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Editorial: Enough is enough!

The Brooklyn Paper

We were disappointed that opponents of the Prospect Park West bike lane took the first step last week toward appealing a judge’s dismissal of their lawsuit against the city.

Their appeal is as meritless as their chutzpah is limitless.

Foes of the two-way cycle path continue to spread misinformation about the origins of the world’s most controversial bike lane, and about its inarguable success — and their inevitable appeal hinges on muddying the truth about both.

For one thing, the city built the Prospect Park West bike lane after consultation with the local community board, which had been calling for “traffic calming” along the hectic, three-lane speedway for years.

No one disputes that speeding cars on Prospect Park West were a hazard to all residents of the neighborhood. Motorists were often clocked at well over the speed limit, and prior efforts to alter light timing were not sufficient. The roadway, which borders the park, was a catastrophe waiting to happen.

More important, the bike lane has been a success. Drivers have been tamed, the wild boulevard has been transformed into a nice neighborhood street, and cyclists are no longer riding on the wide, park-side sidewalk now that they have a two-way, protected bike lane.

The lane’s origins and success reveal that the opposition is mostly driven by fear of the larger agenda of the Department of Transportation, and, specifically, its forward-thinking commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, who has emerged as a punching bag for opponents of virtually any attempt at improving the urban streetscape, from bike paths to pedestrian plazas to bus-only lanes.

Yes, even in New York City, car culture is deeply rooted — so we are pleased that Khan and her team are trying to undo the damage of decades of automobile hegemony. Does Khan always succeed? Of course not. But she is fighting a battle that must be fought if we hope to regain control of our streets and neighborhoods.

It is telling that her Prospect Park West opponents — who include the pro-car former Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall — resorted to demonizing her after they lost their battle on the merits.

“I have never seen a public servant with such hubris,” their lawyer said.

In this case, the hubris belongs to the backward-thinking opponents.

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Reader Feedback

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Reluctantly, I have come to agree that this bike lane, like the WNBA and the State of Israel, should remain in place forever. Our streets have to change with the times. And the people of Park Slope apparently support it, not just those smelly Streetsbloggers hippies. Or so they say; I've never actually been there.
Aug. 26, 2011, 1:26 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Then you willbe fully supportive of enforcing all of the laws pertaining to the bikers.

Lights after dark, no headphones or earplugs covering both ears. full stops at the lights, no riding on the sidewalk, bells for warning, right?
Aug. 26, 2011, 7:58 am
Michael from Boerum Hill says:
Now, if we can just get the cars out of Prospect Park.

The other day I was peacefully jogging around the circle, when cars came in. It was only a few cars, perhaps 12 or 13, but the degree of rudeness was huge. The cars in the lead honked their horns to clear out the nearly silent bicycle traffic, and accelerated to at least 40 mph. I saw at least two families with strollers rush across the street, a grandmotherly-like figure hasten across the street in her walker.

When you consider that opening the park benefits those 12 or 13 cars, but endangers the literally hundreds of people enjoying the park peacefully, it's a huge crime.

I've heard all the arguments about the increased traffic outside the park if it were closed, but a) I don't believe that it would be noticeable, and b) even if it were a slight increase in traffic, it would be worth it.
Aug. 26, 2011, 9:13 am
Berg from PPW says:
Wow. Thanks for this intelligent editorial, Gersh! Is Natalie O'Neill on vacation or did she get that promotion to the Post she was clearly gunning for?

I hope this means that the next time Jim Walden FOILs another city council member and disparages hard-working civil servants, or when Linda Gross emails the Brooklyn Paper a press release, you'll ignore them both.

Still, glad to know the BP has come to its senses and realized that it's Iris Weinshall's group that has been spreading misinformation. Let's hope they all come to their senses and go for a pleasant bike ride on PPW.
Aug. 26, 2011, 9:23 am
J from Park Slope says:
Yellow Hook, could you please copy/paste the sections of the city code that require half of what you've posted? As an avid cyclist, I've never heard of the bulk of them and neither apparently has the NYPD who even went so far as to make up laws (cycling while wearing a skirt, bag on the bars,etc.) in order to write cyclists tickets, and "lights after dark" and "headphones covering both ears" was never included in the litany of citations issued.
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:08 am
T from PPW says:
Being in favor of a bike lane and in favor of all street users obeying the law and being respectful are not mutually exclusive positions. I didn't read anything in this great editorial in which the author argued for law breaking, did you?

