NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of parking spots will soon be eliminated along Central Park West to make room for a protected bike lane.
The community board passed the resolution Tuesday, despite push-back from residents.
“Overwhelmingly, the residents of Central Park West are opposed to this bike barrier,” one woman said.
Upper West Side residents filled the Goddard Riverside Community Center last night.
“We are thousands upon thousands of people versus pitifully few bikes that are using that bike lane,” the woman continued.
“Let’s use the park. That’s what the park is for. Let’s use the park for bicycles,” a man added.
Still, their pleas were not enough to convince the community board, which passed the measure 27 to seven.
“There have been many crashes on Central Park West, many crashes with injuries,” said an official.
The plan calls for a protected bike lane with a seven-foot buffer that would run along the east side of Central Park West from 59th Street to 110th Street, effectively eliminating 400 parking spaces.
“The tragedy that happened last year in August, when a woman was killed biking on Central park West. After that, CB7 asked us to see what we could do about it. That’s the real reason why we’re here today,” the official continued.
Australian tourist Madison Jane Lyden was struck and killed by a garbage truck while riding a bike along Central Park West last August. She swerved to avoid a car parked in the bike lane before being hit.
“I called 911. I heard the truck screech and hit her with a bang. But that doesn’t make everybody wrong,” the woman said.
Supporters and city officials said increasing safety is the main reason for the change.
“Crashes with injuries have gone down 15 percent across the board when we install protected bike lanes, but pedestrian crashes with injuries have gone down more than 20 percent,” said the official.
While it’s a win for cyclists, drivers and residents fear it will create even more of a headache. Some are concerned parking garages in the area will take advantage of fewer parking spots and raise their rates.
Construction on the protected bike lane is expected to start in September.