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Marty: Enough with the bike lanes! Brooklyn is not Amsterdam!

The Brooklyn Paper

Borough President Markowitz to the Department of Transportation: New Amsterdam is not Amsterdam!

On the eve of a protest and counter-protest regarding the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane, the Beep forcefully reiterated his die-hard opposition, and took a few more shots at his nemesis, the Department of Transportation.

“Prospect Park West was one of the most beautiful, scenic, majestic thoroughfares in Brooklyn and the bike lane has destroyed its beauty!” said Markowitz.

But the Beep’s aesthetic concerns — which echo the criticisms of other opponents of the lane — were only the beginning.

“[Pedestrians] cannot see bicycles on the other side of parked cars [on Prospect Park West],” said the Beep. “When you cross the street children often break from their parents and there is a danger that a cyclist won’t see the kid in time — or a senior citizen!”

Of course, bike lane supporters say just the opposite; that it has increased safety for cyclists and also reduced speeding cars.

The Beep ain’t buying it.

“I lived on Prospect Park West for eight years! My windows faced it, and I rarely saw speeding,” said Markowitz, adding, “That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but I rarely saw it.”

But Markowitz reserved his strongest ire for the agency that implemented the bike lane, the Department of Transportation.

“They’re using Brooklyn as a guinea pig!” said Markowitz, citing the absence of a similar two-way lane near Central Park. “Nobody asked for this! This is the vision of the DOT! Their belief! Their ideological approach!”

Of course, Community Board 6 did call for such a lane in 2009, and a petition by the group Park Slope Neighbors in favor of the lane garnered over 1,300 signatures, according to the group’s founded, Eric McClure.

Still, Markowitz said the transportation agency has an agenda that goes beyond so-called green transportation.

He added, “It’s the objective of the DOT to, frankly, stigmatize the owners of cars.”

Markowitz proposed a way to reign in the agency, which he said, “is not accountable to anyone.”

“This issue of where to place bike lanes, it’s worthy of review by the City Council,” said Markowitz. “What is our objective in this city? To stigmatize the use of cars? To make it difficult to park? Do we want Brooklyn to replicate Amsterdam? These are legitimate policy issues.”

Updated 2:45 pm, October 20, 2010: Adds more information and context.
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Reader Feedback

Joe from Breezy Point says:
If everybody would just move out of Brooklyn like I did you wouldn't need bike lanes.
Oct. 20, 2010, 12:30 am
Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
Marty is dead on.
Oct. 20, 2010, 2:46 am
Real Talk from Bay Ridge says:
Real Talk, In Amsterdam drivers have been stigmatized, calmed down, and forced to deal with bikes. In order to own a car in Amsterdam you Need to own a parking space, next to No on street parking, Metered parking is much more expensive, Crazy narrow streets with bike lanes, SUV's are banned from many areas of the city, a gallon of gas runs about $9.50 after the Euro to dollar conversion. To Own a Car in Amsterdam Holland is Expensive! Look it up!
Oct. 20, 2010, 3:21 am
A parent from Park Slope says:
Marty is just making things up
Oct. 20, 2010, 5:10 am
Howard from PPW says:
Wow, Marty is like a broken clock. He is correct once ot twice a day. Commissioner, take down those barriers!
Oct. 20, 2010, 6:32 am
Mike from GP says:
Marty: "Do we want Brooklyn to replicate Amsterdam?"

Marty, why do you want Brooklyn to resemble LA?
Oct. 20, 2010, 6:48 am
Chimptastic from Bushwick says:
Finally.

Nothing against cyclists- right, but this borough has morphed into something so different in past years, with the influx of artsy farts who choose to bike for no other reason than to be seen. That's cool, be cool. YaY!

This is a city, duh. So there are rules of road which you must learn, must, because those that choose to ignore, usually find themselves victims of its reality.

This isn't Amsterdam. This isn't the Utopia or Ohio (you left because it was boring but you needed something livelier).

I don't hate cyclists.

I HATE piece of shiiit pedestrians on two wheels who are riding for nothing more than to be cool. Same goes for douches behind a wheel. or in behind anything that can potentially kill my kin and me.
Oct. 20, 2010, 6:58 am
al pankin from downtown says:
Brooklyn is not Paris.....these bikes lanes are not called for..they are dangerous...the bikers do not obey the law and the lanes impede the traffic flow in the streets...
mayor bloomberg has gone overboard and should get rid of the traffic commisioner of the DOT...she is awfull.a prop.
Oct. 20, 2010, 7:56 am
Mike says:
Nobody asked for this?! The local Community Board asked for it, in 2007!

Marty is off his rocker. It's so clear that this street redesign is a huge win for everyone.
Oct. 20, 2010, 8:22 am
JP from clinton hill says:
Cars are 100 times more dangerous than the most reckless cyclist ever could be. Bike are serious transportation, and them more people ride bikes. Brooklyn is changing, for the better IMO and if you want to drive unimpeded by cyclists or pedestrians you can always move to New Jersey.
Oct. 20, 2010, 8:33 am
MJ from Sunset Park says:
Surely the DOT should take Marty's careful traffic study into consideration - he "looked out the window" and he swears there was barely any speeding.

I hope he's there tomorrow, and I hope someone from the community board can explain to him that the neighborhood actually did need a safer PPW. For anyone not driving a car, it was not a "beautiful, scenic, majestic thoroughfare".
Oct. 20, 2010, 8:46 am
John from Kensington says:
I generally like Marty, but on this issue he's dead wrong.
Oct. 20, 2010, 8:56 am
Seth from PS says:
umm... Didn't the community board reach out to the DOT for traffic calming?
Oct. 20, 2010, 9:03 am
Mike says:
Seth: Yes. In June 2007. The minutes are available on the CB6 website.
Oct. 20, 2010, 9:06 am
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
I ride a bicycle to work because it is the only way I can have time to get exercise, given my work and family obligations.

