Eyes on the Street: NYPD Security Theater Revival in Times Square

Police barricades are back obstructing the Seventh Avenue bike lane in Times Square, which NYPD has made unrideable for most of its existence.

NYPD barricades are back in Times Square's raised bike lane. Photo: Brian Van Nieuwenhoven/Twitter
NYPD barricades are back in Times Square's raised bike lane. Photo: Brian Van Nieuwenhoven/Twitter

The raised bike lane through Times Square was nice while it lasted. Less than two months after NYPD yanked obtrusive barricades from the four-block bike lane segment on Seventh Avenue, police have made it unrideable again.

The raised bike lane on Seventh Avenue between 46th Street and 42nd Street was completed in late 2016, part of the capital construction project for Times Square plazas that took the city several years to build. Just five months later, NYPD closed it off with metal fencing and concrete barriers following a fatal vehicular attack at one of the plazas. The bike lane was rendered obsolete:

Is this really the most sensible solution?

After the West Side Greenway attack last October, NYPD escalated its Midtown security theater. While some fencing in the bike lane disappeared, much of it remained obstructed through the end of 2017.

Then in February, NYPD finally moved its barriers to avoid blocking the bike lane. It was still useless security theater taking up space on the sidewalk, but at least the right of way for bicycling was clear. Police finally cleared the entire stretch, placing new barricade along the sidewalk, out of the way of the bike lane.

NYPD’s brief flirtation with reason was fleeting, apparently. Brian Van Nieuwenhoven shared the top photo on Twitter, showing the barricades back in the bike lane on Saturday. And just like that, with no warning or explanation, police have wiped out a key connection in the city’s bike network.


What’s Up With the Short Raised Bike Lane By Times Square?

New curb-protected raised bike lane 7th Av/46th in Times Sq – sadly it’s only 1 block, w weak connexns to N & S pic.twitter.com/nPIzbMCUu4 — Jon Orcutt (@jonorcutt) January 21, 2016 Yes, there is now a short segment of raised bike lane on Seventh Avenue at Times Square. TransitCenter’s Jon Orcutt tweeted the picture above last […]