Thankfully, the PPW bike lane has more or less ended sidewalk riding. So check that one off your list, Or.
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:12 am
Mike says:
Thanks, Brooklyn Paper, for recognizing that the new, safer PPW is part of the fabric of life in Park Slope, and much better than what came before. These NIMBYs suing their neighbors need to learn to lose gracefully.
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:13 am
Brooklynite from Brooklyn says:
Thanks, Gersh.
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:14 am
DG from Bklyn says:
Thanks for this smart editorial.
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:19 am
BrianVan from Kips Bay says:
J from Park Slope:

Actually, all of the ones cited ARE required by state/city code. Bikes or cyclists must all have lights after dark, no headphones or earplugs covering both ears, and bells for warning. Plus, the same as motor vehicles, they must come to full stops at the lights, and there's no riding on the sidewalk. Anywhere in NY State.

"Cycling with a skirt" and "bag on bars" are not prohibited in the VTL or city code, though, and those tickets were complete BS. The precinct commanders told the patrols to be on-the-lookout for bicycle violations, and some officers got creative. I think police command has started clarifying the rules a little better to avoid that kind of trouble in the future. (I hope they are.)
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:22 am
InTheSlope from Park Slope says:
For J from Park Slope:
Lights after dark, no headphones or earplugs covering both ears. full stops at the lights, no riding on the sidewalk, bells for warning, right? Yes theses are the law....

I support the PPWBL here are the rules & resources for New York City including all boroughs.....

http://transalt.org/resources/laws
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:25 am
Tom Rorb from Red Hook says:
Enough is enough. Although I fully support the bike lane and was not happy with the initial attempt at a feeble lawsuit, it was also fine that it went thru its process in front of a judge. However, that is now over and it has been demonstrated on many levels how the plantiffs were totally wrong.

If this drama continues, every single one of those people can help claim they are spending city resources that could be far better spent on something more beneficial.

Well said editorial.
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:27 am
Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
Thanks, Brooklyn Paper, for this spot-on editorial.

Enough IS enough.
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:32 am
Alex from Park Slope says:
I'm a neighborhood resident (driver and cyclist) and I fully support the bike lanes. I also support enforcing laws for both cars and bikes. I would argue they need an information campaign so that people actually can learn the biking laws. But it goes both ways. The bike lanes have improved the area and the community supports them. Enough is enough.
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:46 am
Driver from PPW says:
"It is telling that her Prospect Park West opponents — who include the pro-car former Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall..."

Ouch.

I hope Chuck realizes his wife's silent opposition to this is really making him look bad. They should both speak up soon and tell Walden to step down.
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:54 am
Paco from Cobble Hill says:
Well put Brooklyn Paper. Now please keep this in mind and don;t be so quick to condemn other attempts at traffic calming city wide. PPW is just one street made less dangerous but all NYers deserve a street that is safe to cross. With enforcement and redesign, reckless driving is stoppable.
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:55 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
J, those are the rules for traffic in NY State.

They apply to your 2 wheeled vehicle used on any road in NY State.

The fact that you don't know this is telling.
Aug. 26, 2011, 11:09 am
Janet from Park Slope says:
Great piece!
It is important that the 78th Precinct, and the NYPD in general, be familiar with the rules applying to cyclists, and that they enforce them, because bikes aren't toys, they are vehicles.
I'd like to see some enforcement of the vehicle and traffic law as regards motor vehicles too: running red lights and blocking intersections (by going through a light which is changing when there is no place to go on the other side) are dangerous and are rarely punished in this area.
Aug. 26, 2011, 11:42 am
Suzanne from Ditmas Park says:
As of last night the Crains "Do You Support Bike Lanes in NYC" poll was something like 3 to 1 in favor, so it's nice to see that the Brooklyn Paper is finally getting on the bandwagon, even if a bit late.

