State Must Remove Dangerous New Barriers on Greenway, Install Proper Security Measures


New York, New York - Transportation Alternatives released the following statement today from Executive Director Paul Steely White regarding yesterday’s haphazard placement of concrete barriers across the Hudson River Greenway.

Statement from Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives:

“The installation of dangerous concrete barriers across the Hudson River Greenway bike and pedestrian paths is an ill-advised and unacceptable solution to a critical security problem. New Yorkers are particularly anxious about biking right now, and the city should be actively encouraging more people to ride, now more than ever. Instead, by installing these brutal barriers, Governor Cuomo is creating another safety hazard and actively discouraging bikers, walkers, and commuters from using one of the country's vibrant public spaces. The 20 foot linear jersey barriers installed across the greenway by the Governor’s State DOT are particularly dangerous, as they are channeling two-way bike traffic into one lane, effectively putting north and southbound cyclists on a collision course.

The Hudson River Greenway is the busiest pedestrian and bike path in North America -- it is used and beloved by hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers every year, and the city and state's current ‘solutions’ fail them in spectacular fashion. We need to protect our public spaces without making them uninviting and difficult to use.  

Focus group and survey findings from our upcoming BikeNYC 2020 report conclusively show that cyclists avoid streets that are inhospitable to them, or that reinforce the suspicion that biking is dangerous. And so when the city fills bike lanes with enormous concrete barriers, further limiting what precious little dedicated bike space is available in the city, they aren't just making commutes for thousands of New Yorkers slower and more dangerous -- they're actively reinforcing the false idea that New Yorkers should be scared to bike right now. This is a sad stance for our elected leaders to take this week.

‘Temporary’, as these barriers are purported to be, might as well be ‘forever’ in New York bureaucratic parlance. The city needs to publicly establish a hard timetable for removal of these barriers and implementation of more thoughtful solutions that maintain the safety and integrity of the greenway.

There are smart policies the city can instead implement right now -- like bollards -- that will largely and inexpensively eliminate the risk of traffic violence, without prioritizing fear over health and well-being. Until bollards can be installed, we insist that the State and the City refine the placement of their concrete blocks so that the integrity of the busiest bike path in the country can be maintained.

New York won't be cowed by traffic violence -- and we will show that at a rally on World Day of Remembrance, Sunday, November 19th. Until then, we call on the city to redouble their commitment to the Vision Zero campaign, and smart infrastructure improvements city-wide.”

Transportation Alternatives is also announcing the launch of a petition, calling on the City and State to immediately remove these concrete barriers, and instead install permanent, precisely placed bollards on high volume bike and pedestrian paths citywide. In October, U.S. Representatives Dan Donovan and Adriano Espaillat introduced the Stopping Threats on Pedestrians (STOP) Act - federal legislation to fund these bollards and other smart tools to reduce traffic violence - in the House of Representatives. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has introduced a Senate version.