build the Central Park West protected bike lane, which is providing safety for delivery workers and residents. So why have you allowed the NYPD to seal off Central Park West at Columbus Circle to motorists and cyclists, forcing delivery workers on a detour onto dangerous Broadway?

Mayor de Blasio: Let me look at that situation. I will speak with NYPD about it. Obviously, in the days after the election there was an assumption that that exact site would be a focal point for protests and we had to prepare for it. I think things have turned out differently and better in terms of there not being a prolonged problem. That’s something we should assess right away. I’ll have that conversation today with the NYPD.

The NYPD’s security call has been roundly assailed by experts and advocates. Former DOT official Jon Orcutt called the decision “ham-fisted and divorced from public service and actual public safety.” (The NYPD did not immediately respond to our first email at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, but we will give more time before concluding if the agency will or will not comment. The DOT has declined to comment.)

Others vented their outrage on Twitter:

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