If you want more cyclists riding more safely, build more bike lanes. That way people who aren't 20 year old daredevils feel comfortable riding. Every single person who tells me they'd love to ride but don't say it's because it's still too dangerous to ride in the city. Making sure the lanes are usable will also help - having to constantly ride out into traffic completely undermines the point of having a bike lane. When we have a system of lanes - that are clear of obstructions - more normal people will be riding, and the percentage of rude a-hole cyclists will be a lot smaller. As it is with drivers today.
Aug. 26, 2011, 11:46 am
Moocow from South Slope says:
I agree Janet, you can't travel on 5th ave with out seeing a car just sitting in the bike lane, about half the time there is a spot against the curb. I am not exaggerating.
The 78th precinct does not know traffic law, esp pertaining to bikes. OR they don't feel like enforcing it. I am not sure which is more pathetic.

And Brooklyn Paper, wow.
Aug. 26, 2011, 11:55 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Nice editorial, but you biased reporting kinda dragged this out.
Aug. 26, 2011, 12:32 pm
Jym from PLG says:
• Good editorial.

@Tai - Hey, we smelly Streetsblog hippies need love too. Even if we don't live in Park Slope and don't have a car (or, as Lois Hainline puts it, "won't" use "the" car) to get to our work shifts at the Food Coöp.
Aug. 26, 2011, 1:55 pm
Rider from PPW says:
Just got yelled at by a pedestrian on PPW even though I yielded to him completely, stopped, put my feet down, and waved him through. Apparently, he doesn't know that the traffic light at 3rd and PPW only applies only cars. The "rules" on PPW are that bikes have to yield to pedestrians no matter what the light says, even when it's green, and I did just that.

You know what they guy said, even though I stopped 15 feet away from him?

"[Eff] you! The judge shoulda ripped this thing out. You gotta stop for the lights." He continued yelling profanities.

So, yeah, lots of bikers are jerks and don't stop or yield for peds, but thanks to this paper's complicity in NBBL's year-long misinformation campaign, everyone, on all sides, has a lot of learning to do about courtesy and respect.

This editorial is great, but I think you have a lot to make up for. No one, bikers or pedestrians or drivers, was really served well by some of the garbage you printed.
Aug. 26, 2011, 2:14 pm
Dave Holland from Browns Summit says:
See my name up there^. Put one on your editorial or don't bother throwing baseless fuel on the fire.
Aug. 26, 2011, 2:17 pm
Lawrence from Park Slope says:
This is a period of historical transition in NYC. So many cities today encourage bike riding: Seattle, Portland, Madison, etc. When I've visited these cities I am amazed and encouraged at the courtesy and respect shown by bikers.

I am in favor of bike lanes in the city and wish that public bicycle safety education be made part of the public school curriculum at every grade level.

Let's get the Rules of the Road straight and enjoy this new opportunity to use the bike for serious transportation, just like Portland, Seattle and Madison.

The editorial is welcome, however late it is in coming. Thanks.
Aug. 26, 2011, 2:56 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, I couldn't have made that first post because I was not yet on the Internet even though I was on my computer watching an old episode of the facts of life with my netflix account. So just stop it, whomever it is trying to impersonate me, and I think I know who you are.

For the record, I don't make personal attacks, I am just stating why I disagree with them. I don't have any problems with those that choose to disagree with me, but those that attack me do tend to cross line with things such as swear words and other insults and hostilities they say at me. I have never used name calling towards others that choose not to agree with me yet I can cite where others that did that to me, but I won't b/c some of it is very offensive, which I won't do so. As a nerdy leftist, I actually encourage debates just as long as they are done w/o attacking the person. Criticizing a viewpoint or even a topic isn't attacking the person, it's just stating a viewpoint. A nerdy leftist is pretty much a liberal who is known be an intelectual. Examples include Michael Moore, Al Gore, John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, etc. Some us are known for disprooving claims aimed against us. I hate to open up like Moore, who has to start off by debunking what he is being accused of by others when they barely know about him or at least what he really does and the same thing is about me. The reason I take this side is b/c it does feel like they would understand the way I feel. Presenting the claims is what distinguishes us from the conspirators. Another ability of the nerdy left is debunking others by taking their opponents own facts, figures, and logic, and turning it against them.

