I love Hudson River Park. I live across the street, so it’s basically my backyard. It’s also my commute to work: I walk along the riverside promenade from my building in the West Village to my job in TriBeCa. It’s a refreshing way to start my mornings, with exercise built in.
You would think I’d be safe once I cross the treacherous six-lane West Side Highway, where I’ve seen trucks speed through red lights. But then I also must cross the busy bike path. I have almost been hit several times.
I always use the spot where a sign on a stand says you must yield to pedestrians under state law. I’ve never seen a bike stop. Bicyclists know there is little, if any, enforcement.
New York City needs to more consistently enforce the law at Hudson River Park against rogue cyclists before a pedestrian is seriously injured by a bike-racing scofflaw.
How hard is it to place a park officer on a busy crosswalk at rush hour? Give an officer a stop sign — like a school crossing guard — so that cyclists get the message. Or have officers on bikes chase after the lawbreakers. Issue a few tickets, and word will get out.
At the Pier 40 entrance to the park, I mostly see police at the park milling around or occasionally directing cycling tourists away from the pedestrian path. But these bikers are not dangerous because they ride slowly. They’re just annoying.
Police officers at the park also seem to ignore skateboarders who often fly down the pedestrian path. What’s more, these skateboarders do tricks on the steps of the plaza as people are eating lunch.
They’re not kids. They’re grown men who could use the nearby skateboard parks. They’re attracted to the outlaw aspect and seem to enjoy scaring people.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m grateful to have such a beautiful park so close to where I live. The landscaping is spectacular, and the park is always very clean. But why must I feel at risk when walking to and from work? Why is this dangerous illegal behavior not more thoroughly checked?
Summer is over and fewer bicyclists and skateboarders may take to the park, but unless something is done, they will continue to flout the law at least until the snow hits the ground.
Kate Walter is the author of “Looking for a Kiss: A Chronicle of Downtown Heartbreak and Healing.”