GWB South Path to close April Second?*#%!

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Anonymous's picture

Just as the SIG's start, I saw a new green sign at the NJ entrance to the south pathway of the George Washington Bridge today saying that it would close April 2, 2007! What did they do last year? Install something backwards? Any suggestions about inquiries or protesting this?

Anonymous's picture
phil (not verified)


exactly how are bikes supposed to get across the bridge if the south pathway is indeed closed?

Anonymous's picture
Bob Ross (not verified)
Exactly How

My friend, prepare to discover the wonderful nuisance that is the *North* pathway. It's a real treat


Anonymous's picture
phil (not verified)

What, more hassles and hardships? Keep em coming'

Hell, now that I think about it, why do we need GWB anyway? I think it is time we as a club learned to swim in cleats with our bikes in tow.

Anonymous's picture
Jim Reaven (not verified)

There is a north pathway Phil. It features several metal stairways that need to be climbed with the bike. This is not a major difficulty for most riders, but it may create a significant problem for some in the C-SIG and certainly isn't the most inviting introduction to NY cycling. Closure of the south pathway is generally considered a huge pain and is hard to understand less than a year after a long closure of the same pathway. To reach the north pathway, stay on Ft. Washington instead of turning left on 177th, cross under the bridge in front of the bus station, and turn left.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
"""Several"" metal stairs? Is 165 ""several""?"

If my memory is correct, in traversing the north side of the GWB, you have to go up or down 165 stairs. Mind you, these are hard and smooth steel stairs and you're most likely wearing cleats so it's all too easy to slip and slide.

As for whatever work is being done that wasn't done last year (when, we were assured, the work would contain improvements for cyclists, but I don't see them), a question is, even if not done concurrent with that other work, why was this work put off until the spring to do it.

Ah, when asked last year why wasn't the work done in April, thePort Authority's answer was the work required warmer weather for the concrete.

Anonymous's picture
Bob Ross (not verified)
Jim said stairways, not stairs

"I think six (the # of stairways) still falls under the category of ""several"""

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
"The Empire State Buildling has only ""several"" stairways, too.

"Yeah, he did write ""stairways."" Perhaps you know Jim as I do not and therefore you know he meant stairways and not stairs. However, I choose to believe he was being advisory and citing the number of stairways, as against stairs, is not advisory. After all, the Empire State Building has only ""several"" stairways. Do you think Jim would say, and would you say it would not be difficult for a cyclist to carry his bike up only one of them?"

Anonymous's picture
Bob Ross (not verified)
are you familiar with Occam's Razor?

"""Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate"" - ""plurality should not be posited without necessity.""

(Or, in the vernacular, ""Everything should be explained as simply as possible, but not one bit simpler,"" a quote often attributed to Albert Einstein.)

That I do happen to know Jim has no bearing on my choice to believe he wrote what he did in order to mean what he wrote. That you admittedly do not know Jim does not explain why you would choose to unnecessarily complicate his message by presuming he meant something that he did not write.

And why would a warning about the number of staircases be any less advisory than a warning about the number of individual steps? As cyclists I think we can both agree that ANY number of staircases is an undesireable condition for negotiating a bike.

Your conclusion regarding the Empire State Building's ""several staircases"" is a fallacious intuition pump; even if it only had one staircase, it would be just as undesireable a trip to haul one's bike up or down. And if each of the (one or several) staircases had only 3 steps...well, first of all we wouldn't refer to it as a ""staircase"", and secondly most cyclists would be happy to haul their bikes up & down the Empire State Building's stairs.

Yes, this reasoning presumes that all those reading Jim's advisory understand that the word ""staircase"" implies more than just a few steps. If there were six groups of steps on the North path of the GWB -- but each group consisted of only 3 individual steps -- cyclists (as well as pedestrians, and perhaps even the wheelchair-bound) would be far less worried about having to traverse that path. And they'd be far less likely to refer to those six aggregates as ""staircases""."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Removed (nm)
Anonymous's picture
dwiener (not verified)
hopefully not for long

from the PANYNJ web site

The south sidewalk will be closed and the north sidewalk will operate in its place from Monday, April 2, 2007 until approximately Friday, May 4, 2007. This operational change is needed to allow for construction that will improve the safety and security of the bridge.

Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)
same bs reason they gave last year


Anonymous's picture
Matt (not verified)

This is BS. Rosenthal is right. Even for very fit, coordinated cyclists, getting up and down the stairs is a hassle at best, dangerous at worst. But the last time they closed the south side, I lost count of the number of smaller or less coordinated cyclists who were having trouble on the stairs. And if the stairs are the least bit wet, forget it.

