Today’s news:

More bike help in Grand Army Plaza

The Brooklyn Paper

The construction that’s been bottlenecking traffic on Grand Army Plaza for weeks will soon pay off for commuters — bike commuters, that is.

The city’s latest “traffic-calming” project — which will be completed by Labor Day — includes “bike connections” linking street cyclists to the park and park cyclists to the street.

One new bike lane connects cyclists exiting Prospect Park, near the eagle columns, to the Prospect Park West bike lane by adding a path through the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market area.

The other links Plaza Street West — where the existing bike lane ends abruptly at the plaza — to the Prospect Park entrance by adding a short lane on Grand Army Plaza alongside two triangular-shaped medians that leads to a signal, where cyclists can cross the street and enter the park.

Cyclists are hailing the project as more than just roadway minutia — noting that a few yards of new green paint does wonders for bike safety on the sometimes-chaotic street.

“It’s such a good idea,” said Richard Rolling, a cyclist from Crown Heights, who complained that bike lanes in the area drop off at random before connecting to other lanes. “It keeps cars from running bikers off the road and bikers from hopping up on the sidewalk.”

The revamp — which was drawn up three years ago — also includes new crosswalks to shorten routes for pedestrians and a new stoplight to keep drivers from jockeying across four lanes of traffic on the Grand Army Plaza roundabout.

The tweaks became more clearly needed after the installation of the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane — the city’s last “traffic calming project.” As such, some drivers were fired up about the construction.

“It’s annoying,” said neighborhood maintenance worker Santos Maldonado. “It seems like the city is trying to eliminate cars.”

The changes stem from a striking amount of accidents occurring inside the plaza circle — a total of 39 in 2007 — according to city statistics.

That’s why Rob Witherwax of the Grand Army Plaza Coalition said the work is good for everyone on the busy street.

“It’s like rearranging furniture in your living room: Everything is still there — it’s just more efficient and logical,” he said.

A spokesman for the Department of Transportation declined to give the cost of the project.

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Reader Feedback

Mike says:
Another biased article from Natalie O'Neill. If she were a real journalist, she might have pointed out that the project doesn't actually remove a single vehicular lane, instead of making this yet another simplistic bikes-vs.-cars story. With this project, everyone wins, especially pedestrians, who get more direct crosswalks.
Aug. 30, 2011, 12:41 am
Ben from Park Slope says:
Santos Maldonado with the whiner of the week award. How dare the city make it easier for pedestrians to cross Grand Army Plaza to reach Brooklyn's largest park and the library. The outrage!
Aug. 30, 2011, 1:33 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
It is not going to be possible to get from Flatbush Ave North to Union St or PPW without having to cross 5 lanes of traffic IN A CAR. This is not just about bikes. This project is about making driving a car safer.
Aug. 30, 2011, 6:26 am
mike from GP says:
Ugh, so many important details were left out of this story.
Aug. 30, 2011, 7:02 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
I meant to type "It is NOW going to be....."

The come on Natalie. The PPW Bike Path is only controversial for you.
Aug. 30, 2011, 7:24 am
Bert from PPW says:
Gersh, with this story Natalie has proven that the real enemy to facts and the truth isn't NBBL and Iris Weinshall, it's the Brooklyn Paper. In the words of a much better writer than Natalie, "Enough is enough."

Get rid of her.
Aug. 30, 2011, 8:08 am
M to the I from Park Slope says:
This project benefits all users of the road: pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle drivers. Space that was previously painted stripes on the road were raised to make larger pedestrian islands making it easier to cross the road. Cyclists now have connections between the plaza street bike path, PPW and the park. Drivers are now able to go around the circle safely with a dedicated signal.

I was at the meeting at the brooklyn library when this project was presented. With all the people from NBBL and Seniors for Safety in the audience, not one complained about this project. In fact, all said that it made sense and they were happy with the changes.

Construction is an inconvenience to all, but a temporary one that will be over in a couple of weeks. Wipe those tears away, crybaby.
Aug. 30, 2011, 9:15 am
Nick from Washington, DC says:
Eliminating cars would be a good thing. Fewer kids would get asthma, people wouldn't be so fat, and the roads would be quieter. Cars have always been heavily subsidized by the government even though they kill thousands of people every year. It's time for pedestrians and bikers to be given some love.
Aug. 30, 2011, 9:31 am
Berg from Bklyn says:
Can the Brooklyn Paper please eliminate the "Mean Streets" label it gives these stories. The DOT plan to improve Grand Army Plaza actually makes the area less "mean" by protecting pedestrians and making road markings clearer for drivers and cyclists. No traffic lanes have been eliminated whatsoever. The only place where these streets, bike lanes, and pedestrian improvements are mean and "controversial" is in the warped mind of this reporter and the paper's editor, who allows this garbage to be printed without regard for facts.

