The greenway is bursting at the seams during warmer months and needs to be widened to handle the peak volume of bike and pedestrian traffic it carries.
By Laura Shepard
Jun 22, 2018
… The multitude of different conveyances on the greenway no longer fit comfortably within its current dimensions. Cyclists, runners, skateboarders, kids on scooters, and people on e-bikes travel at varying speeds.
Baby carriages strike me as the mode of conveyance that ought to rank first in terms of need for safety and deference. Our culture, though, is strangely oblivious to prioritizing the needs of mothers pushing baby carriages. For example, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act defined the disabled (e.g., the handful of people who need wheelchairs) as having a legal right to have constructed ramps and the like to get around staircases and curbs, which turned out to be very useful to the more numerous category of people pushing baby carriages (not to mention their babies).
But there is something weird about how our culture only did something for mothers pushing baby carriages as an unplanned-for byproduct of a different group, The Disabled, getting themselves defined as an Identity Politics group with special rights.
The greenway isn’t designed to handle all of them, and some people on the greenway feel intimidated by the faster e-bikes, said Graeme Birchall, president of the Downtown Boathouse on Pier 26 in Tribeca, which offers free public kayaking to 30,000 people every year.
“It’s driving some people off the bike path. I get complaints from people with children, I get complaints from seniors, I have a lot of volunteers who are female, who just will not ride on the bike path,” he said.
The board responded by including language in its resolution about the “lack of enforcement to mitigate dangerous riding behavior” and calling for rumble strips that create vibrations at higher speeds, setting a speed limit, installing signage to direct traffic movement in a safe and orderly manner, and addressing other ways to enforce safe speeds and courteous behavior on the greenway.
So I’m not the only person who has noticed that cyclists and pedestrians aren’t necessarily natural allies forever and ever.
The politics of this in New York are kind of like Democratic Party orthodoxy: the Establishment is united in agreeing that cars / white males are the problem and must surrender much of their turf to the united non-cars / non-white males. But the non-cars / non-white males don’t all have the same interests either other than in taking from the cars / white males. Indeed, it turns out that the few bicyclists / elites tend to get more from taking from cars / white males than do the pedestrians / masses of Democratic Party voters.