Heads Up! State DOT Promises Safe Detour For Hudson River Greenway Construction

State officials say they will provide a temporary protected bike lane on West Street while construction occurs on the Hudson River Greenway at night this week. Photo: Craig Sachs
State officials say they will provide a temporary protected bike lane on West Street while construction occurs on the Hudson River Greenway at night this week. Photo: Craig Sachs

Glad we asked!

Cyclists using the Hudson River Greenway early Friday morning were dismayed to see signs that read “Detour” and “Bike Lane Closed Ahead” going up around Pier 57 between 14th and 16th streets, an ongoing construction site. The signs scared bikeway users, as they indicated another possible debacle on the important bike lane.

Turns out, the bike lane won’t be technically closed at all — cyclists will get a protected bike lane detour in the westernmost southbound lane of West Street, aka Route 9A, during the hours of construction — 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. between Monday and Thursday, state DOT spokesman Glenn Blain told Streetsblog.

It’s unclear if the state decided to provide the detour only after we started asking questions about the mysterious orange signs started popping up on the busiest bike lane in North America — signs that gave no indication how long the bike lane would be “closed ahead.”

If the detour is provided as promised — call us, #BikeNYC if it isn’t! — it would be the first time in recent memory that state officials started realizing that West Street sometimes carries more cyclists than cars. Only last year, a state DOT official said the agency was “uncomfortable” with the idea of repurposing a lane of the former West Side Highway to accommodate cyclists — and that was before this year’s bike boom.

And, of course, it isn’t the first time that the Hudson River Greenway — one of the city’s essential bike corridors. Last year, the Parks Department shuttered a stretch of the greenway called the Cherry Walk on the Upper West Side for weeks and gave the public virtually no information.

And in 2018, the agency (and the DOT) did the same thing when needing to repair a key bridge further up the greenway. The city provided so little information that members of the public had to rally just to get the bridge promptly repaired.

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The Hudson River Greenway is the most heavily used bike path in the United States, carrying roughly one-seventh of all cyclists entering Manhattan below 50th Street. In Upper Manhattan, where there are fewer bike lanes and much less on-street protection for cyclists than further south, it is truly the backbone of the bike network. Despite […]