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Prospect Park West bike lane is underway

The Brooklyn Paper
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Construction is underway on the Prospect Park West bike lane — a controversial measure that the city says will calm traffic, but that has done little to calm Park Slope drivers angry at the possibility of more congestion and less parking.

The new lane markings that were painted on Tuesday show the beginnings of a two-way bike lane that will stretch from Grand Army Plaza to Bartel Pritchard Square, along with the four-foot buffer zone beside it that will result in one fewer lane for drivers.

The city says that the removal of the lane will reduce the well-documented speeding on Prospect Park West. Opponents — Borough President Markowitz among them — claim that the measure is too detrimental for drivers in a neighborhood already plagued by terrible traffic.

“It’s going to impact traffic terribly,” said Jack Nayer, a Park Slope local at a recent public hearing. “Just a few yards away is a bike lane — it’s called Prospect Park! Why not use that?”

But regardless of the gripes, the city is pushing ahead. Department of Transportation officials said implementation of the bike lane would begin in June — and judging by the fact that the new markings appeared on the first day of the month, the city wants to complete the project faster than a soccer dad racing to a AYSO game.

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Reader Feedback

Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
The bike lane is only "controversial" in your headlines. Far more people support this important traffic-calming project than oppose it, and as for "terrible traffic," have you actually gone out and observed Prospect Park West? The only terrible thing about it is the speeding, caused by too much road capacity and low traffic volumes.

Thanks, DOT, for taking this important step to make Prospect Park West calmer and safer.
June 2, 2010, 7:38 am
Bob DeAmbra from Park Slope says:
Mean Streets?

This isn't controversial at all, except for in your rag of a paper. Long-planned, it's not being thrown up before anyone can notice, as your article very clearly suggests. And not one quote from a supporter?

Clear what your editorial stance is. You don't have one.
June 2, 2010, 9:39 am
matt from kensignton says:
Jack Nayer, I would be happy to use the bike lane we already have that you call Prospect Park as soon as you and your other car owners get out of Prospect Park. The park is a death trap for cyclist and pedestrians that use it during rush hour. Cars in excess of 40 mph!!!
June 2, 2010, 10:05 am
Alec from Kensington says:
I am an avid biker but this is just a bad idea and a waste of money. This is a situation where bikers can easily bike through the park or on the very large sidewalk. If you want to calm traffic put in speed bumps or stop signs. this is a waste of scarce financial resources. Have you seen what they did to the circle near the tennis bubble? It's a congested, confusing nightmare now with too many lines, signs, and other visual pollution.
June 2, 2010, 11:36 am
Jeff from Williamsburg says:
I don't get why people think it's important that we retain all three automobile lanes. Just a few blocks away is a perfectly good automobile lane--It's called the BQE. Use that!
June 2, 2010, 11:50 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
It always felt weird biking on this stretch. I think allowing bikes to ride on the sidewalk here would have been a better alternative.
June 2, 2010, 11:59 am
Mike from Ft Greene says:
I am patiently awaiting a retraction and apology from the Brooklyn Paper for its misguided and biased stance and unfair articles against this bike lane. I'll give you until the end of the summer -- is that fair?
June 2, 2010, 12:06 pm
Moshe Aron Kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
I mentioned a week or so ago that I finally got my bike. A friend sold it to me for just fifteen dollars
June 2, 2010, 2:42 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
@Mike: why do they owe you an apology? Are you a bike lane?
June 2, 2010, 2:43 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
@Moshe: great job! let's all brag about the great deals we got when we bought stolen goods!
June 2, 2010, 2:44 pm
Bill from Bklyn says:
The same Markowitz who advocates illegally riding bikes on the sidewalk?

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/markowitz_calls_dot_chief_zealot_aBE5Q9cEGFmU2edyJWdZgK

Probably safer to do so in front of his quiet Windsor Terrace home than on the busy and less Police-patrolled sidewalks of Prospect Park West, but what do I know.

Why such a bike lane adjacent to a park would be controversial to anyone (except maybe Irene Lo Re) is mind boggling.
June 2, 2010, 6:16 pm
Brooklyn from Brooklyn says:
Nice to see (a minority of) the motoring minority up in arms for a change. Keep up the the good work of improving NYC for the people!
June 2, 2010, 8:01 pm
david from park slope says:
yes the selfish bikers who dont care that the average biker because of his selfish bike lanes inconviences 568 cars not counting there passengers. My mother and grand mother and most other people living here cant take a bike. Most current bikers wont be biking like the selfish children that they are in forty years either. Who has to breath the exhust because of the selfish bikers???.... everyone. Hey idiots we need the internal combustion engine to make bikes... children going on forty
June 2, 2010, 10:34 pm
j mork from p hts says:
The real reason for this change seems to be to reduce excess capacity and motorized speeding on PPW. So it will be easier for your elders to cross it.
June 3, 2010, 9:12 am
Jonathan from Brooklyn Heights says:
David,

It's true that some folks of a certain age may not be capable of riding a bike.

But in Northern European cities, cycling is the customary mode of transportation for hundreds of thousands, and the road infrastructure makes it safe.

There, large numbers of senior citizens take to the streets on bikes every day. Even when its raining or snowing.

And they're healthier too, since they've cycling all their lives.

In New York, the more residents who trade in their cars for bikes, the less congestion the remaining drivers will face.

And clearly, driving is the most "selfish" and costly form of ground transportation in terms of resource depletion and environmental damage.

