Sources say that first-term Brooklyn State Senator Eric Adams has delivered a lengthy letter to Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Judith Bergtraum expressing opposition to DOT’s 9th Street traffic safety and bike lane plan. Though the Senator, a former cop, has no urban planning or traffic engineering background, he questions DOT’s assertion that its plan is an effective way to calm traffic and make Park Slope’s most dangerous and crash-prone street safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Check that: Adams doesn’t seem to be interested in cyclist safety on 9th Street at all, despite the fact that he represents Prospect Heights, Park Slope and Windsor Terrace, districts with some of the highest rates of bike commuting in the entire city, along with Prospect Park — the number one bicycling destination in Brooklyn. Rather, Adams seems to be angling for a DOT plan that, essentially, de-maps 9th Street as a bike route. Now that’s a heck of a way for a public official to celebrate Bike Month and show his support for the Mayor’s new Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
If you live in Adams district, now would be a really good time to call, fax or visit his office and let him know of your support for DOT’s plan. You might also suggest that he get his mind wrapped around the concept of "Complete Streets" — the idea that urban streets function better and more safely when they are designed for all different types of users, not just speeding motor vehicles.
572 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11225
Phone: (718) 284-4700
Fax: (718) 282-3585
Senator Adams needs to hear from constituents who support this plan because he spent Saturday morning two weekends ago meeting with a group of about fifteen mostly car- and brownstone-owning 9th Street residents who are deeply opposed to DOT’s plan. A source who was at the meeting reports, "everyone kept saying they aren’t anti-bike and that this isn’t about double-parking, though, it always seemed to come back to double-parking."
Adams, along with his State Assembly colleague Jim Brennan, who has also sent a critical letter to DOT, both seem to have been swayed by Ninth Street residents’ factually incorrect claim that the fines for double-parking in a bike lane are higher than the fines for double-parking elsewhere. In fact, it’s a $115 fine either way. But more important: The DOT plan does nothing to prevent motorists from double-parking. DOT’s presentation actually includes a diagram of vehicles double-parked on the three-foot buffer just outside the bike lane. The DOT plan shows drivers how to double-park (see slide 12)!
Of course, the bigger issue here is the fact that a Brooklyn State Senator, a former law enforcement officer, appears to be prioritizing a fundamentally illegal activity — double-parking — ahead of pedestrian safety, bicycling and three years worth of community efforts to get DOT to fix a street where two fifth grade boys and a 77-year-old woman were killed in 2004 while crossing the street, in the crosswalk, with the pedestrian signal giving them right-of-way.
Former Senator Carl Andrews, supporter of Car-Free Prospect Park, we miss you, man.