And I use the bicycle lane because the alternative is riding up narrow 8th Avenue, which is dangerous. Under the rules of the road, I have a right to occupy the entire lane on that street, but if I do let's say drivers don't act happy about it.

Once, before the PPW bike lane was installed, I suggested to my daughter that we ride a bike to church. She was so terrorized on 8th Avenue with cars honking and whizzing by that she doesn't ride a bicycle anymore.

Those who complain about testosterone-fueled bike crazies also want to drive everyone else who might ride a bicycle off the street.

"I HATE piece of shiiit pedestrians on two wheels."

Lots of people like you around. I don't hate anybody.
Oct. 20, 2010, 9:34 am
Anders from Clinton Hill says:
Cars were never a good fit for an urban environment and as cities get more crowded, they make even less sense. While delivery trucks have a good reason to be on the streets, cars with individual drivers are simply wasteful, polluting, and dangerous tin cans on wheels.
Oct. 20, 2010, 9:40 am
kevin from flatbush says:
Bike lanes may come and go, but Marty Markowitz is and always will be a pathetic, grand-standing, attention-whoring idiot. Can we eliminate his useless, waste of money job now please? If it weren't for the completely outdated and pointless Borough President position, this obese stain on Brooklyn would have to shut up and find a real job.
Oct. 20, 2010, 9:48 am
LR from boerum hill says:
The bike lanes are a nuissance. There is nowhere to park anymore. One of the reasons to live in Brooklyn is so you can own a car and park it on the street. that is getting harder and harder. I disagree vehemently with Markowitz on Atlantic Yards (he is in large part to blame for the Ratner travesty) but he's dead on about this issue. . . .
Oct. 20, 2010, 9:49 am
john from park slope says:
Marty is an embarrassment. If the Borough President's office had any real responsibility, Marty we'd have a serious person who addresses real problems in charge of America's fifth largest city. Instead we have this Mayor Quimby-grade joker.

Why interview him at all? His comments are uninformed by facts. No speeding on Prospect Park West? That's an easily-disproven lie. No one asked for the bike lane? This project went through multiple public presentations, official approval by the local Community Board, petitions, endorsements by local civic groups, the works.

Forget Marty. The man is a clown.
Oct. 20, 2010, 9:53 am
Mike says:
Actually, LR, there are MORE parking spots on PPW now than there used to be, because the bus stops were turned into parking spots when the bus was rerouted to 7th Ave. (Not because of the bike lane, but around the same time.)

Get your facts straight before you pile on to attack a fantastic project like this one.
Oct. 20, 2010, 9:54 am
robb from park slope says:
Motorists who do not like the bike lane:

Solve the problem where you are killing 225 pedestrians a year in NYC and THEN we'll talk. Figure out how to get people to stop driving 50mph on 6th ave and THEN we'll talk. Puzzle through how to keep motorists from killing kids by not looking before they turn and I will PERSONALLY fight to have all the bike lanes removed.

Until then cars are a threat to life and bikes are a positive alternative that should be encouraged. I am not sorry that you are inconvenienced -- as far as I'm concerned your ability to drive in this city is a privilege not a right and it comes at significant cost that is shared by motorists and non motorists alike.
Oct. 20, 2010, 10 am
Brian from Park Slope says:
I'm a cyclist and I think speeding cars does make BK less safe (almost as much as texting while driving or crossing the street!). But it's pretty silly to put a dedicated bike lane alongside the biggest cycling haven in the borough- Prospect Park.

But it's true- the DOT is overrun w/ idealogues who toy w/ Brooklynite's lives to impress their superiors and spend stimulus $. Maybe if the DOT employees had to drive to work once or twice a week, their perspective might be more balanced....
Oct. 20, 2010, 10:03 am
liam from kensington says:
Time for Marty to move to Jersey.

There are parts of Brooklyn that are underserved by mass transit, but PPW ain't one. There are 4 train lines that serve Park Slope, and multiple bus lines. There are towncars and Zipcars for those who don't own cars.

PPW was built before the car existed - why should the traffic infrastructure be organized around the least used method of transportation, the car? Why should the need to park override the need to move people efficiently?

I'll make a trade with Marty - he can have his bikelane removed IF we get no cars in the park, and 2 way bike lanes in the park. How about it Mahty?
Oct. 20, 2010, 10:07 am
Peter from Park Slope says:
I live in Southern Park Slope, and now that the PPW bike lanes are installed, I can ride with my son all the way to the Grand Army Plaza to take advantage of the library, the farmer's market, Brooklyn museum, and the botanic gardens. Not to mention the fresh air and exercise. Weather permitting, I even ride him to preschool, and then over the Brooklyn bridge to work.
Some bicyclists need to do a better job following the rules of the road, as do some pedestrians and some drivers. But for those of us who do follow the rules, the additional bike lanes in Brooklyn are a great resource and pleasure.
Oct. 20, 2010, 10:10 am
Rob from Greenpoint says:
Yeah, great idea, Marty...let's get the CLOWNS on the
City Council involved. Sheesh, you must have oatmeal
for brains.
Oct. 20, 2010, 10:22 am
Peter #2 from Park Slope says:
I bike, walk, and drive a car on PPW, and I think it's gotten better for all modes of travel. The two way bike path is truly a godsend. I've never had a problem crossing the street - I don't know what Mr. Markowitz is talking about. Who cares if you can't see the other side of the street? When you get to the median, you stop, look both ways, and cross.
As a driver, it hasn't affected me at all. I can't quite reach warp speed the way I used to, but it seems like they timed the lights well so that you can make it from one end to the other usually without stopping.
Oct. 20, 2010, 10:46 am
Dana from Prospect Heights says:
My children and I love the bike lane and we use it for transportation (to get from Prospect Heights to Park Slope and beyond) NOT recreation. That means one fewer car circling around looking for parking.