Also, please change this sentence:

"As such, some drivers were fired up about the construction."

It should read, "As such, one driver is fired up about the construction, thanks to a leading question from Natalie O'Neill."
Aug. 30, 2011, 9:37 am
John from Gowanus says:
Grand Army Plaza is currently hell to traverse for anyone not in a car. It doesn't look to be too fun for those in cars, either. Please don't trivialize "traffic calming," it prevents deaths.
Aug. 30, 2011, 9:53 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
When Mayor for Life Mike shut down public transport this past weekend for the Hype-O-Cane, he proved once and for all you DO need a car in NYC.

Bottleneck? That's "traffic calming".
Aug. 30, 2011, 9:58 am
boof from brooklyn says:
If the city is trying to eliminate cars, it's doing a terrible job. I see cars everywhere, filling up pretty much every square inch of public space.

Anyway, is there still going to be a two-way bike lane between Eastern Parkway and PPW? That will be a crucial link.

Based on the spray-paint outlines I've seen, I think the answer is yes.

Here's the project outline.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/201104_gap-schedule.pdf

Thanks DOT!
Aug. 30, 2011, 10:03 am
S from PPW says:
I don't know, Or. I saw a lot of cars crushed by trees this weekend. Since most people could bring their bikes inside, they were just fine and ready for the commute on Monday.
Aug. 30, 2011, 10:03 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
This is a waste of money from an over zealus Sadik-Khan. Instead, the city should give money to all Brooklyn residents so everyone can buy a car and be responsible for getting themselves around. There are 2.5 million people in Brooklyn, which is not a lot of people when you think about it, so give them a car and they can get around on their own, without needing special lanes for their bikes or controversial crosswalks and pedestrian islands that no one uses. I would also add Manhattan and Queens to that equation and let everyone buy a car with tax breaks. There would be no need for bike lanes in this situation.

I think Or is right and that the only way for the city to survive the 21st century is to make sure everyone has a car to drive to and from work and to the grocery store. It is clearly the only way to get around the city for all people because our city was built to make it easier to drivee. How else is it going to work? Not everyone can walk, you know, but I guess you Streetsbloggers think that every last person is able to do that because you can do it. But everyone can drive, so why not spend the money where it's needed?

If you took the money the city spent on the Prospect Park west bike lane and divided it up, you could buy thousands of cars that could be used by lots of people. You could also build a parking garage somewhere so they could find parking. It's a common sense solution that only will work in Brooklyn and the city. I'm sure you won't agree with me, imposters.
Aug. 30, 2011, 10:22 am
Community Member from Park Slope says:
Natalie,

If you bothered to read your own newspaper's archive or done a search for "Grand Army Plaza Coalition" you'd see that the current changes to GAP aren't just a bike project. They are the result of many years of work by community members like Michael Cairl, Rob Witherwax and Eric McClure who have been diligently organizing and pushing to make it more possible to walk, bike and drive around GAP without getting killed or injured.

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/sections/search/?search_query[]=grand army plaza coalition

The changes that are now underway at GAP are a significant win for our community -- and for all users of GAP -- peds, cyclists, drivers, green market shoppers and vendors, the Library, residents around the Plaza, people who simply want to sit on a park bench... the list goes on.

The changes at GAP aren't a bikes vs. cars story. This is actually a story about community members taking responsibility for their own streets and public spaces and a city government agency, DOT, that has been extraordinarily willing to listen and work with community groups to make these changes.

Can't you guys come up with some other framework for your reporting other than "Mean Streets: Bike Lanes Are Causing Havoc!!!!!" I mean, Natalie, Gersh, whomever is responsible for this stuff -- aren't you guys personally bored of doing all of your reporting within that very limiting and, frankly, dishonest framework? Don't you feel constrained by everything having to be "Mean Streets?" This is actually a story about Brooklyn streets becoming nicer.

You guys are doing an enormous disservice to the neighborhoods and communities you purport to cover when you do reporting like this. You used to write about GAPco. You used to be a part of our community. What happened? Now it seems like Brooklyn Paper is no different than the New York Post -- an arch, conservative, angry outsider looking down on our community and mocking us, reporting on us in a contemptuous manner.