How many more Gulf oil spills do you think the planet (and our economy) can take?
June 3, 2010, 9:38 am
richie rich from parkslope says:
this was a good idea to slow the traffic down. i witness a few times cars go drag racing down prospect park west.
wish list- don't allow cars in prospect park.
June 3, 2010, 10:04 am
David from Reality says:
Brooklyn Paper: When the "soccer dad" kills someone because of his "racing" to an AYSO game, I hope it's himself alone, and not some other kid on his way to the game.
June 3, 2010, 10:14 am
David from Reality says:
david from park slope, you're all over the place and wrong in all of them.

1. "we need the internal combustion engine to make bikes." Maybe in your hidebound alternate universe. "Need?" Strange, considering bikes were invented well before cars.

2. Seniors (mostly) don't bike, therefore there should be no bike infrastructure. Pretty much what you're saying. Might as well scrap the subway, while we're at it.

3. Breathing exhaust... Dear friend, exhaust levels are higher inside cars than outside them. Might seem impossible to your pre-Renaissance-science thinking, but it's true, babe.
June 3, 2010, 10:24 am
citizen from park slope says:
I'm another car off the road, now that I can safely bike commute to the navy yard.
June 3, 2010, 11:22 am
Reggie from Prospect Heights says:
Cycling does not need to be a strenuous activity, and cycling a given distance is far easier than walking it - extending mobility well into the senior years.

We seem to have a mental problem imagining seniors doing something we falsely equate with the Tour de France, but like David, I have also seen large numbers of retired people cycling in Europe, including long-distance touring groups. Most seniors could easily make their daily trips by bike and would benefit from it, while the disabled and extremely aged will have no better luck with driving or walking - there is nothing unique about cycling in this regard.
June 3, 2010, 11:49 am
Betty from Park Slope says:
I can live without the third car lane so long as this new bike lane does not impact parking on PPW.

I do think that people on bikes going through Park Slope could be more considerate. I often see bicyclists going through red lights, switching from road to sidewalks with pedestrians on a whim and cutting off pedestrians when those on foot have the right of way. If there is going to be an increase in bicycle traffic in Brooklyn, that's fine but people will need to obey the rules of the road and act with common courtesy.
June 3, 2010, 12:39 pm
Kathy from Windsor Terrace says:
Oh so could this be the reason they have rerouted the B69 bus now to go along 7th AVE where the B67 Bus runs...
Doesn't really make sense having two different buses servicing the same area.
June 3, 2010, 3:22 pm
j mork from p hts says:
Kathy -- I don't think the two are related. The bus service cut is just a bus service cut because the state failed to fund transit properly.

So, people who live north of GAP and want to go to the South Slope on the weekend now have to walk a lot more. Some can handle it, others (seniors, e.g) can't. Oh well. Parking's still free though, so grab your spot while you can!
June 4, 2010, 10:18 am
richie rich from parkslope says:
yes, they should intall parking meters at prospect park west.
June 4, 2010, 11:47 am
Alan from Bensonhurst says:
I drive my son to work every day at the Grand Army Plaza library. We are not capable of using bikes from where we are, I wish we could. The traffic is very slow on Prospect Park West when I drive home, there is always some construction or buses blocking at least one lane of traffic. I do not understand the people complaining about cars in the park. They are only there for a few hours in the morning and evening, and they don't go into the bike lane. I think this bike lane on Prospect Park West is going to make a bad traffic situation worse, and I'll be waiting to see just how many people bike during the winter. I'll also be waiting to see what the people in the neighborhood think when the traffic backs up on all the side streets in the area. At a time when the city is laying people off, I don't understand where the money comes from to build a bike lane when the park drive is open to bikers all day long, and Prospect Park West has a wide sidewalk...
June 4, 2010, 3:51 pm
mike from park slope says:
what's with the no parking saturday 8am to 4pm signs on ppw?
June 5, 2010, 9:38 am
Mike from Greenpoint says:
What's with all these people saying that bicyclists should ride in Prospect Park instead of in a safe bike lane on PPW? What's next? Should we rip up the sidewalks because pedestrians can walk in the park too?

Seems that a few selfish drivers can't wrap their minds around the fact that hundreds of thousands of people in NYC use bikes as transportation, and not just as recreation. So telling us to use the park is frankly silly.

We will hear the whining and screaming and sob stories about "congestion", and then when the bike lane will go in, there will be no extra congestion. Then those who were against it will claim they were for it all along. Until the next project.....
June 6, 2010, 9:04 pm
Mike from Greenpoint says:
@Alan,

1. Biking from Bensonhurst is totally doable.

2. Buses ARE traffic, and in fact it is YOU who are blocking them! Why assume that 2 people in a car are more important than 30 people on a bus? Sounds pretty selfish to me.

