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Central Park West protected bike lane is a go with community board approval

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The northbound protected bike path will put a barrier between cyclists and traffic

Central Park West.
Max Touhey

Central Park West will officially get a new, protected bike lane, nearly a year after a cyclist was killed by a garbage truck on the thoroughfare last summer.

West Side Rag reports that Community Board 7 voted to approve the protected path during “the rudest meeting I have ever presided over,” according to the CB’s chairperson. Street safety advocates and community members have been pushing for the new bike lane—which will replace the existing, barrier-free one—since Madison Jane Lyden was killed in a crash last August. Some neighborhood residents have protested the necessary elimination of 400 parking spaces near the park to install the bike lane.

But a spate of cyclist deaths—three have been killed in the past 10 days—has underscored the urgency of putting more protections in place for the city’s bikers. The number of cyclists killed this year has already climbed over the total number of fatalities in 2018.

The northbound pathway, running from 59th Street to 110th Street, will be implemented next to Central Park with a physical, seven-foot buffer separating bikers on the path from traffic. Community members had originally requested a two-way path, which DOT concluded would be too challenging to roll out. A number of traffic-calming measures will also go into effect along the thoroughfare.

“Although we remain committed to an eventual southbound protected bike lane being installed along the corridor when congestion pricing is implemented in 2021, it is important to get to work immediately to reduce the dangers cyclists face right now,” Thomas DeVito, the senior director of advocacy for Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement.

A spokesperson for DOT says the agency hopes to begin construction on the new pathway this summer, with construction starting at the south end of the roadway and proceeding north.