Gersh Kuntzman knows very well that this is more than just a story about bike lanes versus car lanes. Maybe it's time for him to drop the "Mean Streets" theme and come up with some new framework that doesn't needlessly stoke anger against Brooklynites who choose to transport themselves by bicycle.
Aug. 30, 2011, 10:37 am
Jacob from Clinton Hill says:
What is really frustrating is that for all the people this project benefits, bikes get the least out of it. The 2-way protected bike lane on Plaza Street, that was originally part of the plan, was dropped because NBBL threatened more lawsuits. This project is now primarily about making the area safer for walking and for driving. Yes, that involves annoying construction. It makes me wonder, is the Brooklyn Paper really against safer streets?
Aug. 30, 2011, 11:31 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
S, those car owners have insurance.

Now, how about those bike owners??
Aug. 30, 2011, 11:49 am
wkgreen from Park Slope says:
As a cyclist and frequent pedestrian in this neighborhood I welcome anything that will make our streets safer, and certainly trying to negogiate around GAP has been one of the more challenging locations in this city where taking your life in your hands is the norm, even just to get the library.

As a driver, however, I was pleasantly suprised to see a long needed signal at the location where Eastern Pkwy enters the circle. Previously one was always guided by little more than prayer while trying to quickly merge across 4 lanes of oncoming traffic coming from Flatbush and Vanderbilt to exit onto PPW or Union St.

I don't understand where this paper is coming from. No matter the mode of transportation, the changes at GAP should be welcomed for simply making this mega intersection into less of a death trap where multiple means of getting around can come together and co-exist.
Aug. 30, 2011, 11:52 am
Mustachioed Pete from Windsor Terrior says:
Tal Barzillai tries satire and....FAILS! Or is it one of his many "imposters?"
Aug. 30, 2011, 12:01 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Pete, it was me. I do believe this city would be better with more cars than bikes. Why is that so hard to believe, although with so many imposters I can see why you wouldn't trust that comment.
Aug. 30, 2011, 12:28 pm
Emil from Park Slope says:
I get it you love bikes and only pro-bike related issues but the reality is that everyone will be a winner in this case. When I drive I avoid GAP because it is confusing and dangerous and the same thing goes for walking in the area. The truth is that if we all obey traffic laws we will have less accident. I dare anyone to put a camera on a corner in Park Slope and see how many bikers actually stop and wait for a green light behind the crosswalk. OK I did see a lady in lower Manhattan stop next to me and wait for the green light but that was the 1st in my 39 years (I actually said that to her and thank her for obeying the law).
Aug. 30, 2011, 1:04 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
That couldn't have been me at 9:58 or 11:49, because I was away from my computer. I was out with a chain saw removing the tree that fell on, and crushed, by beloved 1987 Oldsmobile. Does anyone know where I can get a bike?
Aug. 30, 2011, 1:12 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
And after I get that bike, tell me where I can get fitted for a Mao Jacket, Comrade!
Aug. 30, 2011, 1:26 pm
Joe R. from Flushing says:
Assuming that really is you, Tal, your comment that more people should drive in NYC is probably the most nonsensical thing I've heard anyone say. NYC was built long before the car. It simply would never have the space to accomodate everyone driving, not to mention that would kill everyone with lung cancer/obesity in short order. Moreover, contrary to what you say, not everyone can drive. Some people lack the judgement and/or coordination to safely pilot a motor vehicle. In my opinion this is upwards of 50% of the population. And then others can't physically drive, either due to age or disability. Additionally, many don't WANT to drive, even if they can. They don't want the headaches and expense that come with owning a car, worrying about where to park it, or the hassle of obtaining a driver's license.

Bikes aren't a blanket solution, either, but this city would be way more pleasant if most of the people who drive now either took mass transit, or rode bicycles. I love NYC, but the one thing which ruins it are the sheer number of motor vehicles. If this were Iowa I might understand, but we have other ways to get around. Driving is purely an optional activity for the vast majority of NYers without businesses which might requiring driving. The more we do to discourage unnecessary driving, the better. It will allow the few who really need to drive to get around much faster.
Aug. 30, 2011, 1:29 pm
Peter says:
>S, those car owners have insurance.

>Now, how about those bike owners??

Call your insurance company. Ask them about it. The reason those policies don't exist, is because no one sues.

No one sues, because the amount of people injured or killed by cyclists is basically non-existent.

The number of people killed, injured, and/or crippled every month in this city by automobiles, numbers in the hundreds.

You're an idiot.
Aug. 30, 2011, 2:20 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Peter, the issue was not liability insurance, it was loss/damage.

Spot the idiot.
Aug. 30, 2011, 3:20 pm
Peter from Kaufman says:
S..

Huh?

Loss/damage? That isn't why the government mandates you carry car insurance. They couldn't care if your car is stolen.

