Dangerous Intersections

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Anonymous's picture

Does anybody know who to contact in the City or State about dangerous intersections?

I had a mis-hap at the intersection of the West Street Bike Path and the 23rd Street entrance to the Chelsea Piers. A taxi entering the Piers cut me off. I ended up breaking my arm.

The taxi and I did not see each other until we were on top of each other. This incident occurred in February.

Just last week almost the same exact thing happened again. This time no broken bones.

Is there an agency that handles road planning that I could contact so they could fix this problem?

I love riding the Bike Path. I'd just like it to be a little safer.

Let me know if you have any ideas on this.

Many thanks,
Brad Ensminger

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Start with Transportation Alternatives


This kind of thing is exactly what they are about.

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)
This situation is known...

This situation is known by TA. When cyclists have a green light cars coming off the southbound West Street Expressway can make an unexpected righthand turn at high speed, crossing the bike path and nailing the unsuspecting cyclist, rollerblader or runner. This is unacceptable yet it persits. Perhaps a lawsuit by you against the city might get the ball rolling. As much as I detest suing the city, it might save life and limb. If the planners had moved the bike path over enough to put a right hand turn lane that is controlled with an arrow we might have a safer route.

Anonymous's picture
City Employee (not verified)

If you are interested in contacting the City directly, I would suggest getting in touch with the Dept. of Transportation (DOT). The Commissioner of DOT is Iris Weinshall. Her number is 212-676-0868. Within DOT, you might try contacting the Division of Traffic Operations. The Deputy Commissioner for the Division is Michael Primeggia - 718-433-3370. There is an Office of Bicycle Programs reporting to the Assistant Commissioner for Planning, Peter Pennica - 212-676-1684. If none of these names and numbers work out, I would also suggest calling 311 (the hotline for City services). They might have a sense of who else to contact in the City.

All of the above information is taken from the 2002-03 Green Book (the official directory of the City of New York).

In the defense of the City, I would add that while there are certainly problems with the Hudson River Bike Path (I know, it's my daily commute), the City has made tremendous strides in terms of creating a safe path for cyclists. One only needs to contrast this with the situation on the East River to see what a blessing this path is. One might argue that the problem lies as much with the unsafe driving of NYC cabbies as with the bike path itself. That said, I definitely support your desires to make constructive suggestions to improve the safety of this path. Thanks for your efforts!

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

As a user of the West Side Bike Path, I beg to differ. If the path is mostly safe the user gets lulled into a feeling of safety while in fact they might hit an iceberg. The fact the cyclists have a green light at an intersection while cars have a green light at the same intersection at the same time, and cars take the turn coming at highway speeds is anything but safe. The DOT can put up as many stop signs for cyclists at the intersection as they please but it doesn't make it any safer. Even if a cyclist was to stop they still could get clobbered by a car before they got through the intersection. Not to mention that the danger is coming from a direction which is not intuitive to the bike path user. Will the city just wait for a death or lawsuit to correct the problem?

Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Agreed. Good path, needs improvement

"It is a very nice bike path and one to be thankful for. On the other hand, some issues immediately come to mind for me...

""cars take the turn coming at highway speeds is anything but safe""

That section of the roadway - the speed limit is 35 mph. Technically it is not a highway. Semantics aside, rhetorical question: when was the last time speed limits were enforced on that roadway? Maybe if the state gave a cut back to the city with speeding tickets, this stretch would become a good ""revenue"" opportunity. ;-)

On the other hand, I have seen cops ticket or reprimand (mostly) cabbies who were driving down the bike path! This is the stretch just below the intrepid. On many occassions, such has not been the case. That's correct - cops can't be everywhere.

I know cycling is inherently risky, but I don't want to go by way of a head on collision w/ a moto on a bike path. Perhaps the drivers are being very inconsiderate or selfish, or just plainly get confused (yeah right) about it being a bike path. Assuming the better of them, perhaps it is an issue with signs or not knowing better like when waiting for the light to turn green on the bike/ped path...see next item

Many stop signs for cyclists.

Why do they exist? They are very uninituitive, i.e. why should one be expected to stop and yield to traffic crossing my path. That's counter to the right-of-way. Mind you it is also a pedestrian path. I don't recall ever seeing stop signs on sidewalks when approaching a driveway entrance. Also, the stop signs at the narrow ~14th st crossing are a potentially dangerous impediment , too.

Couple the stop signs for cyclists with a lack of abundance of signs, rumble strips, special markings/painted lines for motorists. Sure some exist, but in light of what Hank has demonstrated, not enough.

One positive example is this...
Across from Houston St, where the FedEx delivery trucks are stationed, the city has actually raised the street crossing and used cobblestones to make the crossing more pronounced to motorists and cause them to slow down. I think this is a good idea for other places, especially like the one cited by the original poster.

These are just some things from the top of my head - nothing original here. I recall reading all of this at the TA website a 1.5 years back or so. I think they have been working with or at least attemtping to instruct the city to make such improvements. Sounds like things are not progesssing to well.

The bike path is very nice and quite safe if you ride it being alert. Some improvements could definitely be made and not require much $ to do so."

Anonymous's picture
City Employee (not verified)
Uh, I dunno...

I work for the City, but not for DOT. So I have no more sense than you do when and if they might correct the problem. I agree with you that there is an issue regarding cyclist safety on the bike path. However, as a commuter I am also grateful for the existance of the path and for the commitment that the City has made to providing a path for cyclists on the West side. No, it's not perfect. But it is definitely safer than riding along the East River and/or riding on surface streets.

