Why are there no bikes on Riverdale Ave?

Double parking has become more consistent as DOT installs bike lanes


It can be all too familiar for cyclists and drivers when they see a vehicle parked on a bike lane forcing them to switch lanes, sometimes into the opposite side of traffic. It is not just an annoyance — it is illegal.

September will mark one year since the “road diet” or narrowing project, which the city transportation department implemented to narrow two Riverdale Avenue traveling lanes into one in both directions from West 254th Street to West 263rd Street with the addition of bike lanes. The agency claimed the project is for pedestrian safety.

“I want him to feel safe. I don’t want him to have these impediments. I don’t want him to have to go around double-parked cars,” said Jonathan “coach” Cane of Riverdale of his son Simon.

A main issue is with P.S. 81 Robert K. Christen School on Riverdale Avenue where drivers sometimes triple park in the newly paved bike lane during parent pick-up.

That forces cars, cyclists, and buses to drive around them, sometimes entering the turning lane.

Last year, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz called out to the transportation department, stating it as an ill-advised project because there would be double parking and traveling buses on Riverdale Avenue at the same time. He even made the trip on the first day of school to record the outcome on his cell phone. “Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so,” he said to The Riverdale Press.

It is a cyclist’s nightmare. Bike lanes are constantly used for double parking. Jonathan said especially when it is almost every day.

Simon is familiar with these double parkers too even at 11 years old. He calls them discourteous. He claims if cars do this sometimes — “OK, fine,” but it happens all the time, he added.

Almost every day parents will cut off school buses and double park to quickly pick up students. 

In one given day, more cars are parked in the bike-designated lane than the two-wheelers use on Riverdale Avenue and nearby Mosholu Avenue.

“It boggles my mind that people say ”no one bikes on Mosholu” as if the incessant double parking has nothing to do with it,” Jonathan said. “If folks obeyed the law and parked legally, parents could let their kids ride.”

Sometimes, even when available spaces are on Mosholu, drivers will still double park their cars, which drives him crazy. Most of the time drivers leave their car idling or blocking other vehicles to pick up their lunch or a cup of coffee.

“During the school year, a couple of times I would come by during drop off. You can’t ride there,” he said referring to riding a bike on Riverdale Avenue near P.S. 81.

It discourages parents, friends, and even students from biking to school. First, there is no way to “stash the bikes.”

Jonathan once biked Simon to school in kindergarten and first grade. He had a mountain bike with a seat in the back. However, as Simon grew up, it got more difficult. This resulted in him using the car during the second grade because Jonathan did not trust his son to bike alone from Waldo Avenue and West 238th Street.

But by the end of the year, Simon said, “Dad we’re not driving anymore.”

There is no infrastructure and discourages biking, the Riverdale parent said.

According to city data, for the first half of 2023, 18 people have been killed while riding their bikes in New York City, including two from the Bronx. But in the confines of the northwest Bronx, there have been zero cyclists, pedestrians, or motorist fatalities, but there have been 201 injuries.

Within a decade before the road narrowing was implemented, there were only two pedestrian and one driver fatalities, with 52 injuries for pedestrians, 73 motorists, and three cyclists.

“Remember that poor woman who got killed up in Kappock? (Ruth Mullen) We have talked about that intersection for years, and we needed someone to get killed to have something changed,” Jonathan said.

Riverdale Avenue, Mosholu Avenue, bicycles, DOT, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Jonathan Cane,