Last time, we also had cyclists riding up and down the GWB on-ramp (against traffic) to skip the first set of stairs. Dangerous maneuver.

Does the club have any pull to get some real answers from the Port Authority? Can the club at least let PA know through a public letter how hazardous this situation could be?

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)
Real safety for cyclists on the GWB

"I wonder if alternative transportation funds are used for the GWB's bike/ ped paths? If so, we should have a voice in this. If not, I suppose we might just have to eat what was dished out to us and be thankful for what we have. We would all benefit from a few alterations to these paths. My take is to spend funds on the south path as it is the prime route we use. The north path needs reincarnation.

1 The concrete angle of the sidewalk to the actual ramp certainly is not user friendly. This wall should come at a more open angle to ease handling around this corner.

2 The steel plate on the sidewalk in front of the ramp, when wet, can catch a tire and throw a cyclist off the bike, as some of you might have found out firsthand.

3 How about those steel doors which control access to the path? Poorly designed bottlenecks. They smack of ""good enough for a bike path"" thinking.

4 Rebuilding the ramp would not be cheap, but making it wider with a wider radius turn certainly would have merit. The ramp is out in free space. Improving it would not require aquiring new land.

5 Metal expansion plates are slippery when wet. I broke a wheel on one after a thunderstorm. Anti-skid surfacing might need to be reapplied more often due to usage but this is not asking for the moon.

6 Way on top of my wish list: cutting out the corners at the turns of the abutments. Yes, cyclist will then tend to take the turns at a faster speed. But, they will still be improve safety. And please don't say it will change the look of the bridge. It won't."

Anonymous's picture
Hannah (not verified)
until May 4, supposedly

"""The south sidewalk will be closed and the north sidewalk will operate in its place from Monday, April 2, 2007 until approximately Friday, May 4, 2007. This operational change is needed to allow for construction that will improve the safety and security of the bridge.""

Do any bookies in the house want to set odds on the likelihood of this project staying on schedule? Regardless, it just about lasts through the SIG season.


Anonymous's picture
Bella (not verified)

I don't know how viable this is ,but perhaps the club(sig) might want to investigate alternate rides ,do so many rides have to go over the GWB to Jersey ,maybe other destinations could be substituted .

Anonymous's picture
Jim Reaven (not verified)
SIG destinations

Bella, the SIGS go many places including Westchester, Long Island, Connecticut, etc. But, the first few trips for the C-SIGS need to stay in the 30-40 mile round trip range with minimal traffic challenges and preferably some hint of the lovely scenery to be enjoyed by riding out from the city. Crossing the GWB is hard to beat. Complicating this is that some of C-SIGers have heavy hybrids.

Anonymous's picture
Paul (not verified)
Why is this acceptable?

There are two pedestrian paths on the bridge, one was well thought out and the other was not. Luckily, the better of the two is used for bicycling across the bridge, providing a meager 8' for bikes (about 6% of the total traveling space the bridge provides) and peds traveling in both directions. Requiring people to get off their bikes and walk up steps makes as much sense as forcing motorists to drive through 3' of water to cross a river; it can be done, but it's a royal PiTA and makes the trip less worthwhile.

Meanwhile, cars are provided two levels and 14 traveling lanes 24 hours a day, which of course, greatly facilitates access for NYers to NJ's long line of shopping malls as well as bars for the NJ's bored & alienated youth.

The only legitimate reason, and this is a stretch, why bikers are treated like second class citizens is that bikes and peds don't pay a toll to cross the bridge (cars pay something like $6 for each round-trip). Maybe we should offer to fork over a couple of bucks each time we make a round trip in exchange for a some real space on the bride.

Anonymous's picture
Michael Allison (not verified)
GWB south path closing

Perhaps I’m paranoid, but it seems obvious to me that the police in New Jersey do not want cyclists us using the bridge or invading their land. I’ve been cycling in and around NJ for over fifty years and nothing has changed. People on bicycles are considered less than desirable. The NYCC and all those affected have to become politically aware and involved, just like the road-runners did over twenty years ago. They certainly seem to get what they want.

Anonymous's picture
roadrash (not verified)
Bridge Closing

I was told by a bridge construction worker this past Saturday that they are replacing cables. Who knows.

Anonymous's picture
esass (not verified)

Try going over the GWB at 6am and getting through the NJ side, but finding the NY side still locked. I commute from Ft Lee to Brooklyn, so I can't just bag the ride at that point.

Before the sun rises I find the area of the bike path north of 158th kind of sketchy. I have almost run over people sleeping on the path (right past the hairpin north of the bridge.