I guess I see the glass as half full on this issue.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
minority opinion

I'd rather ride up the east side or ride on the streets than the west side bike path, or ANY bike path for that matter. The false sense of security, the joggers strollers walkers rollerbladers gawkers, the total lack of rules-of-the-road - gimme the cabs and limos, the trucks and broken glass anytime instead - the hazards are known and far more predictable.

For me the west side bike path is a glass mostly empty.

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)
Half Full

When the winds are out of the west the air quality is leagues ahead of the streets. The river view is awesome. The road surface is smooth. There are few crossing roads, however dangerous they might be. The landscaping give the illusion that you are out of the city. Sure, on crowded weekends it is amateur hour but it is no worse than Central Park's drives. You just have to be aware of all the possible dangers. And not all of them are obvious. If you go above 95th St and below 125 you will find the conditions much more manageable even though you are very close to the Henry Hudson Parkway.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
through the looking glass...

You're absolutely right that the dangers are not all obvious - as I see it, the points you mention contribute to the bike path being pleasantly dangerous - so I avoid it.

Central Park on a weekend isn't any better, true, but at least it's 3 to 4 times as wide, 'tho a cynic might say that provides 3-4 times as many opportunities for f***ups.

Anonymous's picture
Ivy Pool (not verified)
commuting vs. exercising

"I think that the key difference between an enjoyable experience on the west side bike path and a horrendous experience is one's intent. If your intention is to commute, as is my intention when I ride on the bike path, I think that the experience can't be beat. Sometimes it is crowded in the evening, but by-and-large the path is manageable. I ride my slow commuter bike and maintain a speed that I would estimate is close to 13 mph. On the other hand I see some cyclists riding at break-neck speeds on the path. That does seem dangerous, for all of the reasons you list above. I would never counsel someone to ride the path for a ""work out"", but I have managed to coax a few co-workers into trying a commuting ride with me."

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

Just like so many resources, the West Side Bike Path is best used off hours when there is little traffic on it and West Street. But even then you must be vigilant. Last year I collided with another cyclist when no other riders were to be seen. He decided to make a sudden left turn off the path - there was no where to go but perhaps he wanted to look at the Hudson - without signalling or looking back. I was just passing him on the left going the same direction and he took me out. Now I always call out that I am passing even if does break the calm.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
I rest my case (nm)
Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

But if it was a cab making a sudden left on 6th Avenue I probably wouldn't be writing this....

Anonymous's picture
deleted (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Yogi On Bike (not verified)
Love The Path (but not for time trials)

Great info posted for new users of the westside bike path. Thanks!

From 155th to 90’s, a great cool down after a long ride, and springtime in Riverside Park is a NY treasure to be enjoyed at slower speeds.

Brown bag a cold beer from River View café in your cage, and chill at the pier at 69th and watch the sunset on the Hudson. (Priceless)-paid by MC and Visa.

Just recently started using the path south of 72nd and was surprised to find a whole new set of ‘rules of the road’ I needed to learn (what do the red lights mean?).

Hey Ivy Pool- Are you and C. riding with us on Sat? Sorry for the almost head on while we were both passing slower riders and blowing stop signs at an intersection with peds milling around. (Slow down! I clocked you at 13.2 mph)

Even at impulse speed, I can get downtown in ~15 minutes. It’s a very convenient alternative to the streets or the overpriced Subway.


Anonymous's picture
C. (not verified)

Hi Chuck,

I ain't Ivy, but I'll take the liberty of responding, that, yes, we'll be on the ride on Saturday.

Looking forward to it,
- Christian

Anonymous's picture
Moldy Yogi (not verified)

Hey C & I:

Lots of rain forecast for the weekend, what a surprise! I might ride on Sunday if Saturday is rained out.

Just checked out your web page, too bad for you and the deer that you walloped. Good luck on the Pikes Peak Hill climb. The tractor-trailer race always looks like a lot of fun; do they have a motorless bike category?

I'm switching my weekends to Mondays and Tuesdays.

Anonymous's picture
DIVA (not verified)

"Residing in lower Manhattan, I’ve used the bike path as much as possible to avoid ""street traffic"".

Last summer, in the middle of the day, I was heading South bound, several feet above 23rd street. Before I came to the next stop sign, the coast was very clear to proceed. While almost in the middle of the intersection going straight, here comes a yellow cab at max. speed, turning right. To avoid getting HIT, I pulled my brakes and the back end of my bike flew up in the air. I was shaken, but not hurt. Of course, he kept going. I called him a few choice words and took a couple of seconds before getting on my bike to chase him/her down. When I finally caught up to him, he refuses to roll down his window. Seconds later, two park patrol ""officers"" arrived and confirmed they witnessed this entire thing. Oh, a warning was issued instead of a ticket. The bike path would have been much safer if NO CARS were allowed to turn right, expect for emergency vehicles.!!

With the recent flood of pedestrians, last weekend, was nuts!! You could barely ride without stopping or breaking every five feet. For my own safety and sanity, no more evening hours and weekend riding for me. There are just too many unconscious people!!


Anonymous's picture
chris (not verified)
T.A. Sues to Remove Illegal Stop Signs From Hudson River Path

Here is the link to the story.


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