The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, NYPD, and the Central Park Conservancy today announced immediate safety enhancements along the Central Park Drives. In addition to a reduction of the speed limit inside Central Park from 25 to 20 MPH for all modes of transportation, four key crossings across the park will receive substantial enhancements, including highly prominent “Pedestrian Crossing” warning signs at the intersections, advisory 10 MPH speed signs, and advance pedestrian crossing signs before each intersection. The advance signs will be reinforced with roadway markings near the sign locations, refurbished crosswalks and clearer lane use markings.
Barricades will also be installed to shorten pedestrian crossing distance on the West Drive at two crossings (at Sheep Meadow, near W. 68th Street, and at Heckscher Ballfields, near E. 63rd Street) where the drive is significantly wider than typical. The barricades will be placed in the west-most motor vehicle lane during car-free hours. At Delacorte Theater (near W. 81st Street), a barricade will be installed between the pedestrian and bicycle lanes to better guide pedestrians to the crosswalk and to improve their sightlines to cyclists.
The Central Park Precinct will continue its public awareness campaign in the park to inform every one of the rules and regulations as it relates to traffic and pedestrian safety. Individuals found in violation of the rules will be cited accordingly.
“Central Park is for all to enjoy in a safe and enjoyable manner, no matter how you choose to experience it,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “These immediate safety enhancements, worked out in partnership with our sister agencies, augments that experience by calming traffic, improving crosswalks and further reinforcing the appropriate lane assignments for all users.”
“Public safety is our highest priority and the new safety enhancement measures being implemented in Central Park will surely provide its millions of visitors with a safer experience,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. “I commend the NYC Department of Transportation, the NYPD, and the Central Park Conservancy for partnering with us to ensure enhanced safety conditions for all of the park’s pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.”
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, “The New York City Police Department is committed to ensuring the safety of all those who use Central Park as a means of transportation and recreation. We will continue to collaborate with our partners from the Central Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Transportation and the Parks Department to make our streets safer for all New Yorkers and visitors alike.”
“There’s no question; slower traffic will mean a safer park” said Doug Blonsky, President and CEO of Central Park Conservancy. “We applaud the DOT’s leadership role in lowering speed limits and adding signs and barricades, and we urge all park users to know the new rules of the road.”
The four locations to receive these treatments include:
• West Drive at Delacorte Theater (near W. 81st Street)
• West Drive at Sheep Meadow (near W. 68th Street)
• West Drive at Heckscher Ballfields Crossing (near W. 63rd Street)
• East Drive at Terrace Drive (near E. 72nd Street)
The agencies will follow up the enhancements with stakeholder outreach and will be distributing DOT’s Bike Smart Brochures and Central Park-specific brochure geared toward cyclists and pedestrians.