Man on mission to stop cyclists from speeding on zebra crossings in Central Park

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NEW YORK — A man is on a mission to stop cyclists and others from speeding on crosswalks in Central Park.

For weeks, he stood right on the corner, capturing hundreds of motorcyclists driving through red lights as people crossed the road.

TNZT’s Zinnia Maldonado heard from residents describing the zebra crossing at the entrance to 63rd Street.

‘Nobody’s paying attention. You basically do your own thing,” said one man.

Road safety activist Jerome Dewalt filmed cyclists and others going through red lights as pedestrians tried to cross.

“We are trying to control traffic through the crosswalk,” he told Maldonado.

Upper West Side residents say he crosses the intersection almost every day, noting the safety hazard.

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“When I heard it was within 100 feet of two schools…I thought this crosswalk is really dangerous for kids,” he said.

In May, he started standing on the corner, recording incident after incident of mostly cyclists going through red lights.

The 71-year-old then created a Change.org petition calling on the Department of Transportation to install traffic-calming devices. So far, it has received more than 1,000 signatures.

“The race bikes are going between 28 and 32 miles per hour, so they are way above the speed limit,” Dewalt said. “So something like junk lanes that can cause cyclists to slow down – 20.”

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Dewalt said injuries occurring at the crosswalk often go unreported, but that doesn’t make the problem any less dangerous.

In 2014, Jill Tarlov, the wife of a former TNZT station director, died after being hit by a bicyclist at the intersection.

“Her head hit the pavement. The cyclist hit her because he was dodging other people on the crosswalk,” Dewalt said.

This week, the DOT installed accessible pedestrian signals, which Dewalt says will hopefully prevent people from crossing through red lights, but doesn’t do much to prevent the real problem.

“The buttons don’t address the issue of speed or stopping at the crosswalk,” he said.

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He said he sees the recent action as a start and hopes more security initiatives will be taken. In the meantime, he will continue his personal efforts to make a difference.

In response to safety concerns, the DOT issued a statement stating, in part, “DOT is committed to the safety and accessibility of Central Park crosswalks… Our recent installation of accessible pedestrian signals at this intersection helps us meet our ambitious goal to have 10,000 intersections equipped with APS by the end of 2031.”

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