There's a way to accommodate everyone: remove cars permanently from the park and add a two-way bike lane, implement a different form of traffic-calming on PPW.

Would you agree to that Marty?
Oct. 20, 2010, 10:48 am
Peter #2 from Park Slope says:
BTW, I've corresponded personally with Mr. Markowitz on this issue via email. I recommend getting in touch: marty@brooklynbp.nyc.gov
Oct. 20, 2010, 10:49 am
aud from slope says:
The bike lane haters are a minority. Cities across the U.S. are evolving to be safer, cleaner and healthier. We need that bike lane and we need more protected lanes like it.

There is a gathering at Grand Army Plaza Thursday morning at 8AM to demonstrate support for this lane. Hope you can make it!
Oct. 20, 2010, 10:52 am
JLo from Clinton Hill says:
Its not like all the car lanes have been replaced with bike lanes!
There are still two lanes of car traffic and two lanes of car parking. Sharing is hard when you haven't ever been asked to do it.
I'm tired of this - time to find a Borough President who isn't looking back to the 20th century with such nostalgia.
Oct. 20, 2010, 10:59 am
peter from Windsor terrace says:


Marty lives near PPW.
He thinks there will be
one less spot for himself...
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:12 am
Joe from Crown Heights says:
So much misinformation here. Just for the sake of accuracy on this article's page I'll do the job of reporting the facts and resources the BP is pathetically missing:

1. "Prospect Park West was one of the most beautiful, scenic, majestic thoroughfares in Brooklyn and the bike lane has destroyed its beauty!"
-PPW is no less scenic and beautiful than it was before. It is still lined with grand old trees and historic brownstones. The vehicle traffic lanes have merely been narrowed from three to two and a lane for bicycles added where regularly can be seen Brooklynites of all ages enjoying a ride. I would argue this makes it more serene and appealing than ever.

2. “When you cross the street children often break from their parents and there is a danger that a cyclist won’t see the kid in time...”
-The same can be said of any street in New York City. When a child breaks from their parents while crossing they may be running unknowingly into harms way. Much better it be a bike lane than a vehicular traffic lane. This bike lane does not change the fact that you must take care of your children when crossing the roadway.

3. “I lived on Prospect Park West for eight years! My windows faced it, and I rarely saw speeding... that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but I rarely saw it.”
Anecdotally I have had completely the opposite impression of that street, as a pedestrian and as a cyclist there, but we don't need to speculate. Anyone who has been following this closely from the start knows the speeding is WELL documented:
http://www.parkslopeneighbors.org/ppw8/videoppw8.htm

4. "Nobody asked for this!"
-1,300 local residents signed a petition requesting this bike lane and a resolution from the local community board was passed asking for it from the DOT.

5. “What is our objective in this city? To stigmatize the use of cars? To make it difficult to park? Do we want Brooklyn to replicate Amsterdam? These are legitimate policy issues.”
-This is the DOT's policy as stated in the agency's own strategic plan released in spring 2008 (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/about/stratplan.shtml). It is worth a read Mr. Markowitz if this stuff is important to you: "...We must forge more capacity for growth, especially in transportation. That requires new priorities and a more efficient approach to the city’s basic circulatory system—our streets... The city’s density lends itself to much higher rates of bicycling, but streets must be designed to give would-be cyclists a greater sense of safety and belonging. Reducing private auto use in the most crowded parts of town will allow us to make more room for these clean, efficient types of travel, but we will not limit such initiatives to Manhattan."

6. “This issue of where to place bike lanes, it’s worthy of review by the City Council.”
-First of all, I don't remember the City Council reviewing the decisions of where to put all the vehicle lanes in the city. And second I don't see how it would benefit anyone to subject our transportation network to the control of a disparate political body. Just look at the MTA. But that is besides the point.
This path was planned over a decade ago, and identified as a priority route, in the 1997 Bike Master Plan long before Janette Sadik-Kahn was ever appointed (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/bike/mp.shtml). It was spearheaded by the DOT and City Planning, had a technical advisory committee that included not only dozens of city agencies and transportation planning groups, but also all the Borough Presidents' offices, and was presented to the Borough Boards which also include the Borough Presidents' offices. Furthermore, in 2009 this lane was requested by, presented to, and approved by the local community board prior to implementation. This lane has been a long long time in the making with multiple public reviews. If you are the Borough President, you can't start caring about the transportation network only when it comes to your front door.
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:13 am
Howard from Kensington says:
I too use the bike lanes throughout Brooklyn from Grand Army Plaza to Coney Island, Brooklyn College, Bensonhurst and Sunset Park. I wouldn't shop in many of those neighborhoods if I wasn't on my bike, since public trans doesn't dependably connect these areas and I own no car (which is one of the great luxuries of living in NYC -- I rent when necessary or desirable). The bike lanes encourage better street use and more citizen-interaction than do cars, and I haven't seen motorists inconvenienced by bicyclists; in fact, there is an unmet need to enforce car traffic rules to protect pedestrians and bikers. I don't understand what Marty and the police have against bikes. They're quiet, don't take up much space, use no fossil fuels, celebrate individuality, promote healthy exercise, get us where we need to go via our own powers. Not for everybody: useless to the immature and the infirm. But for others, a real boon. The bike lanes serve our community and have great potential to enrich the experience of Brooklyn for many, many residents.
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:13 am
Peter #2 from Park Slope says:
This article in the NY Times talks about how the protected bike lanes have cut injuries for all users. Data from the 9th Ave bike lane shows that injuries have been cut 56%, for everyone, not just bikers.

http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/review-finds-new-bike-lanes-are-safer/
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:15 am
Suzanne from Ditmas Park says:
The war on cars rhetoric pops up again. Let's look at this:

1. Cars are polluting - 25% of CO2 emissions comes from private vehicles.

2. Cars are oil hogs - Whether you "choose" to believe it or not, it's a major contributor to global warming. And you do remember that rather large oil slick in the Gulf, right? Right?

