West/East side greenway safety...

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17 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

Not quite cycling, but I'm considering running on the greenway after dark and I'm wondering if it will be safe.

I have two options:

-Run an out and back on the west side

-Run down the west side (starting at houston) and around the bottom of the island, coming back up the east side to whatever access is close to 9th st. I'd have to carry a backpack for this option, but that's not a huge problem.


Anonymous's picture
Robert Marcus (not verified)
Enjoy one of New York City's Great gift to its People

"Have fun and wear safety gear as if you are running in the street.

Reflective gear
Bright colors

Watch out for Everyone.

It does get busy at times and ther are many people who use the Greenway such as Touists, Joggers, Cyclists, Rollerbladders, Dog Walkers and the usual drunk Driver.

Good Luck and Double knot your laces.

Robert ""Not the Slowest"" Marcus"

Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
go for it

It's been about 5 years removed for me, but I used to run along the West Side south of Christopher Street/14th St vicinity to Battery Park and back. I did such well before and after the West Side had grass plotted. Oddly enough, I found it to be more safe and less stressful running at night due to much less ped/bike traffic. Seeing the city lit up at night while along the river is a real treat. Keep in mind it can get windy and in late winter/early spring it is cooler/chillier running near the water.

Anonymous's picture
Frank (not verified)

The east side is a bit more challenging to navigate but IMHO much more interesting: ferry terminal, south street seaport, (former) fish market, a dedicated running lane under the FDR, and East River Park--well lit, and lots of other runners--ball fields where you pass by soccer games, pick up football, and there is the track at 6th St. There is a transverse walk that crosses from the park at 10th Street. (do be careful on the short stretch from the end of the FDR coverage to the official border of East River Park--dark and road surface is not smooth). Consider both as part of your regular routine--for variety sake.

Anonymous's picture
Danny (not verified)
specifically at night

Thanks guys. I do run the west side regularly already. My question is more specific to doing so after dark in terms of safety and, for the east side, navigation since I've heard it isn't as well marked.

Anonymous's picture
Aaron (not verified)

I used to do the tip of the island run all the time at night--from greenwich village out houston to the west side, around the island, back through stuy town. While it's a little sketchy under the bridges on the east side, I never had a problem and never had a sense that there would really be a problem. It's relatively well lit under the williamsburg and manhattan bridges. Actually, the worst in terms of lighting I thought was the path along the fdr and where the fulton fish market used to be. And the most dangerous part was the block or two running through downtown to get to the staten island ferry terminal.

Anonymous's picture
Rich Conroy (not verified)

I ride on the West side greenway all the time at night, but north of where it sounds like you plan to run. The route north is very nice and there are some long stretches with NO traffic crossings, especially north of 59th St. In terms of night running in this area:

Some areas are poorly lit (underneath the highway along Riverside Park, the Cherry Walk, sometimes Ft. Washington Park). Always wear reflective gear and bring a couple of blinkie lights. Many runners don't realize how invisible they are at night.

In terms of safety, you will find the areas north of 103rd St. quite isolated at night. That can be a good or bad thing (no one to harrass you, but no one to help you out if something happens). I've never had a problem, but I've heard stories from others, esp. in Ft. Washington Park.

Anyway, it's quite beautiful at night, especially in the Cherry Walk area and in Ft. Washington Pk.


Anonymous's picture
Carole (not verified)
Run like the wind!

I live in Chelsea and am a recovering marathoner. Many, many times I have run the entire path from the tip to top at night and have never had any trouble. At times during winter or on a Monday night it can be a little quiet and you won't see another soul but what a treat on this crowded island! The curve from 59th St to 72nd St is unlit and there are wild cats, so you may want to avoid this or wear a light. The area around Houston St, which you mentioned, has always felt extremely safe to me and is pretty well lit.

In the past, I have avoided running around the bottom of the island, opting for out and back on the WSH in order to avoid traffic, pedestrians, and lights for a nice uninterrupted run with the MP3's at full blast.

Additionally, the path on the East side isn't as nice as on the West side. It is not lit well and has tons of potholes, bumps, etc. Not my fave place to run unless for a long run during the day including going back and forth on the bridges (a nice half-marathon training run). The West and East side paths are not continuous, so you will have to run through the city in between, and I find the traffic, etc to be a hassle.

BTW, if you do run crosstown to the East side, there is a track at East 6th Street that is terrific for speed workouts.

I will be routing for you while I try to get my bike legs--have fun!!

Anonymous's picture
Brad Ensminger (not verified)
Wear Reflective Clothes, etc.

I would add 2 points:

Wear reflective clothes, and when running in the bike lanes stay to the right. As a cyclist that rides at non-daylight hours, I*ve had a few near-misses with joggers that cannot be seen easily, and that run in the center of the bike path.