I was hoping that I would never have the opportunity to share this, but these circumstances require I do. If you are heading north on Riverside Drive, instead of turning right to up to the hospital at 165th st, continue on Riverside. Riverside will continue until there is a turnoff up to the right for 181st St. There is little to no traffic and you can avoid all the traffic on Ft Washington.

Anonymous's picture
Tony Mantione (not verified)
GWB south path

I'm surprised there is not an effort being launched from the handicapped population or maybe there is ?? How is a wheelchair supposed to navigate 6 sets of stairways ( 160-somentings stairs ) ?? ... When the 59 st bridge path closed many years ago, the city provided van w/ trailer.. I think then,that TA had a lot to do w/ granting continious acess to the bridge... I guess we just gotta shut up and sit down and do what we are told !!
Ciao ,

Anonymous's picture
phil (not verified)

Haven't seen too many wheelchairs crossing the bridge, to be honest with you

Anonymous's picture
David Garrigan (not verified)

If y'all would like, on the 2nd I can walk over and see if the south side is closed. I live 100M from the bridge. On the Jersey side you may be able to avoid the stairs as the gate just before the staircase is sometimes open. -DG

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
An easy way the PA could make crossing the GWB doable for riders

When the GWB was planning to close, as it did, last year, I asked the Port Authority could it not put an officer in a car in front of a group of riders on the regular road way, and an officer in a car behind them, and shepard them across once every half hour or every hour from, say, 8AM to 4PM.

The answer: they're needed to do other things.

My question: What other things than patrol the bridge which they do in part by riding back-and-forth across it?

Anonymous's picture
J (not verified)
Alternatives Across the Hudson

The north side is a hassle and dangerous.


-- Take the PATH train to Hoboken and head north up River Road. I do not know the exact route, but there should be some way. I've done the MS 100 a few times and we go through the Holland Tunnel and then pick up River Road.

-- At 39th St (??) and the Hudson Greenway, take the ferry to Port Imperial. It is $5 for you and $1 for the bike. There may be limits on the number of bikes, but the ferries run frequently. I've done this many times. Port Imp had food, restrooms, etc., and is right off River Road. And the ferry ride is very relaxing.

Anonymous's picture
Kay Gunn (not verified)
PATH from Manhattan to Jersey side

I would not recommend River Rd from Hoboken up towards the GWB. There is lots of construction, narrow shoulders, and a nasty little climb with no shoulder leading up to the bridge. The below route is much better.

The only PATH stations in NYC that have elevators/handicap entrances are 33rd ST and the WTC. The other stations require stairclimbing and lifting your bike over the turnstile.

Here's the turnsheet from the Hoboken PATH. Thanks to Mordecai Silver for recommending this route to me last year. I'll make up a route sheet this week that leaves from the Exchange Place PATH, to the Hoboken PATH, to the GWB and back. I'll submit it to the ride library and will try to lead it in the next 2 weeks if there's any interest.

total do description for
0 L Observer Hwy, away from PATH 0.1
0.1 R Washington St 1.3
1.4 L 14th St 0.1
1.5 R Park Ave, over bridge 0.6
2.1 - becomes JFK Blvd E 3.8
5.9 BR Woodcliff Ave @Cliffside Park 0.1
6.0 R Palisade Ave 3.2
9.2 BR to stay on Palisade Ave 0.5
(BL instead here, this becomes 9W)
9.7 R Bruce Reynolds Blvd 0.1
9.8 L Hudson Terrace, GWB

Anonymous's picture
J (not verified)

I'll try that route. What the hay!

But, RR is not at all bad heading to the bridge. Yes there are 2 climbs - one to the entrance to Henry Hudson (what we sometimes call RR) and another up to the bridge (what we fly down when heading to HH south from the bridge).

I've done RR many times, solo, group, NYCC ride, MS rides - just fine.

But the route you posted (thanks!!) seems fine too.

Anonymous's picture
Kay Gunn (not verified)
the real River Rd

You're right, it's not too bad heading north in the morning before traffic builds up. It's much worse going south later in the day when there's lots of cars out. The climb up the real River Rd in itself isn't so bad as far as climbing goes, there's just not much shoulder and the cars pass by awfully close.

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
River Road

An alternative to climbing up to Hudson Terrace on River Rd is to make a left on Rte 5 in Edgewater, which takes you up to Palisade Ave. It's a fun, twisty climb, not too steep. But I generally try to avoid River Rd with its heavy rush-hour traffic and bad shoulder.

I often ride along the waterfront through Hoboken on Frank Sinatra Drive, to avoid the traffic on Washington St, then after the Park Ave bridge make a right on 19th St and continue along the waterfront to Port Imperial Blvd, and climb up on Pershing Rd from the Port Imperial Ferry to Boulevard East.