3. Cars are space hogs - you can park about 12 bikes in the space of one car and they take a hell of a lot less space than cars to drive.

4. Cars are just damn dangerous - they killed over 30,000 people in 2009... and that was a GOOD year (ususally, the number is closer to 70,000). That doesn't include all the people maimed, injured paralyzed.

3. Cars are especially dangerous to the most vulnerable, children and the elderly - suburban kids have a higher mortality rate than city kids because so many of them are killed in car crashes or run over by some jerkwad who's going too fast and "didn't see them".

The only reason someone drives a car in a city like New York, unless they're delivering something, is because they're a selfish jerk who doesn't care that they're hurting and even killing others. So don't give us this crap about caring about the children, because we all know you couldn't care less.
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:18 am
Rach from Fort Greene says:
Those of us who don't want to live in the suburbs (oh! the horror!) need to peacefully coexist with the mass conveniences and individual inconveniences of urban life.
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:31 am
ilovebrooklyn from Prospect Park West says:
I live on PPW and love the way the bike lane makes the street look -- I think it looks even more like a grand thoroughfare now than before. And crossing the street is definitely a more pleasant experience. All of the opponents scream that the bike lane isn't safe but can't cite a single incident in which anyone has actually been injured by a bike in the lane. Not sure why a bike lane plus two lanes of 30 mph traffic is so much less safe for seniors, children, and others than three solid lanes of 40-50 mph traffic.
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:38 am
ch from bh says:
just hurry up and retire, marty. please.

you're the embarrassing uncle who stays too long at the party.
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:39 am
Peter from Park Slope says:
The real shame of it is that Marty's being an obstinate pig about it.

Rather than offer real alternative solutions, he's just being an obstructionist. What makes his plight even worse is that all his arguments fall away in the face of the statistics that have been gathered since the bike lanes were put in place (reduced speeding on the part of drivers, lower accident rates, significantly lower injury rates, etc).

Not to mention the subjective experience that PPW is *calm* now. A nice walk along the street isn't interrupted by what used to be a near-NASCAR race as cars barreled through at 50mph.

Marty, I almost feel sorry for you, being stuck so far in the past and unwilling to accept that the bike lane has been a very good thing for Park Slope. But then you prance around in front of cameras, spouting off half-truths and false invective. And then I realize you're just one more pandering politician who's desperate for an issue to give him support in his next campaign.

Never, during this entire time, have you offered a real, sustainable, useful alternative to what was requested by the neighborhood, supported through the local community board, and used happily by families of all ages. All you do is bray and oppose.

Since you refuse to lead, and you clearly aren't following, just please get out of the way.
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:39 am
JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Whether you are for or against the bike lanes. One has to admit, the landscape of that street has changed & not for the better. Too much cluther! In my opinion the Park seems more isolated and cut off from that end.

One solution: Keep the Bike lane, but eliminate the parking next to the bike lane. Put planters along the bike lane divider. This will create better site line for pedestrians, restore the the beauty, & expands of PPW. (Don't know why the evil DOT didn't think of that. Oh yeah, maybe they were trying to please everybody).

I hear the screams for the lost parking spots. But someone is going to need to be unhappy for a proper solution.
U wanna keep bike lane, loose left side parking. See Kent Ave Bike Lane, Parking on both sides an problem that created & PPW is wider..
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:39 am
JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Whether you are for or against the bike lanes. One has to admit, the landscape of that street has changed & not for the better. Too much cluther! In my opinion the Park seems more isolated and cut off from that end.

One solution: Keep the Bike lane, but eliminate the parking next to the bike lane. Put planters along the bike lane divider. This will create better site line for pedestrians, restore the the beauty, & expands of PPW. (Don't know why the evil DOT didn't think of that. Oh yeah, maybe they were trying to please everybody).

I hear the screams for the lost parking spots. But someone is going to need to be unhappy for a proper solution.
U wanna keep bike lane, loose left side parking. See Kent Ave Bike Lane, Parking on both sides an problem that created & PPW is wider..
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:39 am
J from Brooklyn says:
Ben says it best:

http://www.streetsblog.org/2010/10/20/three-myths-from-marty-about-the-ppw-bike-lane/
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:42 am
S Brown from Jackson Heights says:
It's really telling that the only tactic that Markowitz has left at this point is to resort to plain old lying.

"No one asked for this!" Lie.

"There was rarely any speeding!" Lie.

Is Marty Markowitz really willing to go to such great lengths just to preserve his right to speed on PPW?
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:55 am
Nassau Nell from Wycoff says:
Some elected official must take on City DOT Sadik-Khan---the Queen of Mean!

She is anti-car and has a Manhatan imperial attitude about her.

She does not believe in public hearings on her plans--she is the Queen !!
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:56 am
to Nassau Nell from Jackson Heights says:
"She does not believe in public hearings on her plans."

There were many public hearings held, and the bike lane was built in response to a CB request and a petition with over 1300 signatures. JSK is guilty of carrying out the will of the people.
Oct. 20, 2010, 12:09 pm
Gary from Park Slope says:
Those of us who live on PPW and are reality based love the lane. Calmer traffic, with no real ill effects on flow or parking, a safe and efficient bicycle lane that provides utility far beyond that of the one-way park loop with limited access points, and safer shorter crossing for pedestrians with better sight-lines.

People wanted this and it is working. Brooklyn should be proud that it is pointing the way to a better quality of life.