3. It is not legal to ride on the sidewalk

4. See my above comment about why Prospect Park is not an alternative to a safe bike lane on PPW.

5. What's wrong with cars in the Park... it's a park for crying out loud! You are using as a highway, and not as a park!

6. Actually measured stats completely contradict your behind-the-windshield "observations" re: congestion on PPW.
June 6, 2010, 9:10 pm
Janet from Park Slope says:
First of all, the buses which now run on PPW are re-routed as of the end of the month.
My only problem with the PPW bikelane, as executed, is that the car owners needed to be indulged, so parking spaces needed to be retained. The result, which I experienced yesterday, is that a pedestrian crossing with the light, in a crosswalk, cannot see a biker coming from behind a car, nor can the biker see the pedestrian. There are too many bikers who, if they believe they are in the clear, will run lights.
If there were a few hundred red light tickets given to cyclists, rather than the ridiculous ticketing the other month for not riding in the bike lane near the Bridge (WTF, still), this would be less of an issue.
In the alternative, there should be a wider "no parking" zone on either side of each crosswalk.
June 7, 2010, 9:25 am
mike from park slope says:
why can't we just put the cars back to the curb and put the bike lanes and buffer on the outside? that way cars could use the bike lane when available to reduce congestion; traffic still reduced to two lanes; and ppw is again a grand avenue instead of having cars parked inthe middle of the street
June 7, 2010, 10:31 am
Ann from Park Slope says:
Prospect Park West, previously a gracious, wide street, has been reduced to a parking lot. The riskes to pedestrians are obvious, as the line of cars makes it very difficult for bikers to see pedestrians (particularly given their penchant for running red lights) and for the pedestrians to see bikers. this is a terrible idea, particularly given the proximity of the park. A real detriment to our neighborhood.
June 7, 2010, 10:47 am
Janet from Park Slope says:
Mike asks: "why can't we just put the cars back to the curb and put the bike lanes and buffer on the outside? that way cars could use the bike lane when available to reduce congestion"
He clearly has never been "doored" by a car door, why the buffer is needed. When drivers feel entitled to use the bike lane "when available", it is always deemed available. If you doubt this, come down to Adams or Jay Streets.
I agree that the cars parked in the middle of PPW are ugly and constitute a danger, and it's too bad the politicians will never eliminate that parking because car owners (not the majority of New Yorkers, they forget) will complain.
June 7, 2010, 11:56 am
mike from park slope says:
janet commented to me,

"He clearly has never been "doored" by a car door, why the buffer is needed. When drivers feel entitled to use the bike lane "when available", it is always deemed available. If you doubt this, come down to Adams or Jay Streets."

I have never been doored, but won't the buffer help avoid these accidents; also have the northbound bike lane next to the car lane so bikers have a clear view of departing car people

and I don't think PPW is the same as Adams or Jay - commercial vs residential

As for eliminating parking - then is the park just for people who can walk or ride a bike there?
June 7, 2010, 12:43 pm
milton from milton says:
"why can't we just put the cars back to the curb and put the bike lanes and buffer on the outside? that way cars could use the bike lane when available to reduce congestion"

Yes, that's exactly why we can't.

This project is about taking away lanes from cars.

=================================

Betty -- you say "I can live without the third car lane so long as this new bike lane does not impact parking on PPW. "

Why? It is self-evident that the number of bicyclists accommodated will be more than the number of parking spaces lost. So are you saying that the people trying to park are somehow more important than the people using the bicycle lane?

The fact is that cars use a disproportionate amount of space per person. If we want to maximize the space we have, we should minimize the amount given to cars.
June 7, 2010, 2:22 pm
Boris from Bay Ridge says:
"then is the park just for people who can walk or ride a bike there?"

I think you are starting to get it. Parks are for people. Cars have no business inside a park. As to what mode of transportation you use to get TO the park, whether it's walking, biking, driving, or taking the bus, it really doesn't matter as long as you compensate other people for your actions that negatively affect them. The fact that cars can still park for free on this street is a huge subsidy for car owners, so they are still getting away with a lot - despite the lost lane of traffic.
June 7, 2010, 3:43 pm
Ann from Park Slope says:
"This project is about taking away lanes from cars."
I understood the purpose of the "project" to be "traffic calming," not punitive. As others have noted, there are far more effective ways to "calm" traffic, including changing the timing of lights, installing speed bumps, or using radar to detect speeders. The reality is that many people need to own cars. The needs of all---bikers, pedestrians, and drivers-- could be accomodated in a much less onerous fashion.
June 7, 2010, 4:53 pm
milton from milton says:
Right. The community asked for traffic calming on PPW. This is being accomplished by removing a motoring lane.

It doesn't seem onerous at all, as the DOT found that the old street had much more capacity than was used. Now the street will be safer for everyone and open to more users than ever. How is this punitive?
June 7, 2010, 5:16 pm
mike from Greenpoint says:
Ann,

Cars have been "accomodated" for over 100 years, and frankly, the non-car-driving majority is tired of it.
June 7, 2010, 5:50 pm
ann from park slope says:
sanctimony running a bit high here. You don't have to be a car lover to dislike this project. Many of us who live here have other objections. As for safety, the current set up poses risks for pedestrians unused to looking both ways on this one way route. Let's face it---many bikers ignore traffic signals. The increased traffic on Prospect Park West will ensure additional traffic on our side streets. And the bus will no longer run along Prospect Park West, a significant loss to the senior citizens living in the nursing home. Why not ban cars from the park? It would accommodate those who live here, and those who pass through on their bikes.
June 7, 2010, 7:37 pm
franklyn from park slope says:
milton from milton, who made you king? - nobody sold this project as "taking away lanes from cars"; are you telling me bikes can't share lanes with cars? then take the bike lane off of 5th avenue

the community asked for traffic calming? when? oh at a PSCC meeting - in my experience usually a disorganized affair to "gather information" so that their board members can recommend whatever they want

what is self-evident is that DOT should close the park to cars - there's your bike lane

and what's wrong with having parking, especially when taking it away reduces safety?

as for the non-car driving majority, how much do you pay in property taxes? We who live here are entitled to a voice in the way our neighborhood is used.

