New Yorkers and tourists took to the Hudson River Greenway on foot and bike Thursday, two days after 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov allegedly drove a rented Home Depot pickup truck down the path, killing eight people and injuring 12 others.
Transportation Alternatives has been sounding the alarm on the Greenway's design since 2008, after a drunk driver drove on to the path and killed cyclist Edward Ng. Saipov allegedly entered at West Houston Street.
This afternoon, mayoral spokesman Eric Phillips announced that blockers will be added to the path at 56 intersections between 59th Street and the Battery, starting today. Of the total, 31 are vehicle access intersections, and 26 are pedestrian access intersections, according to City Hall. State DOT will put six jersey barriers at each vehicle intersection, and city DOT will put two cement blocks at each pedestrian entrance facing the Hudson River.
West Side path: 57 spots (59th St. down) will get blockers to prevent cars & allow bikes/walkers. City/State DOTs starting install today.
— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) November 2, 2017
In the meantime, NYPD cruisers are serving as temporary barriers at crossings wide enough to accommodate a weaponized vehicle.
Upper West Sider Ann Priest, 54, rode her bike south on the path Thursday.
"As soon I could get out, I wanted to get back out [on the path]," she said. "It certainly is going through my mind as I ride down. And I'm looking behind me more often. In fact, I told my husband I am going to get a mirror for my bike or my helmet."
"I came off the 67th Street entrance, and I noticed they were putting up the big cement NYPD blocks," Priest added. "That made me feel good immediately, that there was an instant [change]. As far as long term, I really like the small posts... where you can still cycle through."
A memorial on the Greenway in Tribeca, near the spot where eight people were killed. (Scott Heins / Gothamist)
Deborah Rennard, 57, brought a bouquet to a new memorial at the intersection of Houston Street and the Greenway in Tribeca around 3 p.m. Her son went to high school with one of the victims, 23-year-old Nicholas Cleves.
"On the one hand you're just in shock and horrified and on the other, unfortunately, it's become such an ordinary occurrence that you're almost like, okay, this is the world we live in, you know?" Rennard told Gothamist. "These acts of aggression and terrorism have become so commonplace that you almost become impervious in your reaction."
Mario Arana, 61, stopped at the memorial on his way home from work on Thursday. He lives in Chelsea, and commutes to his cooking job in Tribeca. "This is my route every single day for fifteen years," he said. "I bike every single day."
On the day of the attack, Arana left work five minutes after Saipov allegedly careened down the path.
"I've been very scared and insecure because, I don't know, especially in this area, it's very open and you never know who is behind, especially early in the morning," he said. "When something happens, they want to fix everything. But what about before? They wait for something to happen."
Reporting by Scott Heins.