Some Say New Barriers Make West Side Bike Path Less Safe

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There were new concerns Friday night about the new barriers installed on the West Side bike path since the terror attack earlier this week.

As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported, the New York state Department of Transportation installed the barriers to help them protect cyclists and pedestrians. But some say they make the popular route more dangerous.

The concrete barriers and orange barrels are the newest additions to the West Side bike path. They are meant to stop another truck attack after the one that killed eight people and injured a dozen more on the path in Lower Manhattan this past Tuesday.

Safety is the goal, but some say it has the opposite effect.

“It just makes it more unsafe,” said cyclist Bill Amstutz. “Someone’s going to get hurt.”

Amstutz said they have made the popular greenway more congested.

“I almost hit a couple of joggers because I couldn’t see them in the narrow openings they’ve created with the way they’ve placed the barriers,” he said.

The path is state land, so the state Department of Transportation started installing the barriers on Thursday. Some of them are straight, others diagonal.

It is a change from what it was before – an open stretch along the Hudson River.

It’s much more of an obstruction than it is a safety deterrent,” a cyclist said.

The state DOT said they, along with the city and Hudson River Park Trust, moved “as quickly as possible to enhance the security of the bike path in the immediate aftermath of the terror attack this week.”

They call the concrete barriers a short-term solution.

“I think what was originally put in in the last day or so needs some revision to make sure people can still ride their bikes,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Obviously we want safety and security, but we also want people to go about their lives.”

The union representing parks enforcement patrol officers said barriers are long overdue. They say drunken drivers and other cars often end up on the bike path.

“This should definitely give a wake-up call to everyone that enough’s enough,” said Joe Puleo, President of Local 983.

Cyclist Andrew Lausten missed the terror attack on Tuesday by just minutes.

“I have tears in my eyes coming down here seeing these barricades, because I know the reason why they’re there,” he said.

He welcomes the protection.

“If someone wants me to be safer and this is the way to do it, it’s a good intention, you know — and I think it’s a great idea,” he said.

You may see similar barriers pop up in other places as well. Mayor de Blasio said he has instructed the NYPD and the DOT to look at other spots in the city that need similar enforcement.

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