CB6 Committee Unanimously Approves 9th St. Project

The transportation committee of Brooklyn Community Board 6, of which I’m a member, voted unanimously last night to approve DOT’s traffic calming and bike lane plan for Park Slope’s 9th Street. The approval came with requests that DOT build a bike lane along Prospect Park West, undertake a curbside management study aimed at alleviating double-parking and that the agency monitor the effects of the new street design over the next year. 

A crowd of about 65 people were on-hand for DOT’s presentation and the Q&A period that followed. Supporters outnumbered opponents of the plan by a two-to-one margin, at least. And the composition of the crowd highlighted a stark generational divide, with opponents of seemingly all falling into the 45-to-80 age bracket.

I’m Seeing Green has a report on the meeting and the arguments that were put forward in opposition to the bike lane portion of the plan in particular. The blog notes:

What was missing from it all was a feeling that maybe, just maybe, the roads could be for us all… bikes, cars, trucks, buses and
walkers. Being a strong proponent of shared streets, it was sad for me to see so many staking out their personal positions without regard to the larger picture.

Prior to the meeting, Borough President Marty Markowitz weighed in with a letter of support for the 9th Street "Road Diet" plan. "I believe that it incorporates traffic calming measures which are
much desired by the greater Park Slope community," he wrote. "I would
therefore like to indicate my support for the concepts presented in
this proposal." No word on whether Road Diets would become part of the BP’s annual "Lighten Up Brooklyn" public health campaign. 

A staffer from Velmanette Montgomery’s office was handing out letters of support from the State Senator at the front door. And Council Member Sara Gonzalez sent a representative to read a strong letter of support at the beginning of the meeting. Council Member Bill de Blasio has, likewise, expressed support for the plan. State Senator Eric Adams and Assembly Member Jim Brennan, both of whom have expressed doubts about the plan, were not present at the meeting.

Along with the more than 350 letters generated by Park Slope Neighbors, Transportation Alternatives and Streetsblog readers, the approval of these elected officials virtually guarantees that DOT has more than enough public support to go forward with its 9th Street plan regardless of how the full Community Board votes on June 13.

So, good work, folks. I would say that this is a win. But stay tuned!

  • mork

    45? Good heavens — that’s, that’s … ancient!

    But seriously, Streetsblog — thanks for a great job on this. Well done.

  • TrafficCalmer

    Here’s what I find interesting about this story:

    – Park Slope is one of the most progressive place in the USA (remember the Kerry v. Nader debate; no mention of Bush), but there is open hostility to cyclists. I wonder if the same is true in Berkeley or Cambridge.

    – Is the generation gap a proxy for the old school v. yuppie schism? Or is it that as people age they stop riding?

    – Earlier there was talk about how a bike lane on 9th Street would funnel cyclists into the park at the 9th Street entrance, where there are marking prohibiting cyclists. Was there a resolution?

  • Zam

    TC,

    Ultimately, I think it was a really small but vocal group of old school neighborhood people who opposed these bike lanes. I’m not sure how reflective of the entire neighborhood they are.

    I get the sense that people are anxious about all of the change and development in Brooklyn right now and these folks kind of felt like: “You can do your Atlantic Yards and your Fourth Avenue condos and whatever else — we can’t stop that — but we’re not going to let you paint these stripes on our street.” I think this was the Alamo to some of these people. The last stand.

    On the Park the CB motion said something like, “DOT should coordinate with Parks to make sure bikes go to the right entrance. There should be a bunch of signs to tell cyclists not to ride on the ped paths.” Why the community wants to clutter up one of the most beautiful entrances to Prospect Park with a bunch of street signs that will have virtually no value at all in terms of enforcement, I don’t know.

  • Aaron et al, congratulations!

    My wife and I haven’t been able to have bikes in Brooklyn, but thanks to a larger apartment, we’re now looking.

    She’s a little terrified of biking in the city, but I’m working on that . . . this will certainly help.

  • Tim

    I agree that signs aren’t appealing, but what would you suggest be done about bikers on the sidewalks at the 9th Street entrance? They’re already a problem for pedestrians, many with small kids.

  • This seems like a great opportunity to put a Class I protected lane on the park side of Prospect Park West (which certainly doesn’t need its three traffic lanes). Then cyclists can enter that lane at 9th Street and proceed to 3rd or 15th Street to enter the park there.

  • John

    Agreed absolutely, Mike. PPW is a prime traffic-calming candidate — it’s a short enough stretch that it could re-striped in one fell swoop. Its usage on both sides — stunning residential architecture on one side, an increasingly round-the-clock use park on another — make the gesture tough to oppose.

    HOWEVER — getting cars out of Prospect Park needs to take a much higher priority.

  • Zam

    Tim,

    I suppose they could build a special bike path into the 9th Street entrance to the park but I’m up there all the time and I just don’t see much of any problem with cyclists using the pedestrian paths at 9th Street. In fact, a big portion of the cyclists I see using that entrance are parents with kids under the age of 10.

    I do see a growing problem with the packs of bike racers on the Loop Drives intimidating other users but at that 9th Street entrance people seem to be rolling pretty carefully and respectfully, especially when the paths are packed on weekends. So, I just don’t see the big deal. Why not let people share the space and work it out for themselves? It seems to be working just fine as is.

  • ly

    Would a parking protected bike lane on Prospect Park West deflect or even possibly interfere with the goal of a car-free Prospect Park? I want all cars out of Prospect Park — I think this should really be a top priority for all of us who use the park.

  • Rose

    I agree the packs of cyclists in the park are a huge problem. Something needs to be done about the maniacs who race through the red lights screaming obscenities at pedestrians who are trying to cross with a walk sign. As a non-cyclist who would like to be able to safely walk, jog, and walk my dogs in the park, I’m reaching the point where I think bikes should be banned completely from the park. I hate the cars too, but the cars at least stop for red lights.

  • mfs

    c’mon- bikes should be banned from the park? you’re confusing the behavior of a few people with a class of vehicle.

  • Charlie D.

    But Rose, what about those pesky pedestrians?! Certainly they all wait for the walk signal and never walk out into the street without looking.

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