Transportation Alternatives: Breaking the East-West Divide

no bike riding on path central park

After advocacy from Transportation Alternatives and Steve Vaccaro, cyclists will finally get a way to transverse Central Park East-West without dismounting.

Cyclists may soon gain three ways to legally cross Central Park without dismounting and walking their bikes. The Central Park Conservancy, the Department of Transportation and the Parks Department have been working jointly on an initiative to open several east-west pedestrian paths to cyclists, similar to the changes made recently that allow cyclists to bike at walking speeds on nearby Riverside Park paths.

Steve Vaccaro works with Transportation Alternatives and bikes with his son to school every morning across the park, from their Upper East Side home to his son’s school on the Upper West Side. When his son was younger, he biked on pathways, but was often chastised by pedestrians telling him to dismount. Children up to 12 years old are allowed to bike on New York City sidewalks, which are the jurisdiction of the DOT, but the rules are fuzzier in Central Park, where the Conservancy governs the pathways.

Recently, Vaccaro and his son started using the Transverse to get from east to west, but that’s not without its problems.

“As the cars and the bikes are headed into the tunnels, suddenly the road gets a lot narrower,” Vaccaro said. “It also gets really dark. It’s sort of a confluence of bad conditions.”

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