If you take Park Ave, it doesn't run into Boulevard East: you need to make a right on Highwood Terrace (37th St) or one of the subsequent streets.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)

There's also the (Staten Island ferry to)Bayonne, Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Poughkeepsie Bridge crossings, if you are feeling a little bit more ambitious, of course. ;-)

Anonymous's picture
carl (not verified)
my daily commute

"I work in HOB, live in Manhattan and usually bike it. I take the ferry in the AM and GWB in the pm. I avoid JFK Bld East (the ""high"" road) because there are so many busses and vans that pull in and out on the right. Since I also hate that River Rd Climb out of Edgewater, I actually take Rt 501/River Rd from Hoboken (the ""low"" road) and climb the Rte 5 hill to Palisades Ave. and thence to the GW. The Rt 5 hill is less trafficked and has a better shoulder (and is not quite as steep).

BTW, I don't mind the GWB stairs when commuting, because I don't commute with cleats, and it gives me easier access to take the Hudson River bike path when I ride south in Manhattan. But I agree, this is tougher with cleats."

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
Park Ave doesn't appear to be marked at the corner.

At least it wasn't obvious the times I took this route last fall (going from Hoboken PATH).

Anyway, be alert to turn right after only .1 mile on 14th St. (and don't go over the bridge on 14th).

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Hoboken turns

Washington Ave, is ok, for a direct route, but I'd opt for one of the other roads that run parrel to it. They are more scenic, have less traffic, and (most) are one way streets which means you do not need to concern yourself with left handers not yielding on the main shopping strip, Washington Ave or competing for space with busses pulling out from stops.

The Park Avenue turn is at the first traffic light with a diner to the left and a gas station to the right as landmarks.

It's perfectly ok to go over the bridge. If you choose not to then you need to cross over Park Ave to the unnamed side street. It's roughly a couple hundred feet on the left, forking through traffic, after turning onto Park Ave. This no-bridge way is a little bit quicker. Just be careful though as you are technically riding illegally in the wrong direction on a one way street (hence the reason for a missing sign). It's only maybe a couple hundred feet of such riding, but that section definitely contains a blind spot to oncoming traffic, so extra caution is needed. Be very vigilent when riding that section.

The no bridge option will drop you onto Harbor Blvd. Make a right turn at the stop sign by the hotel and another right at the next turn and that will lead you to Port Imperial/River Rd which is a straight shot up north to the GWB bridge.

Anonymous's picture
Kay Gunn (not verified)

I agree. I never take Washington. I was just trying to make a very simple, direct route for our NY friends. A few people have followed these directions with no problems. Washington is horrible in the afternoons, but at 6-8am it's fairly calm.

I'm usually a law abiding citizen and take the Park or Willow bridge leaving Hoboken, and then the 1-way street which avoids the bridge coming home.

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Well, at least it was open all winter!

"I wrote on the m.b. on 10/6/06:

""Now that the south sidewalk seems due to re-open this week, anyone want to predict how long it will stay open before they shut it down again? Two months? Three?"""

Anonymous's picture
Michael (not verified)

Well I put SPD pedals on the road bike last year to deal with this (trails shoed handle the steps a lot better)... guess I'm not swapping out anytime soon

Anonymous's picture
chris o (not verified)
I like the stairs (nm)
Anonymous's picture
Robert R (not verified)
Wait it gets better....


No Central Park either for 'bout 2 weeks - looks like they want to make sure that you really, really, really want to go out on that ride.

I guess this is why I got a roof rack."

Anonymous's picture
William (not verified)
The bright side...

Maybe they're trying to encourage cyclo-cross? Another season of this and everybody should at least have the hike-a-bike down pat...

Anonymous's picture
david (not verified)
more than an inconvenience.

The closing of the south side is more than an inconvenience, It is dangerous. Having to negotiate about five sets of stairs with cleated shoes is difficult and very slippery. I slipped down a few stairs when going down the stairs on the NJ side. Luckily I wasn't really hurt but If I had been I think I would have had a good lawsuit. We should write to the PA to complain, If we don't they will just continue creating this hazard whenever they feel like as they probably think one pathway is as good as another.

Anonymous's picture
Sienna (not verified)
may be a bad idea

Aaaahhhh! No!!! Lawsuits, complaints - this will inspire them to prohibit bikes at all times on the north side, and when the south side is closed, we won't be able to get across the bridge at all.

Anonymous's picture
Paul (not verified)

I rather carry my bike up the steps of the Empire State than use a car to get somewhere

Anonymous's picture
Todd Brilliant (not verified)

but good luck getting your bike into the building. it's a pain in the arse, but possible. i work in the building, but choose to lock up my bike on the street because it takes me 15 minutes to get the bike up here.


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