Marty needs to open his eyes and his mind and move into the 21st century.
Oct. 20, 2010, 12:20 pm
Old in williamsburg from williamsburg says:
Brooklyn is waaaay too car oriented! WE need to focus more on our civic street life and bikes allow people a more intimate encounter with their neighborhoods. The bike lanes are a way forward in creating livable communities, I dont understand why Markowitz cant see this...just look at the failure of development on 4th avenue in Park slope...a completely car-centric vision yielded a characterless, ugly area....could use more bike lanes, pedestrian centered design and trees!!!
Oct. 20, 2010, 12:21 pm
dave from Brooklyn says:
I really dont have an opinion one way or another on the process re: the bike lane but I think it is undeniable that the new set up looks like ——
Oct. 20, 2010, 12:37 pm
dave from Brooklyn says:
crap
Oct. 20, 2010, 12:38 pm
Quig from Prospect Heights says:
Looking at the photo of Marty, why didn't he get a ticket?

—AC 19-176 - Riding bicycles on sidewalks is prohibited. Bicycles may be confiscated.

To me, the crux of the issue is lax traffic enforcement by the NYPD for both cars and cyclists.
Oct. 20, 2010, 12:42 pm
Brooklyn Mel from Park Slope says:
I am a 50 year old man, who rides a 30 year old Fuji 12 speed. I do not ride to "be seen as hip". I ride for transportation, as unlike my car, I can find a spot to place my bike.

While Brooklyn is not Amsterdam, we can learn from the better ideas of any culture. The bike lane improves cyclist safety, while only posing a minor inconvenience to cars.

As for Mr. Markowitz. I used to view him as Brooklyn's favorite uncle. Lately, it is as if the favorite uncle was found molesting the nephews and nieces. He has stopped standing up for regular Brooklynites, and has become the spokesperson for the developers and moneyed interests.
Oct. 20, 2010, 1:08 pm
B from B says:
What is with Marty?

Let him start a campaign to get people to start riding bikes, it would fit in well with his campaigns promoting walking and going to the doctor.

Marty, why are you promoting something unhealthy and dangerous here?

Oy vey!
Oct. 20, 2010, 1:15 pm
Sarah from Prospect Heights says:
Come to the pro-bike lane rally, Thurs. 10/21 at 8am at Grand Army Plaza!!! If you hate the bike lane, there won't be any parking, so feel free to stay home.
Oct. 20, 2010, 2:34 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Marty Markowitz appointed the Community Board that asked for this bike lane. Instead of the DOT being accountable to city council, maybe Markowitz should be accountable to himself?
Oct. 20, 2010, 2:56 pm
Sarah from Park Slope says:
Nobody needs a car, eh? Try being disabled and riding a bike (how about with a cast on your foot?).

But if it'll help, let's forbid cars from ever BEING IN Brooklyn at all, for any reason, ever. We can go back to horse-and-buggy days; surely that will make everyone happy! Horses are nice animals and there'll no doubt be a new suggestions for processing manure (biodegradable!) into something even greener!
Oct. 20, 2010, 3:31 pm
Anne from Park Slope says:
The bike lane has not reduced speeding cars - take a look at PPW at around 9 pm. Cars are moving slower, causing a higher incidence of idling, increasing pollution. There are more fender benders because cars are unable to move to avoid a crash. There is more honking, fewer parking spaces, and bicyclists who have no regard for pedestrians. Every bicycle should be required to pay for a license. If bicyclists want to be "alternative transportation" then they should be charged for the privilege, just as car owners are.

The bike lane has completely destroyed the natural beauty of PPW.

One good thing: My dog likes to poop on the bike lane.
Oct. 20, 2010, 3:38 pm
Peter from Park Slope says:
Anne:

"The bike lane has not reduced speeding cars - take a look at PPW at around 9 pm. Cars are moving slower...."

Which is it? Are they speeding, or moving slower?

And how does a 3-lane road with cars doing 50mph create "natural beauty"???
Oct. 20, 2010, 3:45 pm
Peter from Park Slope says:
Anne:

"The bike lane has not reduced speeding cars - take a look at PPW at around 9 pm. Cars are moving slower...."

Which is it? Are they speeding, or moving slower?

And how does a 3-lane road with cars doing 50mph create "natural beauty"???
Oct. 20, 2010, 3:45 pm
Gary from Park Slope says:
Anne like Marty is just making things up.
Traffic is calmer. There is nothing to her claim that there is more honking, idling, fender benders or fewer parking spaces. The unrelated removal of bus stops more than replaced the few lost spaces provided for pedestrian refuges. The bicyclist I know ride carefully and have more regard for pedestrians than Anne apparently does for bicyclist (and her dog) by walking her dog in the bike lane. Beauty is in the eye of beholder, apparently. Calmer traffic and nice place to ride a bicycle enhances the natural beauty of PPW in my view.
Oct. 20, 2010, 3:51 pm
BK from Park Slope says:
As a cyclist, pedestrian, and a regular in the park, I think the bike lanes are terrific. We just need the public to use common sense; bikes in the bike lane, pedestrians on the sidewalks, and everyone respectful and aware of each others' space. If Marty really wanted to improve the aesthetics of the view, add another traffic lane, and make bikes and pedestrians visible to each other, we could easily ban parking on the park side of the street. Would he ever propose that? Of course not. Life is filled with tough choices, and Marty never makes any of them, choosing instead to whine.
Oct. 20, 2010, 4:28 pm
Lawrence G. from Park Slope says:
Change is difficult for everyone.

I gave up my car two years ago and found life much easier. Twenty-two years of alternate-side-of-the street parking was enough! No more expensive parking tickets!

I ride the subway and the buses. It is great, relatively inexpensive (compared to automobiles parking) and more ecological. I usually get to where I need to be in record time.

