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East River bike path's crosswalk signal confuses riders

The esplanade path is frequented by cyclists who traverse East River bridges on a daily basis.

On the East River esplanade, the city has

On the East River esplanade, the city has installed a crosswalk signal for South Street in the middle of the soutbound bike path. Photo Credit: Jon Orcutt

Bike lanes apparently aren’t just for bikes.

The city has installed a pedestrian crosswalk signal directly in a busy southbound bike path of the East River esplanade, for a downtown intersection at South Street near Gouverneur Lane.

Jon Orcutt, the communications director at TransitCenter, said he noticed the signal sometime in early August, though the signal appears to have been in place since at least May 2017, according to images on Google Maps.

Orcutt described the signal as a paradigm for the city's mismanagement of the esplanade bike path, which is consistently blocked by construction or left in poor shape. The city’s Economic Development Corporation manages the space, while the Department of Transportation is typically in charge of crosswalk signal installations.

“When was the last time the DOT put a signal pole in the middle of a moving car lane?” he asked.

“Why exactly there, and [why] can’t the two agencies work together well enough to prevent dumb stuff like this from popping up on our streets [and bike paths]?” Orcutt added in an email.

The DOT and EDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The East River esplanade is a popular bike path — especially for commuters feeding to and from the East River bridges, which handle thousands of cyclists each day. About 19,000 cyclists traversed the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Queensborough bridges on an average weekday in July, according to a recent city bicycle count.

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