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Survey says! Prospect Park West bike lane is a hit!

The Brooklyn Paper

Mend it — don’t end it!

That’s what Park Slopers are saying about the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane, which has been a lightning rod since it was installed in June.

Only 22 percent of residents responding to a survey sponsored by the neighborhood’s two councilmen said that the city should return the roadway to its original three-lane configuration.

Councilman Brad Lander, who prepared the study with Councilman Steve Levin, saw that as a slam dunk.

“There are deep and passionate feelings, but this survey reveals strong overall support from community residents,” said Lander.

Of the whopping 3,150 respondents to the survey, 54 percent that the roadway should remain as a two-lane street with a protected two-way bike lane against the parkside curb. And 24 percent favored that configuration, but with “some changes.”

The most-vehement opposition to the lane came from survey respondents who identified themselves as residents of Prospect Park West itself. Of those 272 respondents, 50 percent favor returning the roadway to its original configuration, while 31 percent favor retaining the new format and 18 percent favor doing so with “some changes.”

Overall, though, the clear majority of respondents reported that they feel safer walking and biking on Prospect Park West, which has long been described as a speedway for motorists, and a danger to pedestrians who were left to dodge cyclists on the wide sidewalk. Bikers said they feel safer now with their protected lane.

Indeed, 85 percent of survey respondents feel that the project has “very much” or “somewhat” met the goal of reducing speeding and 91 percent feel it has “very much” or “somewhat” met the goal of creating a safer space for biking.

A majority of respondents — 53 percent — did feel that it was harder for pedestrians to cross the bike lane because of its two-way configuration. And some complained that traffic had gotten worse on the strip.

“Taking away a lane of traffic has caused a lot of congestion,” said bike-lane opponent Mary Roelofs. “If someone double-parks, Prospect Park West turns into a one-lane road.”

The 13-question survey was collected online and in-person from Oct. 15 to 30, a period that included dueling protests on the lane .

Both councilmembers cautioned that the study is not scientific and is not “intended as a referendum on the project.”

That said the survey will provide the Department of Transportation with a powerful tool as it considers whether to make the changes permanent. The agency had released its own data earlier in the month showing that drivers are not speeding as much as they did before the lane was installed.

Agency commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan hailed both her report and the new neighborhood survey.

“The traffic volume, travel speed and bike lane usage data support this traffic-calming project, and it’s clear that the public supports it, too,” she said, adding that the city looks forward to making the lane “even better.”

Modifications could include redesigning the pedestrian crossings, raising the pedestrian buffer at intersections, and improving loading and unloading zones, which tend to cause congestion during summer weekends when many drivers drop off their athletically minded offspring for games in the park.

The findings are available at http://www.bradlander.com/ppwsurvey. The survey will be presented on Dec. 16 to Community Board 6 at its monthly Transportation Committee meeting at New York Methodist Hospital [506 Sixth St. between Seventh and Eighth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 643-3027].

Updated 2:44 pm, December 8, 2010: Adds even more comments.
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jj from brooklyn says:
This survey is about as meaningful, and as valid, as one saying that newspaper readership is on the rise.

It's nice of your bicycle-loving editor to bury the operative paragraph:

"Both councilmembers cautioned that the study is not scientific and is not “intended as a referendum on the project.” "

Exactly.
Dec. 7, 2010, 11:20 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Sure, jj, and your comment is about as valid as what?

First opponents claimed that Park Slope Neighbors' speed data couldn't be believed. When NYCDOT's own speed data completely confirmed it, opponents then claimed that DOT's data wasn't reliable. And now that the results of an objective survey show overwhelming support for the redesign of Prospect Park West, you'd have us believe that THOSE results aren't valid.

The community asked for this redesign. The community overwhelmingly supports this redesign. It's time to wave the white flag, don't you think?
Dec. 7, 2010, 11:46 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
There were two scientific studies done on the traffic calming effects, one by Park Slope Neighbors and one by the DOT. Both showed huge improvements in making the street safer, yet opponents of the bike lane dismissed these studies, too.

Opponents reject studies that aren't scientific but also reject ones that are. (You can be sure they wouldn't have rejected this survey had the results been in their favor.)

Question for opponents, then: is there any study that would satisfy you or is your opposition simply NIMBYism? Please outline the kind of research you'd like to see that might change your mind. If there's nothing that will convince you, I'm not sure you have a right to engage in debate.