June 7, 2010, 8:55 pm
milton from milton says:
Franklyn, ooh, I'm king? When do the checks start coming?

But seriously, though, 1300 community members signed a petition asking for this. I went to the DOT unveiling and it was clearly sold as taking away a motor lane that was underutilized (and therefore engendering excessive speed). Instead this space will be used to fill in a gap in the bicycling network. (Since the park lanes go counter-clockwise, there's no good northbound bike route from the south slope.)

My main problem with parking is that we're giving valuable real estate away for free to anyone wants it, which causes more demand than supply. How about we just say that one of the spaces being taken away was my space? Since I don't own a car, it's a wash.

(And yes, I pay property taxes, too [and, duh, even those pesky renters pay property taxes indirectly through their landlords].)

===============

Ann, the buses being taken away have nothing to do with this project. That is solely because the State Legislature failed to properly fund mass transit.

DOT believes that PPW can handle the motor traffic volume and will be safer because of this treatment. They have the numbers that show a reduction in injuries after past similar projects. Why not give them the benefit of the doubt and see what the results are here?
June 8, 2010, 9:57 am
franklyn from park slope says:
milton, what petition? how was it distributed? when?

also wasn't the PPW bus rerouted to 7th ave? it still exists juston a different route that overlaps with another bus route?

put the cars on the eastside curb; run the northbound bike lane next to the cars to avoid "dooring"; run the southbound bike lane with traffic; have a buffer; two lanes of traffic; one lane of parking on the westside curb

1. mantains same number of parking spaces
2. safer for bikers and pedestrians
3. maintains ppw as a visually elegant, traffic calmed thoroughfare
June 8, 2010, 7:10 pm
milton from milton says:
Petition:
http://www.parkslopeneighbors.org/two_way_pet.htm

That's right, but the PPW bus route (B69) will be discontinued on weekends and only rerouted to 7th during the week.

Also mentioned at the DOT unveiling, "counterflow" bike lanes (such as the northbound one you suggest) are too dangerous, as the cyclists then have to ride facing traffic with no physical protection.

I also don't see what's visually inelegant about a separated bike lane. Beauty in the eye of the beholder, etc.
June 9, 2010, 10:35 am
Ann from Park Slope says:
When was this petition distributed, in what fashion, and to whom? I must have missed it.
As for safety, I guess the numerous bikers recently seen biking on Prospect Park West---not in the bike line, but right there with the traffic--didn't get that memo.
Perhaps the next addition to our neighborhood will be some lovely plastic beach chairs, just like they have in Times Square. Or maybe a stroller lane.
June 9, 2010, 1:01 pm
MrsMcLovin from Park Slope says:
In just two days, I've seen more bikers on the sidewalks and riding on the opposite side of the bike lane than bikers in the bike lane. I've heard more outrage than positive reactions about the bike lane too.

What's worse is that the visual beauty of PPW has been destroyed. In their quest to go green, the DOT and their biker advocates have made PPW a visual eyesore.
June 9, 2010, 1:16 pm
Mike from Ft Greene says:
PPW hasn't had any visual beauty since it was converted to a 5-lanes-for-cars monstrosity in the '50s or so. It was a traffic sewer. The bike lane will improve things dramatically for everyone.
June 9, 2010, 1:47 pm
milton from milton says:
You'll have to ask Park Slope Neighbors about the petition, Ann.
June 9, 2010, 2:50 pm
ann from park slope says:
Apparently the bike lane "improve things darmatically" for everyone except those who actually live in Park Slope.
June 9, 2010, 3:07 pm
Mike from Ft Greene says:
For real? For cyclists, obviously, there's a bike path. For local residents, they will be able to cross the street safely to get to the park, because a 45-50mph surface highway will be tamed to operate more like a normal street. Drivers will drive on a safer street at a saner pace. All of those people may or may not live in Park Slope, but the benefits are the same for everyone.
June 9, 2010, 5:13 pm
Janet from Park Slope says:
As of this morning, only a teeny bit of the bike lane was even painted green. There are no stencils and no signs.
It's a little premature to declare this a failure. But since most of us spend our lives talking to the people who agree with us, there are people who are only going to hear the complaints.
June 9, 2010, 6:41 pm
ann from park slope says:
For real. strangely, this pedestrian didn't feel all that safe tonight when not one, not two, but three bikers nearly ran us down ON THE SIDEWALK right next to the bike lane. And I wasn't even listening to someone who agreed with me.
June 9, 2010, 10:16 pm
Ft Greene says:
Ann, the bike lane isn't even done yet. Which means it isn't officially open. Give the city time to finish it and give everyone a couple months to get used to its existence before you declare it a failure!
June 10, 2010, 11:39 am
mike from park slope says:
Well, Ft. Greene, we residents don't have much choice, do we? tough town if this is the standard---that it's ok to roar down the sidewalk on your fabulous bike because the bike line isn't completely painted yet. There should be and already is a bike lane - its a few peddles away - in the park. Why not take the simple step that appeals to everyone - close the park to cars and save the money? The asserted purpose of the change was "traffic calming"--much more effective ways of doing that, as others have said.
June 10, 2010, 10:48 pm
john from ps says:
Biking on the sidewalk is illegal (if you are not a kid). But that's not this bike lane's fault is it?