Bikes need to be registered and licensed. Traffic laws apply to bikers and their behavior. Young people should receive safe biking instructions in the public schools.

BTW, I think it is great to be seen on a bike. Such great fashion statements. The ladies look fantastic!

PPW remains a beautiful boulevard, a little safer and calmer. However, the important intersection of PPW, Union St. and Grand Army Plaze is dangerous and needs to be made safer. Sooo dangerous!

Automobiles are big business in Brooklyn. Just look at all the auto related businesses in the Borough. I think Marty is influenced by the economic heft of the auto industry.
Oct. 20, 2010, 4:36 pm
Aunt_Bike from SI says:
To the above complainers... Cities all over the world are not putting bike lanes in just because cycling is becoming more popular, or because they hope it will in the future.

They're creating them because they slow down drivers. And NYC drivers, as is universally known, need slowing down.

The city can calm the streets by spending millions on police overtime, but the police can't be everywhere. They can spend millions putting red lights up on every corner, but drivers tend to speed in spite of them. So the city uses a fraction of those amounts in Federal highway funding that cannot be used for any other purpose, to create bike lanes instead. Slows down the maniac drivers and saves tax money.

http://twitter.com/Aunt_Bike

PPW is for everybody, including pedestrians and cyclists. City streets the world over no longer belong exclusively to cars. I think people ought to get used to that.
Oct. 20, 2010, 6:43 pm
Tony from Park Slope says:
People opposed to bike lanes are like people who said television was a fad and that personal computers would never catch on.

Get a clue folks.

The people complaining are car owners. They want their parking space and they want to speed and see the city cede more space to motor vehicles. Perhaps, if they got on the subway once in a while, they would recognize that mass transit is at capacity.

Midtown Manhattan is under 10 miles from Park Slope. These whining windbags are probably the same people who line their cars up at PS 321 to pick up their kids. It is the very stereotype of Park Slope - me, me, me.

I've lived in the area for twelve years and the change is stunning.

Marty Markowitz and position of Borough President is completely irrelevant to public policy and is nothing more than a ceremonial position (that ought to be eliminated). He has no vision for the future and was probably banking on PPW to catch the carryover mass of traffic from his beloved arena.

As for licensing bikes, the idea is without merit. Registerig and licensing a bike? Hey, hey, where else can we apply fees and taxes. You ready to license that two-year old's tricycle? Ready to ticket the 12 year old? Give me a break. Bicycling must be done responsibly, but registering and licensing are moronic ideas.
Oct. 20, 2010, 6:52 pm
david from park slope says:
Marty is an extremely effective argument to get rid of the useless patronage swamps that are the borough presidencies. He's a clown and an embarassment to Brooklyn. The man preens around the borough talking about how he wants Brooklyn to be "world class," but his vision of the city is horribly antiquated. If Brooklyn does become "World Class" is will be in spite of, and not because of, this clownish oaf.
Oct. 20, 2010, 8:15 pm
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
>Marty is an extremely effective argument to get rid of >the useless patronage swamps that are the borough >presidencies.

Tru dat.

Peter
inklake

http://inklake.typepad.com
Oct. 20, 2010, 8:58 pm
Jym from PLG says:
=v= Marty doesn't know his Brooklyn history. Brooklyn was the first city in the world to have a greenway. Those folks in the Netherlands are, essentially, inspired by Brooklyn.

(It was called a "parkway" in those days, and the word's meaning has been greatly corrupted in the age of the automobile, but its intent was exactly that of what we now call a greenway.)
Oct. 20, 2010, 9:22 pm
chimpers from bushwick says:
bikes are sooo cool, like omg.
Oct. 20, 2010, 10:29 pm
Margarita from Brighton Beach says:
Gosh, people in Park Slope don't know how lucky they are. Over a thousand people wanted a bike lane, therefore, it happened. Yet over 13,000 signatures were collected opposing his amphitheater in West Brighton Beach and he refuses to even discuss the issue. Community Board 6 at least had a meeting about the bike lane. Brighton Beach/Coney Island Community Board 13 is forbidden to vote on Marty's amphitheater. He is all upset about a bike lane destroying the asthetics of PPW, but he doesn't give a darn about building a 110 foot high amphitheater right outside of people's bedroom windows. King Marty only cares about himself.
Oct. 20, 2010, 10:36 pm
jay from pslope says:
I think its really funny that so many people on here are trash talking markowitz but NOT addressing the issues, just simple name calling. Having said that, I can't stand the guy, but on this he is right.
So what if 1,300 people signed a stupid little petition, there are 40,000 in that hood that are opposed to it and don't want it, and didnt sign it.
Suzzane in Dittmas there are a lot of reasons why people drive and because you drive does not mean you are a stupid jerk.
Since you want to call names, do you know what goes in to making a bike? Do you know how much oil is used? (hint, oh stupid one, its ALOT) Do you know how much coal is burned to make the alloy and metal, do you know how third world countries are striped- mined for bauxite to make the aluminum for the bike and how many people die because of that?
So by your "logic" you are a stupid jerk who does not care about the fact that the product you buy is killing people and the planet, we should all walk, and anyone who does not insist on everyone walking anywhere and everywhere just does not care and is a terrible jerk.
Get rid of the bike lane and let the police lose on these rats on two wheels.
Oct. 20, 2010, 11:30 pm
Ken from Ft. Greene says:
Hey MARTY!

Nobody *asked* for a tax subsidized billion dollar arena and twenty acres of blight owned by billionaires and Russian oligarchs right in the center of our beloved borough, but you allowed residents to be pushed out of their homes and in their place you shoved this 22 acre hole of an eyesore down our throats!

A bike lane is something we can use. Especially since subways in Brooklyn go only to Manhattan and only during rush hour, and are shut off most weekends. Bus routes are a diminishing species and good luck finding a space to park if you have a car in Park Slope.