Thanks, and enjoy your run.

Anonymous's picture
Robert Shay (not verified)
Reflective Vest

I have found the vest on the following website link to be very effective for running and cycling at night. I wear XL so it can fit over running jackets and/or cycling jackets.


Anonymous's picture
Danny (not verified)

Thanks for all the help and input everyone!

I'll definitely wear a red flasher and will probably carry a small headlamp as well.

I realize the east side path isn't as nice, but it just makes sense to run down and around rather than out and back. I'd be starting at houston & varick. To run out and back on the WSH would leave me with another stop into the office to pick up my bag and then a 20 minute walk home.

It also just leaves that slight mental possibility of opting out of a run and just heading home. Somehow the difference between a 20 minute walk home and an hour run home feels about negligible to me.

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
East Side Path

I love running on the East side path. It's got more crowded than it used to be, but in the winter at night it's relatively peaceful. There is a very narrow section where you have to be careful of cyclists (who are supposed to dismount in one direction, but that's another story!) but it's above 10th Street anyway so you won't even encounter it. Just below 10th there's grassy sections you can run on, and it's not that badly lit. Much further south I don't venture that much, but when I have it's been OK.

Anonymous's picture
Ron Gentile (not verified)

Just curious--where would it be necessary to deal with traffic connecting from the Hudson path to the East River path? If you stay right on the Hudson to the bottom of Manhattan, you exit Battery Park at the SI Ferry, cross in front of the Ferry Terminal and stay to the right on the sidewalk, following South St.

Anonymous's picture
Carole (not verified)

Pedestrians on sidewalks, red lights when crossing streets, cars--all traffic to a runner. Not that I am advocating it, but many of my runner friends would rather run on the street than deal with sidewalks (I know, I know--another discussion altogether). Just my POV, but I like running on the WSH than dealing with any of that, but I realize that everyone has their own way of working out that functions perfectly well for them.

To each their own--doesn't matter as long as they enjoy the run.

Happy trails/path!!

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)
My observations of running on the Hudson River Bike Path

1- Look back more than once before turning around on the path. I have missed being hit a number of times by not looking back just before turning around.

2- Be extra mindful of traffic turning onto the path from the southbound lanes of West Street/ Westside Hwy. Most traffic is not required to stop before crossing the path. So these cars/buses/trucks will be moving at highway speed while they cross the bike path. Not all intersections afford these drivers a clear view of the intersection. Be especially mindful of this situation while you are running south as you will not be able to see these vehicles as they will be coming behind you.

3- Run in the granite block ditch on either side of the path whenever possible. Cyclists will not hit you and you will not slow traffic.

4- Get to know how each intersection's traffic pattern changes with the traffic lights. For instance, at 24th Street crosstown traffic will not have a green light until southbound east-turning traffic are still turning. You will have a red light but this is the time where the intersection is safest for you to cross because nothing can turn into you or cross your path. As soon as this left turning green arrow turns red, the crosstown traffic will cross your path from both sides of the path. Now the intersection is most dangerous. But even with a green light for cyclists, as I mentioned before, southbound traffic can cross the path and hit you. And, you will be obscured from their field of view by a hedge.

5- Get to know where water fountains are along the path for use in hot weather. Luckily, there are quite a few of them.

Anonymous's picture
MAF (not verified)
Look back more than once before turning around on the path. I h

Please follow this advice - I was clipped by a jogger who did not look back before turning (nor did she hear me call out 'on your left' because she had earphones on). The results = pelvis broken in two places, broken ribs, broken clavicle, lots of road rash. The helmet saved my life. And.. I am back riding. BTW, this happend in an area where there is separation for pedestrians that she should have been on, and it was broad daylight, and she jogger went home with no injuries. I now give joggers a very wide berth.

Anonymous's picture
Rich Conroy (not verified)

Did you ever tell anyone at Parks Enforcement or Hudson River Park Trust about this injury? I ask, because I always see them telling cyclists not to ride (and sometimes issuing tickets) in the pedestrian-only areas. But I never see them telling the pedestrians to stay in the clearly marked pedestrian zones. It's one of those one-sided types of enforcement that leads me to believe that the people behind these enforcement campaigns see cyclists as the sole source of safety hazards on the greenways. They really need to hear from someone that non-enforcement on pedestrians is also a hazard to cyclists.


Anonymous's picture
MAF (not verified)

Yes, they heard about the accident and a report was filed. When it happened, to their credit, Parks Enforcement, NYPD and EMS were on the scene very quickly. The Parkie's took possesion of my bike, for which I asked for and got a receipt, and then a week later, my children picked up the bike. I agree with the one sided comment, they enforce the no bike areas, but fail to notify pedestrians that they are in the wrong area.

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