When one motor vehicle driver breaks a law or threatens you physically, do you scream out against roads and demand that they go drive in the park instead? Why or why not?
June 11, 2010, 1:21 pm
Ft Greene says:
Mike, those allegedly effective ways of traffic calming from another post just don't work. Narrowing the effective roadway width does work.

Sure, those cyclists you saw on the sidewalk could have been using the bike lane. But if they weren't following the blogs, they wouldn't necessarily even know it was supposed to be a bike lane. It doesn't have bike symbols, or bike lane signs, yet. Once those are installed, expect people to know to use it.

Closing the park to cars would be great, but it wouldn't accomplish the traffic-calming benefits of this project. Nor would it serve northbound cyclists or those going between any destinations other than GAP, 3rd St, and 15th St.
June 11, 2010, 1:40 pm
Ann from Park Slope says:
I'm curious about the petition to which many posters refer. Was there any requirement that signers actually live in Park Slope, or could any interested person sign it?
June 11, 2010, 2:44 pm
Fran from Park Slope says:
All this talk about petitions, communnty involvement and aesthetics....the Commissioner of DOT has turned our once lovely and graceful neighborhood into a a parking lot of Wal Mart...does anyone know who she is? Has she come to our community to see what she has done? Who anointed her the Queen of public spaces in this city?
June 11, 2010, 8:27 pm
franklyn from park slope says:
fran,
Surely Janette knows our neighborhood intimately. Why, I'm certain I've seen her driver pass through Park Slope! I hear her next project is a segue lane on the BQE!!
June 11, 2010, 10:08 pm
Fran from Park Slope says:
Franklyn you are completely right. Does the DOT commissioner or any of her staff know our neighborhood or appreciate the destruction they have brought? This morning I was headed to the farmers market and the traffic was backed up thru Grand Army Plaza. What I would like to know if any studies were done to anticipate the rise in traffic when the bike lane was completed? Talk about traffic calming and concerns for pedestrians, the site I saw this morning was very dangerous. The DOT commissioner must come to Park Slope and have a meeting with the community and explain what she has done. But when I say the community I mean the people who live here and must deal with this unsafe and improper use of our space. Has the DOT commissioner put this kind of bike land in her neighborhood? Why not try this on 5th Avenue in Manhattan or Central Park West, DOT would never have the nerve......
June 12, 2010, 5:14 pm
Fran from Park Slope says:
Franklyn you are completely right. Does the DOT commissioner or any of her staff know our neighborhood or appreciate the destruction they have wrought? This morning I was headed to the farmers market and the traffic was backed up thru Grand Army Plaza. What I would like to know if any studies were done to anticipate the rise in traffic when the bike lane was completed? Talk about traffic calming and concerns for pedestrians, the site I saw this morning was very dangerous. Furthermore, there should have been an environmental impact study to measure the increase in emissions that residents, including many young children, are now subject to, due to the slower moving and idled traffic on Prospect Park West. The DOT commissioner, herself, must come to Park Slope and have a meeting with the community and explain what DOT has done. But when I say the community I mean the people who live and work here and must deal with this unsafe and improper use of our space, and not ideological, extreme and undemocratic activists who may have legitimate ultimate ends of reducing our dependence on cars, but are willing to pursue elitist and harmful means at any and all costs. Has the DOT commissioner put this kind of bike land in her neighborhood? Why not try this on 5th Avenue in Manhattan or Central Park West. DOT would never have the nerve......
June 12, 2010, 5:23 pm
Leslie from Park Slope says:
The change to PPW is a disgrace and I don't understand why more people are not outraged. I am a resident of PPW, a bike rider and a car owner, and those who advocated for this bike lane have created havoc. The problems have already begun with double park cars, reducing this once-beautiful boulevard to a one lane mess. This new design will be much more dangerous to bikers and pedestrians. It looks horrible and it an accident waiting to happen. WE MUST REVERSE THIS MISTAKE.
June 12, 2010, 5:53 pm
Ann from Park Slope says:
I agree wholeheartedly. Traffic is anything but "calm" as a result of this eyesore. And to be clear, my opposition to this has nothing to do with being pro-car or anti-bike. DOT was bent on doing this, irrespective of the wishes of the people that live here. And with no effort to try less expensive, more effective methods of traffic calming---which by the way, I do not believe was ever a real issue.
June 12, 2010, 6:17 pm
mike from park slope says:
golly gee, i just rode my bike all over the borough, from park slope to coney island and sunset park to coney island and you know what? very few of the bike lanes are protected!!!! i rode from park slope to cobble hill to brooklyn heights and again very, few, protected, bike lanes; how about that! why can't we have an unprotected bike lane on PPW? Of course, if you must have a protected bike lane, simply pedal a few feet over.....to the park.
June 13, 2010, 9:01 pm
john from ps says:
Isn't double parking illegal?