They care that you have a several-thousand pound object hurtling at high speeds, and can hurt people.

Idiot.
Aug. 30, 2011, 3:30 pm
S from PPW says:
The $15 a month (tops) an insurance company could hope to get for bike coverage is not near enough to cover the cost of all the stolen bikes in NYC. Good luck getting any major insurance company to want that business.

"Hello, Geico? I know I just paid $30 for coverage, but my $500 bike was stolen. When can you guys send me a check for a new one?"

The government wants you to carry car insurance with liability coverage so that the government doesn't get stuck footing the bill when you get into an accident and require hundreds of thousands of medical care. Liability coverage is PRECISELY the issue, Or.

The government really doesn't care if your car is stolen or not, and that's not the historical reason for the enactment of mandatory car insurance laws.

None of that matters, though. About 20% of all car accidents are caused by drivers who lack a license, registration, and/or insurance. The idea that requiring bike riders to carry insurance would make things safer isn't borne out by reality. Plus, many bike riders are already licensed and insured, since many drive cars, too.
Aug. 30, 2011, 3:51 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
S,

Try reading what's there, not what isn't.

Spot the idiot.
Aug. 30, 2011, 4:05 pm
S from PPW says:
"the issue was not liability insurance, it was loss/damage."

That's what's there.

Care to answer what insurance company is going to cover loss/damage for bikes?

I didn't call you an idiot.
Aug. 30, 2011, 4:08 pm
google from the internet says:
Most renters' insurance covers loss/theft/damage to bikes, whether the loss occurs in your apartment or not. So, yes, if you have insurance, your bike in insured.
Aug. 30, 2011, 4:32 pm
tyler from pps says:
Or from Yellow Hook -- WHY o' WHY are you such a horribly negative person? I have yet to see even a borderline positive comment with your name attached...

PLEASE, o' wise one, tell us why this reconfiguration of the Grand Army Plaza is not a GREAT IMPROVEMENT for drivers? (never mind pedestrians and cyclists) I'm sure you can squeeze something negative out of this enormously positive change.... perhaps the paint color on the street will directly cause puppies to die?
Aug. 30, 2011, 4:47 pm
Mike says:
tyler is quite right.
Aug. 30, 2011, 7:26 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
my home owners insurance covers the theft of my bike. But there is a big deductible.

and

That must have been a Tal inposterer at 10:22.
Aug. 30, 2011, 8:18 pm
Either Or from Yellower Hook says:
Presumably, this driver had both a license and insurance:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2011/08/31/2011-08-31_hit_us_fast__hard_hitrun_vics_badly_hurt_but_lucky.html
Aug. 31, 2011, 9:32 am
Comments are gone from The Internets says:
whoooowowowoooohhooooo
Aug. 31, 2011, 1:29 pm
Tal Barzila from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Micheal, just stop it with the personal attacks. I know that you are behind the negative comments expressed by others here, so don't bother even trying to deny it. Those posts writen at 10:22 on August 30 are for once not the work of the miscreant impoasters from streetbloggers. I stand beside my remarks and find myself still agreeing with myself.

All you bike zealouts don't have a monopoly of truth on the subject, even if it may seem that way b/c you all gang up on me and dissenters to your false opinions, which I have patiently and nonpersonally debunked time and time again. Besides, my best-friend's cousin's half sister lives in the area in question and so I hear these stories everytime I go out to the library to read back issues of the New York Post and to read up on the latest in the WNBA. On a side note, as I mentioned in another thread on this subject, the other day when I was walking from the door of Kentucky Fried Chicken to my car parked on the road, I was hit by a cyclist on a bicycle. He wasen't watching where he was going, and he hit me right on my lower abdomin and legs, knocking my tub of chicken all over the road in the process. I now walk with a limp and have trouble going to the bathroom. So now I need my car more than ever and I imagine that some time in your life all of you will find yourself in a similar predicamint and you'll wish that your taxdollars went to road infrastructure instead of wasteful bike lanes for a handful of zealouts.

All you bike zealouts need to cut out the personal attacks and stick to the fact's. Fact 1: Bicyclists need to realize that they don't own the road, and that cars and walkers have right-of-way over bicyclists, because in my experience most bicyclits don't pay as much taxes as those who drive cars. I've talked to some people over at NY Times.com and they agree that for far too long, bikers intersts have run roughshod over the car driving majority. Fact 2: bikers mostly don't have real jobs. If they did, they wouldn't have time to ride around their bikes all day long, because they would be at work and not posting on this internet site all the time. Fact 3: All that besides, I still cannot understand why they think they need a separate, redundant road network for bikes when all they have to do is use the road or sidewalk.

