By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Four-legged friends and two-wheeled riders are on a one-way path to conflict in Riverside Park.
Dog walkers and cyclists are having a tough time sharing a trail that leads from W. 72nd Street and Riverside Drive to the Waterfront Greenway along the Hudson River.
Dog walkers say cyclists speed on the path, which runs past a dog run. Their complaints led the parks department to put up signs last month asking cyclists to get off their bikes and walk the trail.
Cyclists say they weren't consulted about the signs. Community Board 7's parks committee will discuss the issue at its Monday night meeting.
The conflict was on display Friday afternoon as Marjorie Kagan, 80, of Lincoln Towers, walked her 3-year-old puggle Tzvy. As a cyclist rode past a posted sign reading "Cyclists Must Dismount," Kagan shouted, "You're supposed to be off your bike!"
"They are so arrogant," Kagan told DNAinfo. "They just don't care. I'm not against cycling at all, I think it's great, but they have to obey the rules like everyone else. Somebody is going to get hit and hurt and a dog is going to get killed."
Kagan reasoned that dog walkers are ticketed if they don't pick up their dog's poop, so cyclists should follow park rules too.
But Lisa Sladkus of the Upper West Side Street Renaissance, a bike advocacy group, said bikers were caught off guard by the new dismount rule.
"We feel like this happened without any community input at all," Sladkus said. "This really needed to be more a public decision."
Sladkus said the signs were posted on a path that's been listed on the city's official list of bike paths for years. She measured the path and feels its wide enough to accommodate both walkers and bikers.
Asking cyclists to dismount is dangerous for bikers who wear metal cleats that clip to pedals, because the cleats are very slippery on pavement, Sladkus said.
Sladkus said she'd like to see cyclists and dog walkers reach a solution that works for everyone, such as asking bikers to slow down or yield to pedestrians.
"Riverside Park has worked for decades as a place where we can both be together," Sladkus said. "There are ways of having more of a middle ground."
Vince Meehan, a member of the Riverside Park dog run oversight committee, said his group asked the city to post the dismount signs. At first they requested speed bumps on the path, Meehan, a 54 year-old resident of Schwab Tower at Riverside Drive and W. 73rd Street, said.
Meehan said he recently had a verbal confrontation with a cyclist after his mixed terrier Hennessy darted in front of the biker. But he said he could see both sides of the issue.
"The bikes go a little too fast," Meehan said. "They feel like they own the road. On the other hand, when I'm riding my bike I get a little impatient too, so I understand."