Cars should be banned from PPW until they can follow the law.
June 14, 2010, 10:04 am
Ft Greene says:
John is right. If the problems are caused by double-parkers, then your beef should be with the double-parkers, not the bike lane.
June 14, 2010, 12:48 pm
Ann from Park Slope says:
Occasionally, it is actually necessary to double park, particularly in front of the nursing home at the corner of union and ppw. There are also some disabled people who require a bit of time to get into cars. Unfortunately, they can't ride bikes. Obviously, the advocates for this particular bike lane are unlikely to change their views, just as those who oppose it are unlikely to change. The problems, however, cannot be addressed simply by pitting bike enthusiasts against motorists in a kind of "bikes good, cars bad" argument. People who live in this neighborhood, and especially along PPW, have an interest in the way the space is used; property values are affected by the way PPW now looks and by the increase in traffic.
June 14, 2010, 5:07 pm
Fran from Park Slope says:
If we are going to enforce the law, as others have suggested, why not also include bicyclists in this crackdown? This includes those who let their children ride without helmets, who don't obey traffic signals, who go the wrong way down one way streets, and so on.
June 14, 2010, 10:10 pm
Ft Greene says:
Indeed, Ann, property values are affected -- in fact, property values are increased by having a calmer, quieter street, with easier pedestrian crossings to the park, and better bicycle access.
June 15, 2010, 12:42 pm
ann from park slope says:
Why, Ft. Greene! are you also a property owner in Park Slope? If so, you should check it out----not so calm and quiet and wonderful on PPW these days.
June 15, 2010, 1:15 pm
Pablo from Park Slope says:

We just had last night the first accident of the "new bike lane era" involving a car and a biker in PPW and 3rd st.
I never experienced this in my 7 years of living in PPW and suddenly this is happening now.This will be the first of many accidents involving bycicles, cars and pedestrians ( I hope I'm wrong).The cars DO NOT go slower than before (stop signs,bumps,slower and non- synchronized lights would have been better for the purpose of slowing down traffic) and the worst part is: I could count with my fingers the amount of bikers that I saw using the new lane.They still prefer the park or the sidewalk as it should be.It's safer for everybody, including them.
June 16, 2010, 12:44 am
Ann from Park Slope says:
Don't worry, Pablo. Someone from another neighborhood will soon weigh in to educate you on why this is such a great thing for our neighborhood.
June 16, 2010, 10:08 am
Mike says:
Pablo, why would you rather have the massive traffic jams that would result from stop signs or speed bumps (which are never used on streets with bus routes) than the moderate traffic calming effect of removing a lane? My guess is that if the city had proposed any of those things, you'd be against them too. The fact of the matter is that we need to provide a safe cycling network, especially in neighborhoods like Park Slope that have lots of cyclists. This is a great step towards that -- or will be, when the lane is finished and officially open.
June 16, 2010, 12:42 pm
Ann from Park Slope says:
Yes, Pablo, you see, it is so much better to have PPW look like a parking lot, and to have the traffic slowing while people try to parallel park in these wondrous mid street parking spots, or while trucks make deliveries. All this is much, much better for your neighborhood. If only you would just accept it. Just keep repeating the mantra--"traffic calming. traffic calming." It's quite soothing, really.
June 16, 2010, 12:53 pm
Steve from Park Slope says:
Based on the comments below, certainly seems like we have a controversy. If you're opposed to the bike lane like I am, let your views be known to:

Brad Lander, City Council
lander@council.nyc.gov

Craig Hammerman, District Manager Community Board 6
districtmanager@brooklyncb6.org

There's a formal evaluation period following implementation, where the City Council, DOT and 78th precinct will evaluate success/failure of the new lane. I'm sure formal evidence, i.e. photos of congested PPW and unused bike lane will help support your views.

I'm a 25 year resident of Park Slope, a cyclist and a driver and I think the bike lane is terrible idea for the following reasons::

• there's already a bike lane in Prospect Park which runs parallel and is only 100 yards away
• the park is the destination of most cyclists along PPW and those cyclists have an existing safe option in the park
. in its prior state PPW, was less congested and wider so cycling along PPW was never an issue to begin with
• on any given day traffic along PPW is noticeably worse while the bike lane is hardly used
• traffic congestion is further exacerbated by passenger car parallel parking and school bus / FedEx / UPS / construction truck-related double parking
• the bike lane has made it more hazardous to people crossing PPW as the bike lane provides for two-way traffic while PPW is one-way
• the bike lane has made it unsafe for drivers attempting to park on PPW as parallel parking is more precarious
. the lane has made it dangerous for passengers to exit a parked vehicle due to insufficient shoulder clearance, particularly on the passendger side
• walking along PPW is now like walking along the BQE with associated fumes, honking horns and stressed-out drivers

I like/make use of the bike lanes on 2nd, 3rd, Smith St and Boerum Place. All are well designed and implemented with limited negative impact. The bike lane on PPW on the other hand, is a bad idea.
June 16, 2010, 2:34 pm
Mike says:
• there's already a bike lane in Prospect Park which runs parallel and is only 100 yards away

-> In one direction. With entrances only at GAP, 3rd St, and 15th St. Hardly sufficient for all/most trips.

• the park is the destination of most cyclists along PPW and those cyclists have an existing safe option in the park

-> Many trips around the neighborhood don't start or end in the park. Not sure why you'd think it's the majority of trip destinations.

. in its prior state PPW, was less congested and wider so cycling along PPW was never an issue to begin with

-> Sure it was, for cyclists who wanted to survive. Drivers were so aggressive that cyclists were forced to cower in fear, or use the sidewalk illegally for their own safety. Northbound cyclists had no safe and legal route.

• on any given day traffic along PPW is noticeably worse while the bike lane is hardly used

-> The bike lane is not even open yet, and non-obsessive-blog-readers probably don't even know it's there. Give it time.

• traffic congestion is further exacerbated by passenger car parallel parking and school bus / FedEx / UPS / construction truck-related double parking

-> Double parking is illegal and requires proper enforcement.

