City Unveils Plan To Lower Speed Limit For Bicyclists In Central Park

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Bicyclists in Central Park are about to see a slow down.

On Tuesday, the city announced plans to lower the speed limit for bike riders in the historic park.

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, following injuries and even death, New York City Park Advocates President Geoffrey Croft said it’s time to get a handle on speeding cyclists.

“We’ve had two fatalities in the park and three people with fractured skulls, and that’s bicyclists so it’s definitely necessary,” Croft said.

Currently, the bike speed limit in Central Park is 25 miles per hour.

The push to lower it to 20 miles per house comes about two months after the death of Jill Tarlov, the wife of a CBS executive, Carlin reported.

Police said the cyclist who hit and killed Tarlov was going faster than 25 miles per hour.

“This should be a place people can go and not have to look over their shoulder and worry about not being hit if they’re not paying attention,” said City Councilman Mark Levine, chairman of the council’s parks committee.

Some bicyclists remember when the city experimented with a 15 mile-an-hour limit in the park in the 1990s. But the idea was quickly abandoned.

The latest campaign, called “20 Is Plenty” is a compromise, Carlin reported.

“Believe me, this won’t make everyone happy,” Croft said.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, Croft pointed out the limit is still faster than 15 miles per hour speed official vehicles in the park are limited to.

“I’m a pretty good cyclist, but I don’t think if I’m moving around the park — 20 sounds fine to me,” said Upper West Side resident Zoe Eisenberg.

Other cyclists, however, told Carlin they think 20 miles per hour is too slow, and they don’t feel they have alternative places for speed training.

“When you are training for a race you don’t have another place to train in the city,” said Maria Valdes.

Levine said the city has the authority to change park speed limits without state approval.

The city also announced plans to enhance safety measures near four key crossings in the park: West Drive at Delacorte Theater, West Drive at Sheep Meadow, West Drive at Heckscher Ballfields Crossing and East Drive at Terrace Drive.

Those measures include adding prominent “Pedestrian Crossing” warning signs, advisory 10 miles per hour speed signs and advance pedestrian crossing signs before each intersection.

There will also be roadway markings near the sign locations, refurbished crosswalks and clearer lane use markings.

City officials said barricades will be installed at West Drive at Sheep Meadow near West 68th Street and at Heckscher Ballfields near E. 63rd Street as well as at Delacorte Theater near West 81st Street in an effort to provide better guidance to pedestrians.

Levine said he would like the next step to be getting cars out of Central Park.

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