The truth is that most will not get what I am saying directly, so I use analogies to state them. Breaking it down to a way it can be understood more easily. When I use the WNBA, it's to state that my side isn't being forced anyone as their is no proof to anyone forcing anyone to watch the WNBA. I use the reference of Digimon as those who can't find evidence to disprooving claim just like how there is no proof that Digimon coppied Pokemon. When I use Hamas, it refers to those who don't listen to reason as Hamas believes that only acting by hostilities is the only answer. When I use the statement of how the Red Sox came back from being 0-3 against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, it's to show that it's not a good idea to celebrate too soon or make unwarranted assumptions despite how close one might be. The mentioning of the Spanish Armada was to show that even the strongest can be human. When I mention the Israeli War of Independence, it's to state how one can achieve something despite all the odds aimed aganst it.

On a side note, the person who is impersonating me should be carefull about what they say, b/c the internet is not private these days. They don't even know that there are many looking at them and reading what they say. Sometimes one has to play big brother to see what is being said about them. It seems as if someone used my name over on Streetsblog to make fun of me. That clearly wasn't me who said that, plus I have no intention of ever posting there. The main reason is b/c they will demand that I don't comment anymore b/c I don't agree with their myopic views. The only place where I can state what they really are besides Commuter Outrage was the City Room section of the NY Times where my comments are always welcomed and considered neutral. Getting to my point of that comment there not being mine, that one was done an hour before I even turnned my computer. I left on Monday at around 1 PM to see The Princess and the Frog over at my local theater and didn't return until 4 PM that day. My guess is that it's probably someone from SSP, SSC, or even from their own website trying to make fun of me. As for Commuter Outrage, both Lewis Derkins and Judd Wilely are much more intellectuall when it comes to transit and infrastructure than Mark Gorton and his friends combined. The reason that website was called Commuter Outrage was not b/c they had anger management issues, it was b/c they were outraged of how their tax dollars for transit and infrastructure was being misused by politicians for their pet projects or hardly doing anything to meet the demands. Of course those Streetsbloggers never bothered to read so they made so many unwarranted assumptions about it as well as make personal attacks about them just for not seeing everything through their eyes. On a sidenote, they are riding the conspiracy that Lewis Derkins is Patrick Truxes even though they have no evidence of that being true. They don't even know me personally, and yet & still, they are poking fun at me for my weight and size!! The perpetrator names himself TallA - mainly to keep his identidy and true user name hidden so that he can't be detected and disiplined.
Aug. 26, 2011, 3:23 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just got online now, but I suggest many read what the Daily News has been saying about cyclists, because a lot of them in the past days have been about their behaviour, which is why there has been a lot of opposition on the bike lanes.
Aug. 26, 2011, 3:51 pm
Jason from Downtown BKLN says:
Someone get a straight jacket. That comment reads like a manifesto.
Aug. 26, 2011, 4:05 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I didn't make that post at either 1:26 AM or at 3:23 PM. That was done by someone else who using my name. Reguardless, I am glad that the Daily News has exposed the truth about cyclists. The truth is that most cyclists don't follow the rules of the road and act as if the rules don't apply to them. NBBL has every right to complain about this, and I am glad that they see the reality of it all rather than what a small group of fanatics see.
Aug. 26, 2011, 7:17 pm
mike from GP says:
Actually, for what must the first time ever regarding transportation issues in the Brooklyn Paper, Or from Yellow Hook is correct.
Aug. 26, 2011, 7:35 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal, if that is you.

How do you know that Daily News has "exposed the truth about cyclists."?

Have you actually observed any cyclists in Brooklyn???
Aug. 26, 2011, 8:15 pm
Steve from PPW says:
Now that the Brooklyn Paper has moved on from PPW and NBBL, it's time for people here to move on from Tal Barzilai. He never made any sense and never will, even the parody Tals.

Enough is enough.
Aug. 26, 2011, 9:23 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Thanks, Brooklyn Paper, for a well-reasoned and sanity-based editorial.
Aug. 26, 2011, 10:16 pm
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
The issue should not be about removing the bike lane. A bike lane is most appropriate around, inside 7 outside the park.

Issue should be about removing the lane of parking next to the bike lane. This will reconnect the outside to the park which feels strangely divided.