• the bike lane has made it more hazardous to people crossing PPW as the bike lane provides for two-way traffic while PPW is one-way

-> So how does that make it more hazardous? There's good visibility at crossings of the bike lane, and bikes go much slower than cars.

• the bike lane has made it unsafe for drivers attempting to park on PPW as parallel parking is more precarious

-> Precarious how? It's geometrically the same. They'll get used to it.

. the lane has made it dangerous for passengers to exit a parked vehicle due to insufficient shoulder clearance, particularly on the passendger side

-> Same clearance vs. moving vehicles as before on the passenger side.

• walking along PPW is now like walking along the BQE with associated fumes, honking horns and stressed-out drivers

Uh... that's hardly plausible. Have you ever walked along (or under) the BQE?
June 16, 2010, 4:19 pm
john from park slope says:
• Prospect Park lane does not go northbound
• Which study of bicycle destinations are you citing?
• I am on PPW almost every day; traffic is noticably better.
• Double parking is illegal. I have observed impatient drivers getting upset at parkers. Patience is the solution.
• I feel much safer crossing PPW now
• I like how you blame fumes, honking and stressed out drivers something other than the cars and the drivers themselves.
June 16, 2010, 4:23 pm
Steve from Park Slope says:
-> In one direction. With entrances only at GAP, 3rd St, and 15th St. Hardly sufficient for all/most trips.

- I'm a cyclist and never found it insufficient

-> Many trips around the neighborhood don't start or end in the park. Not sure why you'd think it's the majority of trip destinations.

- then perhaps you need a bike lane for all of your destinations, or perhaps a chaperone?

-> Sure it was, for cyclists who wanted to survive. Drivers were so aggressive that cyclists were forced to cower in fear, or use the sidewalk illegally for their own safety. Northbound cyclists had no safe and legal route.

- in 25 years in brooklyn, I've never seen a cyclist cower in fear. PPW was sufficently wide for a cyclist to ride without risk. As is 8th ave for your Northbound route

-> The bike lane is not even open yet, and non-obsessive-blog-readers probably don't even know it's there. Give it time.

- funny, I see the bike lanes, traffic, and cars parked in a new place. seems open to me

-> Double parking is illegal and requires proper enforcement.

- sure and let's use taxpayer money for 24 hour block by block police surveillance. anyway, it's impossible to own a vehicle in the city without periodic, temporary double parking. you must not own one

-> So how does that make it more hazardous? There's good visibility at crossings of the bike lane, and bikes go much slower than cars.

- So you say. I expect to see greater pedestrian/bike accidents. i hope I won't have to.

-> Precarious how? It's geometrically the same. They'll get used to it.

- I guess "they" means you don't drive. I suggest you try it and test out your math

-> Same clearance vs. moving vehicles as before on the passenger side.

- not so. wait, I thought you're the mathmetican. I expect better.

-> Uh... that's hardly plausible. Have you ever walked along (or under) the BQE

- OK, an exaggeration. But it's certainly not as pleasant as it used to be.
June 16, 2010, 4:58 pm
Mike says:

- in 25 years in brooklyn, I've never seen a cyclist cower in fear. PPW was sufficently wide for a cyclist to ride without risk. As is 8th ave for your Northbound route

** As if. The aggressive motorists made sure that only extremely experienced, fearless cyclists would dare to ride on those streets. This will open it up to virtually everyone.

- funny, I see the bike lanes, traffic, and cars parked in a new place. seems open to me

** Is it marked? Are there signs?

- sure and let's use taxpayer money for 24 hour block by block police surveillance. anyway, it's impossible to own a vehicle in the city without periodic, temporary double parking. you must not own one

** Indeed, like the large majority of residents of Brownstone Brooklyn, I don't own a car, and I want my city to be a safe place for the majority who don't own cars.
June 17, 2010, 12:52 pm
Ann from Park Slope says:

As one of the runners who "cowers in fear" from the bikers in prospect park, I'm pretty sure they can take care of themselves.
Bikers have plenty of options in the slope. And since this wasn't allegedly about bikers, but about traffic, I still say the neighborhood deserves a better alternative.
June 17, 2010, 2:39 pm
Steve from Park Slope says:
** As if. The aggressive motorists made sure that only extremely experienced, fearless cyclists would dare to ride on those streets. This will open it up to virtually everyone.

- what fiction novel are you writing anyway?

** Is it marked? Are there signs?

- no, there are just cyclists. one every 15 minutes

** Indeed, like the large majority of residents of Brownstone Brooklyn, I don't own a car, and I want my city to be a safe place for the majority who don't own cars

- once again, melodramatic, self-absorbed and wrong. Sounds like what you need is a cocoon
June 17, 2010, 3:25 pm
Janet from Park Slope says:
The lane doesn't appear to be "done", since there are still plenty of cones around, no stencilling or line indicating that it is indeed two way. Parking isn't clearly marked, either, so while the painted markings would suggest that there is no parking around and between the crosswalks, there are no signs to that effect, and I noted a car parked between the crosswalks at Carroll Street this morning.
Pedestrians also have reason to be concerned about the flashing yellow lights at the traffic-light corners, which would seem to suggest that cyclists are no longer obligated to stop for red lights.
June 17, 2010, 6:04 pm
ann from park slope says:
My guess is that once Mike from undefined neighborhood (but I'm betting not park slope) has a few kids, he will join the car owning minority (hybrid, of course).
June 17, 2010, 11:43 pm
j mork from p hts says:
Here's the car ownership figures for 11215, by household:

http://notlong.com/11215-cars

Comes out to 57.4% car-free.
June 18, 2010, 10:08 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Janet/Ann,

Not sure if you saw my initial comment above, but the following are people to whom you should express your view. I've done so and tell everyone I see in Park Slope to do the same. All of whom, so far, feel the same way I do. I don't know if it will accomplish anything, but the DOT is supposedly undergoing a formal evaluation period. I also contacted Marty Markowitz. He, by the way, was adamantly opposed to the bike lane.