Thank goodness there are more sensible Brooklynites out there who do something good for everyone and increase safety and sanity on a once untamed street...

Unfortunately, you claim to represent our interests. I have yet to really see it. You are, by and large, a paper tiger, and a clownish one at that.
Oct. 21, 2010, 12:09 am
JB from Slope says:
By his actions in just the last year or two, Markowitz has become the best argument in history for abolishing the position of Borough President.
Oct. 21, 2010, 12:11 am
RM from Manhattan says:
Bike haters are idiots.
Oct. 21, 2010, 8:07 am
Tim D from Prospect Heights says:
Bikes are great, but the average rider i see has no regard to traffic signals, lane changing, direction of traffic etc. They truly frighten me the way they shun the laws of the road never mind taking their own lives in their hands in a reckless manor.
Oct. 21, 2010, 10:49 am
Justin from Williamsburg says:
This whole argument is absurd. I would love to know one reason why a bike lane would cause any type of argument anywhere.

1. “Prospect Park West was one of the most beautiful, scenic, majestic thoroughfares in Brooklyn and the bike lane has destroyed its beauty!”
-First I would lie to say, cars destroy more beauty than a safe bike route on the road. Do you stop to think all the fumes released from cars sitting in traffic are making the city beautiful? This is ridiculous, what is the lane doing to "destroy the beauty" besides allowing cyclists to have a place to ride instead of having to weave in and out of the pollution of your cars? Plus with less people driving, you, Burough President, can have your chauffeur drive you from one place to another faster.

2. “When you cross the street children often break from their parents and there is a danger that a cyclist won’t see the kid in time — or a senior citizen!”
-->Maybe parents should pay more attention to their kids and not let them run out of their hands and be responsible parents. If a kid is breaking away from his/her parents, they should be disciplined and if their parents aren't going to do it, maybe being hit will. And if they're breaking away in a bike lane, what is stopping that kid from breaking away when there is an extra lane of traffic where there are 1 ton vehicles flying through the streets?

3. “I lived on Prospect Park West for eight years! My windows faced it, and I rarely saw speeding,”
--> Eight years! Wow, you rarely saw speeding in EIGHT YEARS?? I can't believe all these people in Brooklyn abide by the laws. I'm sure if you ever tried to cross an intersection, or monitored any speedometer in a NYC vehicle, if they're not in traffic, its a make-your-own-lane-drive-as-fast-as-possible world in any part of the city.

4. “They’re using Brooklyn as a guinea pig!”
--> Guinea pig? There are more bike lanes in Manhattan than I have seen in Brooklyn. To get to Central Park from Brooklyn, cyclists have to brave the dangerous traffic that is in fact excessively speeding at any given time, because most of them don't care. Granted the city has trouble even keeping the bike lanes clean and safe in the city, Brooklyn can hardly be called a guinea pig.

5.“It’s the objective of the DOT to, frankly, stigmatize the owners of cars.”
--> Yes, the DOT wants to punish you for owning a car in the city. Wait.... isn't it the need to build roads for vehicles that actually gave the DOT jobs? Please punish them for doing their job and attempting to make everyone in the city safe, including a form of transportation that DOESN't need to be fueled by oil and gasoline! What about the cars who park in the designated bike lanes? You make

6. “What is our objective in this city? To stigmatize the use of cars? To make it difficult to park? Do we want Brooklyn to replicate Amsterdam? These are legitimate policy issues.”
--> First, this last comment is completely unnecessary you feel you have to repeat the use of stigmatizing cars, then bash Amsterdam for no apparent reason? Sorry Markowitz, not everyone feels the NEED for cars in the city, unlike, I'm guessing maybe you? Since you needed to rephrase it again, which... I'm almost positive you're not the one who is driving the vehicle that you are in. If Brooklyn was trying to replicate Amsterdam... would that be a problem? Amsterdam uses bicycle lanes to keep their cyclists safe, pedestrians do not use bike lanes, and the only time bike lanes are not present is if the road is a historic road.

This has been a huge argument in New York City for years. I feel that many of the cyclists don't obey the laws is because many of the vehicles in the street don't obey them either. It's about time someone is taking action and doing something about it. Cars and trucks in the city have been disobeying the designated bike lanes since they have been created because people are only concerned with themselves. How about enforcing traffic laws to protect cyclists too? Many other cities have been able to do it. Notice the amount of people who have begun to cycle more to work, or just around the city since bike lanes have been put in, the safer they are and the more readily available they are, the more people will want to cycle to work.
Oct. 21, 2010, 7:12 pm
bonson from gowanus says:
its time for old farts like "marty" to get euthanized.

it's time for park slope "mommies" to get their tubes tied.

THERE ARE TOO DAMNED MANY PEOPLE.

and if you refuse to die or quit having kids, at least get a life. bike lanes are a good thing.
Oct. 22, 2010, 9:41 am
BK resident from Carroll Gardens says:
People need to learn to cross the street, it's as simple as that.
Oct. 22, 2010, 9:50 am
bonson from gowanus says:
and all the dumb4asses here trashing bicycle use can just go sit on their fat dumb 4sses in their apartments ordering takeout--delivered by bicycle of course.
Oct. 22, 2010, 9:56 am
Moshe aron kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
Are there any exercises BETTER THEN BIKING that will help me shrink my butt?? Folks Go Nuts over a good thing as biking? Do we want the ads to read like this? Hotel just for large people with oversized beds and doorways or how about this , Goliath Caskets specializes in heavy-duty oversize caskets, allowing fat people to be buried with the dignity and security we deserve, or "Fat-ass' delli menu has now oversized food portions - giving people about 30 cents worth of extra food, or furniture for very large people -- . Its time to stop this bull crap and support the bike lane for the good of everyone. Have a nice day
Oct. 22, 2010, 2:31 pm
Moshe aron kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
Are there any exercises BETTER THEN BIKING that will help me shrink my butt?? Folks Go Nuts over a good thing as biking? Do we want the ads to read like this? Hotel just for large people with oversized beds and doorways or how about this , Goliath Caskets specializes in heavy-duty oversize caskets, allowing fat people to be buried with the dignity and security we deserve, or "Fat-ass' delli menu has now oversized food portions - giving people about 30 cents worth of extra food, or furniture for very large people -- . Its time to stop this bull crap and support the bike lane for the good of everyone. Have a nice day
Oct. 22, 2010, 2:31 pm
meh from brooklyn says:
I comment on the INTERNET!
Oct. 24, 2010, 9:49 am
Lois from Midwood says:
More bike lanes for Brooklyn!