Brooklyn wants this. A few cranks on Prospect Park West don't.
Dec. 7, 2010, 11:47 am
Ken from Greenpoint says:
the minute mayor Mike Bloomberg hits the road- bike lanes are history... that's a hit!!!!!
Dec. 7, 2010, 11:48 am
WYS from Brooklyn Heights says:
JJ, even though there is that disclaimer, it is nevertheless a data point in favor of the protected bike lane that can't be simply ignored for methodological reasons. I don't think there is much exaggeration in saying that the larger Brooklyn community has spoken loud and clear in favor of the bike lane via the survey.
Dec. 7, 2010, 12:56 pm
WYS from Brooklyn Heights says:
JJ, even though there is that disclaimer, it is nevertheless a data point in favor of the protected bike lane that can't be simply ignored for methodological reasons. I don't think there is much exaggeration in saying that the larger Brooklyn community has spoken loud and clear in favor of the bike lane via the survey.
Dec. 7, 2010, 12:56 pm
Resident from of PPW says:
The survey stated that 50% of the residents of Prospect Park West don't want the bike lanes. I guess the people who live on PPW and who are most impacted by this misguided idea don't count. I hope the Community Board enjoys the payoff from our imperial mayor for life.
Dec. 7, 2010, 1:31 pm
Pete from Park Slope says:
We were promised concrete barriers to protect the cross walk sections of the bike path. Way to exposed right now and are used as parking by delivery trucks and livery cabs.

Also, if you watch the traffic come zooming onto PPW from GAP you can see everyone really slow down. Traffic? maybe but slow yes.
Dec. 7, 2010, 1:32 pm
M says:
Resident: And 49% of PPW residents support the traffic-calming project. That's hardly a mandate in either direction.
Dec. 7, 2010, 1:48 pm
Resident from PPW says:
From today's NY Times: Since the Park Slope protests, some well-connected people, including a former city transportation commissioner, have lobbied for changes to the current lane. Iris Weinshall, the transportation commissioner from 2000 to 2007 and the wife of Senator Charles E. Schumer, and Norman Steisel, a former deputy mayor, had breakfast last month with Mr. Lander and, shortly after, with Mr. Levin.

“They made very clear that their goal is to see the bike lane removed and the old configuration restored,” Mr. Lander said in an e-mail.

Thank you former Transportation Commissioner.
Dec. 7, 2010, 2:23 pm
jj from brooklyn says:
i don't feel strongly one way or another on the bike lane, but i don't like to see phony surveys or traffic guesses thrown into the discussion.
Dec. 7, 2010, 3:09 pm
Gary from PPW says:
The survey shows there are plenty of residents of PPW who support the lane and I am confident that a non-self-selecting survey of PPW residents would turn out more support from the many resident who are not tuned in or motivated enough to be aware of and fill in the web survey.
Dec. 7, 2010, 3:12 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Putz and his wife have been overruled
Dec. 7, 2010, 3:40 pm
brooklyn writer from windsor terrace says:
was there any control on the online survey to insure against multiple entries from one individual? How many people responded in person rather than on line? Depending on how these questions are answered, grave questions could be raised not only about the survey, but about the moral gyroscope of the two politicians involved who are touting it.
Dec. 8, 2010, 7:41 am
rguy says:
The way people oppose this bike lane you'd think they opened a methadone clinic right on PPW. Face it, it's there to stay. If you really want to —— about traffic then —— about Atlantic Yards. Once that thing goes in you're really going to see some traffic nightmares in Park Slope.
Dec. 8, 2010, 9:16 am
steve from park slope says:
brookyn writer,

Lander's office eliminated multiple entries that came from the same source by identifying identical IP addresses. Many surveys were discarded before being tallied because of this.

Lander's office went door to door, passed out leaflets, and did everything it could to encourage a full range of participation.

To be fair, those who object to the bike lane are allowed to get online as well, as far as I know.
Dec. 8, 2010, 10:33 am
jay from pslope says:
look the people who like this thing are part of the bike cabal which is an organized political unit the monblies its members to respond ot such things, and its my guess they even put the guy up to having this so called "survey" in the first place. You can't expect normal people, who have jobs and are not at home during the day, to go on blogs or be at home when some schill form the bike lobby in disguise shows up to pass out some survey.
While I don't think the bike lane is going away and its true that a certain percentage of people like it, its also true that a lot don't, and alot of people who have to live with it every day REALLY don't like it, and its very frustrating that people who just pass through or who don't even use it, but are merely part of the bike cabal responding to the latest call to action act like its not a pain in the a** for the people who have to live with it and it is a pain in the a**.
If the response that the bike cabal comes up with to this is nothing better than "too bad" then fine, let's go to the logical extreme of that kind of "argument" and let me knock you off your bike (purely to protect myself form injury in accordance with the law of course) when you are not following the yield sign and then get the police to give you a ticket for it, and sue you as well, and when you lose and have to pay me a lot of money, then I will say too bad. Deal?
Dec. 8, 2010, 9:22 pm
or from yellowhook says:
Traffic Calming = traffic jam created by city/
Dec. 8, 2010, 11:50 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Jay, how can you tell the bike cabal from the motorist cabal?
Dec. 9, 2010, 9:58 am
Rip VW from ph says:
When was the vote?
Dec. 14, 2010, 12:46 am
Peter Kaufmans Mom from PPW says:
@jay from pslope, very well put!
Jan. 26, 2011, 5:54 pm
Peter Kaufmans Mom from PPW says:
Dave from Park Slope, you place an awful lot of trust in the NYDOT that they would never lie to support their own cause.
Jan. 26, 2011, 5:56 pm

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