Please, let's stick to the facts and avoid the personnel attacks. I've respected your view and I would ask that you do the same to me. I have debunked the counterarguments ad nauseum, but people keep attacking me and impersonating me, which is a low blow beneath the belt. But just like Israel versus the middle east I will continue to have my voice heard even if I am alone b/c I am on the side of rightiousness.

-Tal Barzilai
Sept. 1, 2011, 9:15 am
ty from pps says:
I'm sure this Tal post was some lame attempt at satire... how about we just stop with the ANNOYING tal posts? Hmmm? It's getting to be painfully tired and OLD.
Sept. 1, 2011, 10:52 am
quicke from Prospect H. says:
Anybody on a bike, driving a car, or walking around GAP will enjoy this new configuration of traffic once it finally is completed. Hell, just the repaired "car eating" potholes is worth the work along. The only thing that would make this entire improvement better would be if the damn Dollar Van's would go away.
Sept. 1, 2011, 12:58 pm
Tal Barzlai from Pleasantville, NY says:
That couldn't have been me posting today at 9:15am b/c I was out riding my bicycle on the new bike lane!
Sept. 1, 2011, 1 pm
Gertalian from PH says:
Whoever the idiot was that scheduled paving before the electrical conduit work was completed at the GAP Park Entrance should be reprimanded. The brand new asphalt paving has a classic saw cut connecting light poles to new poles for this much needed improvement. The problem is there will always be a sunken line from the electric contractors hack cold patch job ruining what should be a quality appearance. Anybody who knows paving, (or project management) knows you must complete all underground work before paving. It would be like planting a lawn before building a house. Classic lack of supervision. They should at least backcharge the electric company for the repair if the fault rests on their hands... Then follow through by actually repairing the damage properly.
Sept. 1, 2011, 2:20 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, I didn't get any power restored until yesterday after Hurrican Irene hit and ripped out a pole from my house. Also, Con Ed snubbed my family in restoring the grid for us, and we had to get a our own contractor and electrician to fix it, which it was finally done on Friday and we had to pay for it. In other words, anything before today's date was NOT done by me, so how could I have made any comments when I had no electricity? Getting back to the topic, I think that it's a bad idea to place a bike lane on any major thoroughfare such as GAP and the Eastern Parkway. Let's not forget that GAP already has a lot of traffic and this was before the idea of placing a bike lane there. On a side note, the NY Post had a recent article saying that majority of NYers are actually against new bike lanes and pedestrian plazas, not for it according to a Quinnapac Survey that they recorded.
Sept. 3, 2011, 6:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
One other thing, enough with the personal attacks on Natalie O'Neill. You people had just as much of an opinion as she does. There are other people who talk about many things that I don't like, but I don't call for them to stop making articles on it as some of you bike zealouts are saying towards her. I can equally say the biases that those on Streetsblogs say on their support for bike lanes. It's one thing to disagree with her view, but it's another thing to make such attacks. As for asthma, you can also get it from smoking ciggarettes and cigars as well, but I don't hear a call to end that, which I find ironic.
Sept. 3, 2011, 6:17 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

There is a big difference between you and I having the right to our opinions and the fact that Ms O'Neill makes things up and calls it news.

The problem is that your opinions are based on her made up stuff. Come look at the New Grand Army Plaza. It is now a better and safer place to drive. The bike lane is a very small part of it.
Sept. 3, 2011, 9:48 pm
cc from brooklyn heights says:
since bike riders are getting their own lanes. they should start to pay for the upkeep of bike lanes.
maybe charge them a yearly fee for the lanes.

plus they should carry insurance same as motorists, they also kill people called pedestrians.
Sept. 5, 2011, 1:33 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I think bikers should be confined to velodromes and certain parks. cars are not allowed to drive on bikelanes in parks and in velodromes, so why should the converse hold. Besides, unlike car owners, bikers do not pay their way, esp. bike zealouts that mainly are underemployed as squeegee punks, etc. My job at a recycling center gives me credentials as a green nerdy leftist, so you can't attack me here. On a side note, car exhaust is way down the list of greenhouse warming causes...it is a well-known scientific fact that car engines are more efficient than the human body at converting matter into energy. So from this, bikers contribute more than auto drivers to global warming.

Besides all that, the personal attacks are getting out of hand since none of you now me personally. Many of you imposters are basically in cahoots with those slanderous miscreants over at streetsbloggers who attack me on everything from bike lanes, to the freedumb tower, to the WNBA, and multimixers. I stand my ground becuase I am not a coward and as a nerdy leftist, my debunking only strengthens my cause.
Sept. 6, 2011, 9:14 am

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