Cars, minivans, SUVs, buses, trucks - EVERYWHERE!

Give us our bike lanes ASAP!
Oct. 24, 2010, 3:29 pm
Smarty from Bensonhurst says:
Marty, lose a chin or two so you can buckle your helmet.

BTW, you really look natural on that bike! And on the sidewalk, too!
Oct. 24, 2010, 5:03 pm
WonderingWhy from Boerum Hill says:
Hey, where are all the exchanges between "Unidentified Staffer" trying to clean up Markowitz's rants? Those were hysterical! Is that what the Brooklyn Paper means by "Adds more information and content?" That you go back and edit out the parts Marty really isn't gonna like?

And great "new" photo of Himself on a bike: Girl's bike (just sayin...), Boro hall parking lot, didn't even bother to buckle the helmet, and looking sooooo nervous! Any surprise he's against this getting popular?
Oct. 24, 2010, 11:44 pm
Isabel from Park Slope says:
Please install traffic lights for bicylists, similar to those used on Westside Highway in Manhattan. Bicyclists are not heeding to pedestrians who have the light and are attempting to walk across PPW. A warning "look" on the sidewalk just isn't enough. My daughter and I would have been seriously injured had a bystander yelled out a warning of a "speeding" byclist. (I bike frequently myself -- I'd estimate that he was going 15 mph through the red light.)
Oct. 25, 2010, 9:56 am
Chris from Sunset Park says:
There are too many bike lanes in Williamsburg, but everywhere else in Brooklyn, there aren't enough. Marty's on the wrong side of public sentiment.

Thank goodness there is no organized political movement in favor of car congestion and dangerous, speeding, unaccountable garbage truck drivers.
Oct. 25, 2010, 6:27 pm
Captain Haddock from Marlinspike Hall says:
I was out of the country for three years. This is where all the Brownstoner trolls went?
Oct. 25, 2010, 11:50 pm
Greta from Park Slope says:
Oh heck!!Why not just put the bike lane on the sidewalks!!Divide the sidewalks up. Drivers pay too much money to have to deal with bikers who are rude and inconsiderate. For those of you concerned bikers who are claiming that biking is a safer option for all...NOT TRUE. Because we have those bikers who break the law and run through red lights causing hell for drivers who currently have the green light. I bet a few of you are on here now using "Safety" in your defense,but what do you care? You can care less about your life or any one elses. Did it ever occur to you that even though YOU happen to not get hit going through, that you can cause a major accident involving drivers of the cars that need to stop suddenly to avoid hitting you?

But seriously, I say keep the lanes. Enforce strict rules/laws on bikers and start ticketing bikers who break these laws. They should pay to use the same roads drivers are paying for. If drivers run red lights, they get tickets. If bikers go through the lights, they should be ticketed as well. On roads that do not contain bike lanes, they should be forced to either ride a certain speed to try to maintain traffic flow or have a designated lane put on the sidewalks. Then they will have to slow down and ride carefully on the sidewalks and get to experience what drivers go through. It is a pain to to be forced to drive 7 mph behind those bike riders doing a "Sunday stroll" in the center of the traffic lanes, not leaving enough space so cars can go around. So, I believe if everyone followed the rules, things should move smoothly.
Oct. 27, 2010, 1:41 pm
Southener from Park Slope says:
Keep the bike lanes. They are the right thing to do. Educate everyone and most will adapt.
Nov. 22, 2010, 2:44 pm
Pierce Hardwood from Windsor Terrace says:
I demand a seperate lane on the other side of PPW just for juggling unicyclist!! And I've got 150,000 signatures
to back me up! My juggling buddies and I are tired of being struck by crazed bike riders! 2,000 juggling unicyclists a year are killed by evil automobiles AND bike riders!
Dec. 24, 2010, 12:34 am
ndoe from park slope says:
The bike lane is ——ing retarted and so are all you Yuppies get the he'll outta brooklyn you don't belong here go back to ——ing ohio you yuppie scum I love driving my bmw with a 10 cylinder engine down pow going about 80 mph and idc if I hit you or your little fruity yuppie kids either!
May 3, 2011, 9:52 am
Tyson White from UWS says:
It's an old story, but I love revisiting this page again and again to read the comments.

Greta: "...pay to use the same roads drivers are paying for". Really? Well if you take all the revenue from drivers (that's gas tax and tolls - nothing else), it only covers 43.8% of the cost of the roads http://taxfoundation.org/article/gasoline-taxes-and-tolls-pay-only-third-state-local-road-spending
So basically, people who don't drive (majority of NYC residents) are subsidizing those who drive out of general tax dollars. It's an old scam orchestrated by politicians bribed by the auto industry lobby.

Anyway, that's only the cost of building and maintaining the roads, not even the cost of using up 80% of the public space for "cars only". Is it a "war on cars"? No, it's always been a war on the rest of us bending over backwards and being shoved aside by cars. It's just a little re-balancing. Be reasonable.
March 5, 4:27 pm

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