But I doubt anyone on either side has the b**ls to propose such a solution.
I'm that mindless for bike lanes but they are here to stay, will expand. I still won't ride a bike on the streets of NYC.
Aug. 27, 2011, 10:08 am
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
PS.
Removing the parking lane will make it safer for bikers & pedestrians who will be able to see each other without the current obstructed view.

The parked vehicles blocks the beauty of how the bike lane, riders, greenery, landscape, & trees mesh together.
What a portrait, which speaks glowingly of the society we reside in.

Remove the parking lane.

To bad this can't be done before the beauty of the Fall season rolls in.
Aug. 27, 2011, 10:18 am
Steve from PPW says:
All those parked cars on PPW have ruined the historic beauty of the once-grand boulevard! Bring back the trolley!
Aug. 27, 2011, 10:54 am
peter from Windsor terrace says:

Great editorial.
I don't ride either car or bike.
Lived in the hood for decades.
Aug. 27, 2011, 12:42 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Steve, I hold you accountable for impersonating me. Your insults towards me makes you good suspect. As a matter of fact, anyone from Streetsblog is a good suspect considering the personal attacks. Nevertheless, many of those on the Daily News have gotten concerns about cyclist as many articles, editorials, and even letters express how they feel about them. I still see bike lanes as a waste of money considering how little they are used.
Aug. 27, 2011, 4:56 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal,

How little is the PPW Bike Lane used?
Aug. 27, 2011, 6:52 pm
J from PPW says:
Other Michael, GIVE IT UP.
Aug. 27, 2011, 9:31 pm
Morice from OG Sloper, baby! says:
I am a biker. I support bike lanes. And I support PPWBL, but NOT in it's current form. IT'S A FLAWED DESIGN! It shouldn't be next to the curb, IT SHOULD BE NEXT TO THE TRAFFIC, with plastic pylons separating it from moving vehicles.

BTW, yes, eliminating the parking lane would be MOST desirable, but it's not gonna happen folks. First of all, there's always been cars parked along PPW, at least since I was born here in the 60's. And 2ndly, come on, this is NYC. You can't eliminate a mile of parking! For aesthetic reasons?! The Park gives us so much enjoyment of nature in the middle of a megalopolis, so lets not ask for the moon.

Back to the PPWBL, With the lane on the traffic side of parked cars, bikers and ped's can see each other clearly, in the area where ped's EXPECT to encounter bikes, instead of artificially separating car and bike traffic with a parking lane. HOW IDIOTIC!!! Also, when ped's are exiting & entering their parked cars next to the bike lane, they are required to cross directly in the path of speeding bikes! REPEAT AFTER ME... HOW IDIOTIC!!! THIS IS WHAT IS CREATING ALL THE RUDE BEHAVIOR ON BOTH SIDES! Bikers want to ride freely without stopping constantly ( including me), and ped's want to stroll peacefully without fear of collisions - this path ALLOWS NEITHER! THE CITY F... SCREWED THIS UP ROYALLY! I avoid this lane like the plague it is and use the roadway path inside the Park.

So everyone on this thread, don't bash on each other, bash on the city! If I win the mega millions, I will offer the money to move the bike lane to fix the IDIOTIC situation that is RUINING THE PEACEFUL EXPERIENCE THAT MY PROSPECT PARK USED TO BE.
Thank you.
Aug. 29, 2011, 1:53 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Morice,

First you use the work idiotic and then you tell us not to bash each other, then you use the word idiotic again.

and plastic pylons are useless.

and I was born here in the '60 too. It does not make me any more correct.
Aug. 29, 2011, 6:22 pm
Mike says:
Morice's comments don't make any sense. If the bike lane is "next to the traffic" with a row of plastic pylons, then how on earth do the parked cars get to their parking spaces? Jump across the pylons? Or drive in the two-way bike path? Neither is acceptable.

The current design works great, and everyone's used to it by now.
Aug. 30, 2011, 12:22 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
and then you print this...

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/34/35/dtg_grandarmyplazabikes_2011_9_2_bk.html
Sept. 1, 2011, 6:10 am
Daquan13 from East Boston says:
Who is this Tal Barzilai who comments on everything? He sounds like a total idiot! Comments in the City Room blog "prove" something? Why rely on scientific studies when you could just read a few blogs!
Sept. 1, 2011, 12:47 pm

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