Janette Sadik-Khan
http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/maildot.html

Brad Lander, City Council
lander@council.nyc.gov

Craig Hammerman, District Manager Community Board 6
districtmanager@brooklyncb6.org

Richard Bashner
chairperson@brooklyncb6.org (not sure if this email is correct)

By the way, thanks for the data j mork. Not quite the landslide it was purported to be.
June 18, 2010, 10:20 am
j mork from p hts says:
Thank you also. I just wrote the above in support of the bike lane.
June 18, 2010, 1:22 pm
Mike says:
Some of Park Slope is in zip code 11217, which is 66% car-free using the same data source.

Even most of the people who have cars "available", according to census data, don't use them for most of their trips.

Regardless, what is clear is that the bike lane is unfinished, there's no traffic apocalypse, and that we need to engineer our neighborhoods to be safe for everyone, including the car-free majority.
June 18, 2010, 3:39 pm
Mac from F'bush says:
This idiotic PPW traffic calming project is matched only by the brainless reconfiguration of the PPSW/Coney Island Avenue trafffic circle.
June 18, 2010, 3:46 pm
Mac from F'bush says:
This idiotic PPW traffic calming project is matched only by the brainless reconfiguration of the PPSW/Coney Island Avenue traffic circle.
June 18, 2010, 3:46 pm
Mike says:
I have to confess I was wrong. While my previous posts were in support of the bike lane, I have now come to realize that the current plan is nothing more than a waste of money that could be better spent on low cost alternatives to traffic calming such as retiming traffic signals to avoid speeding. Moreover, the money saved could be used to fund programs to teach biker public courtesy and respect for all that use public spaces. Finally, I admit that I use unprotected bike lanes on a daily basis and have never been in an accident and now publicly state that moving the parked cars back to the curb and building an unprotected bike lane with two traffic calmed lanes of traffic is the most democratic solution for all concerned parties.
June 20, 2010, 9:23 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Wow, Mike! I like the change of heart and couldn't have said it better.

I saw some flyers about a meeting in Prospect Park to air views on the bike lane:

Location: The lawn across from 5th St.
Date/Time: Monday 6/21 at 7pm

As for j mork, no skin off my nose as they say. It's your right to support anything you want. I just don't agree with you and happen to think your in the substantial minority.

June 20, 2010, 4:48 pm
J Mork from p hts says:
I really don't think so. The people who perceive themselves as losers will squawk the loudest. The silent majority just goes out and enjoys it.
June 21, 2010, 9:55 am
Mike says:
Mike @ 9:23 is not the same as Mike from earlier in this thread, which is me.

Shame on you, whoever impersonated me and put words in my mouth.

The PPW bike lane is an asset to the community.
June 21, 2010, 12:19 pm
j mork from p hts says:
I know I'm shocked, Mike. Hysteria mongers are out monging their hysteria in full force. Could you imagine if we made them start paying for their parking spots?
June 21, 2010, 5:16 pm
Mike says:
Don't even talk that way. Don't you know it's un-American to price parking spots according to the free market? We should have them rationed by who's willing to wait the longest to circle to find a spot -- you know, like the Soviet Union.
June 22, 2010, 11:30 am
Kate from Park Slope says:
This is an accident waiting to happen. It's even more dangerous to pedestrians now. Cyclist don't follow the laws they are supposed to; to stop at red lights and crosswalks. So how would an elderly person or anyone cross the street, having to watch a two-way bike lane, as well as a congested one-way street. And what about the kids? What happens when someone's ball goes rolling out a bit into the street, where cars would normally be parked, and the child chases after it and gets hit by a bike? That could be deadly. How many people will have to get hurt before the DOT changes this back?
June 25, 2010, 12:15 am
Mike says:
You seriously think that 15mph 200lb bikes are more of a safety hazard than 50mph 4000lb cars? I'd much, much rather have a kid running out into a bike lane than into the pre-traffic-calming street.
June 25, 2010, 2:39 pm
becky from park slope says:
Mike:
Clearly you don't live in this neighborhood. and I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you don't have children. This is bad for OUR neighborhood. There are better alternatives. Not everything is about bikers.
June 26, 2010, 10:15 pm
Mike says:
I spent quite a while along PPW on Saturday, and it's quite clear that the bike lane is doing what it's designed to do. Traffic is moving slower, visibility at crosswalks is excellent, no bikes cut off any pedestrians. The painted refuge areas at the crosswalks are doing their job, although they'd be better built out as concrete. It's just completely impenetrable to me how ANYONE could think that this was not a safer design for everyone -- cyclists, pedestrians, motorists.
June 28, 2010, 11:18 am
Mike says:
Glad to see the Brooklyn Paper has come to their senses and admitted that this project is a success:
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/33/27/bp_bikelaneedit.html
July 1, 2010, 9:34 am

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