With Popularity Comes Concern for Safety on New Bridge’s Shared-Use Path
By Rick Pezzullo–
Since the shared bicycle and pedestrian path on the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge opened on June 15 it has been a welcomed recreational outlet for local residents and tourists alike.
However, the initially heavy use of the 3.6-mile path has raised some safety concerns with walkers and runners feeling they have to be constantly looking over their shoulders for cyclists traveling at high speeds. Some minor accidents have already been reported.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said he has received many emails and phone calls about bicyclists getting too close to pedestrians and has suggested the state perhaps consider designating times to limit the traffic for pedestrians or bicycles.
Daniel Convissor, director of the advocacy group Bike Tarrytown, feels there is room for the state to make the path wider. “There’s a lot of room to play with,” Sleepy Hollow resident Convissor claimed Friday on Feiner’s WVOX Radio show. “It’s popular. Give people what they want—more bike path.”
The Thruway Authority, which spent $3.9 billion to replace the former Tappan Zee Bridge with the new span, has already posted additional signage and will lower the speed limit for bicyclists from the original 15-mph. to five miles per hour near the six scenic overlooks on the bridge.
The shared use path is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The path allows for one designated lane each for pedestrians and cyclists traveling in both directions to ensure safety. It takes approximately 80 minutes to walk the length of the path from Westchester to Rockland and approximately 20 minutes to bike.
Convissor said five miles per hour is slow for bicyclists but expressed confidence everyone can co-exist safely on the 12-foot-wide path.
“Treat everyone on the path like they are your sister or your mother,” he said. “Give people respect.”