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UWS Residents May Lose Hundreds Of Parking Spaces Along Central Park West In Favor Of Larger Bike Lane

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's a tough decision on the Upper West Side -- parking problems versus cycling safety.

Pretty soon, hundreds of parking spots could be replaced, and the community is split in half over it, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported Thursday.

It's a cyclist's dream, but a driver's nightmare, as 400 parking spots could soon be eliminated to make room for a larger bike lane.

"It's definitely going to be an inconvenience for people, but considering the accident that just happened, it's probably a good thing," resident Toni Marie said.

Central Park West bike lane
It's possible a section of Central Park West will lose around 400 parking spaces due to the widening of an existing bike lane. (Photo: CBS2)

Last August, Madison Jane Lyden was riding on a rented bike along Central Park West while visiting from Australia. She was fatally struck by a private garbage truck after she swerved to avoid a car parked in a bike lane, something local cyclists said they deal with often.

"Cars are parked on the bike lane, so we don't know where to go. So it's really dangerous for us," deliveryman Christian Bassiere said.

The city placed a "ghost bike" at the corner in her honor, but now could be going a step further.

"Any bike lane is not safe unless it's a protected bike lane," said Roberta Semer, chairwoman of Community Board 7.

MORECity Hopes New Bike Lane Near 59th Street Bridge Will Make Dangerous Area Safer For Cyclists

Semer, who serves the area, said one of the board's committees unanimously passed a resolution approving a Department of Transportation plan to create a protected bike lane with a 7-foot buffer on Central Park West, which would ultimately eliminate all parking on the east side of the street from 59th to 110th streets.

"It was totally safety and we feel terrible about the 400 parking spaces," Semer said.

While cyclists said it will bring needed relief, drivers said it's a bad idea, adding not only would it give them fewer parking spots, but they fear parking garages will take advantage.

"They are going to significantly increase the prices that they charge. You can't park on the street," resident Ed Emmer said.

"It's going to be a real nuisance for us to have to find parking elsewhere. It's going to really cut down on supply," resident David Salant added.

The board will vote on the resolution on July 2. If it's passed, construction would start in September.

Under the new plans, buses will still be able to make routine stops along Central Park West.

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