Volume 21, Number 51 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 1 - 7, 2009
Downtown Express photos by Jefferson Siegel
A cyclist on the new temporary bikeway near the Goldman Sachs tower under construction, left. At right, cyclists continue to ride through the Goldman scaffolding tunnel despite signs calling on them to dismount.
West St. bikeway begins to reopen
A half-mile stretch of the West. St. bikeway has technically been closed in Battery Park City, but this week much of the area officially reopened to riders. Almost since the restrictions began in the fall of 2007, pedestrians have been arguing with cyclists who routinely ignore the dismount signs,.
The State Dept. of Transportation is building a temporary bikeway on Route 9A which will be open for six weeks. Portions of the temporary area between Chambers and Murray Sts. opened on Wednesday and provides bikers with a separate area to ride. Adam Levine, a D.O.T. spokesperson, said after about six weeks of construction, the permanent bikeway should be ready to reopen between Chambers and Murray.
The Goldman Sachs headquarters tower is under construction just south of Murray, and the scaffolding tunnel near the site will remain closed to pedestrians, Levine said. But on Wednesday, cyclists were pedaling through the narrow area.
“Nobody gets off their bikes,” B.P.C. resident Marie O’Neill said as a cyclist sped within inches of her and her son. “They completely disregard the signs. It’s dangerous. It’s seven days a week that bikes are plowing through here.”
“I don’t think that they look at the signs,” said O’Neill’s son, Arthur Perry, 9. “They don’t pay attention to other people. They just care about where they’re going and about themselves. I think it’s dangerous and rude to the other walkers.”
There have been few complaints about the restrictions in the cycling community, in all likelihood because there has been little effort to enforce the rules with tickets. The Goldman tower is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year, which could mean the main source of the conflict will be over in a few months.
Levine said the wider area just south of the tunnel is now open to bikers since there are separated barriers for pedestrians and bikers near the World Financial Center.
Those barriers have been there for quite some time, yet D.O.T. had maintained that this area from Albany to Vesey Sts. was closed to cyclists. There was still at least one dismount sign south of the tunnel on Wednesday, but it was ignored like the others.
— Josh Rogers
with Jefferson Siegel