Marty Markowitz Derails Prospect Park West Bike Lane — For How Long?

A city plan designed to make Prospect Park West safer and more accessible for cyclists and pedestrians has not materialized months after its promised delivery date, the Brooklyn Paper reports, and Brooklynites have Marty Markowitz to thank for it.

marty_markovitz__300x300.jpgA safer path to Prospect Park? Fuhgeddaboudit! Photo: New York Post

The borough president last year fired off a letter to DOT about its proposal for a two-way, parking-protected bike lane on the east side of Prospect Park West, calling it an "ill-advised proposal that would cause incredible congestion and reduce the number of available parking spaces in Park Slope." The project garnered the qualified support of Community Board 6 and was set to be built in September.

Eric McClure of Park Slope Neighbors filed a report for Streetsblog last April on the CB 6 committee deliberations, and described the existing conditions on PPW:

At nearly 50 feet wide and with three travel lanes, the street
encourages high speeds and reckless driving, forces pedestrians to make
long crossings, and lacks dedicated cycling space, despite a high
volume of bicycle traffic. Prospect Park West’s existing vehicle
volume, which peaks at about 1,100 cars per hour, can easily be
accommodated by two lanes, [DOT’s Preston] Johnson said.

In field surveys
last month, DOT found that more than 70 percent of the cars on Prospect
Park West were exceeding the 30 mph speed limit, and at least 15
percent were traveling at 40 mph or faster. From 2005 to 2007, there
were 58 reported crashes on Prospect Park West.

The new design, set to include pedestrian refuge islands and Greenstreets
landscaping, is expected to have a minimal impact on parking, with the loss of about two spaces at each signalized intersection. Yet Markowitz has pegged his objection to this negligible reduction, never mind that everyone who takes the bus, the train,
walks or bikes to this side of Prospect Park — a huge majority —
would have an easier and safer path to get there.

Inexplicably, Markowitz also claims that "the bike lane would be especially problematic during the summer surge in foot traffic," according to the Brooklyn Paper. Actually, no. The bike lane, the traffic calming, and the pedestrian improvements are especially necessary during the summer surge in foot traffic. Not that any of this would necessarily register with Mr. Lights and Sirens himself.

Streetsblog has a message in with DOT to find out if there’s still a timeline to build the Prospect Park West bike lane, or if this important safety measure is on indefinite hold.

  • J

    The DOT website just posted a whole slew of bike projects that were completed(?) in 2009. PPW is still on the list:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/installsched.shtml

  • Larry Littlefield

    As mentioned, perhaps the elimination of bus service on Prospect Park West, and the replacement of bus stops with parking will satisfy the Boro Pres. Perhaps it can be speeded up, and his office could fund the immediate elimination of the bus shelters and replacement of the signs.

    Is Park Slope parking great because its free, with insurance affordable for those registered out of state, or hell because it is unavailable?

  • Oh Larry, should you even have to ask about parking? Markowitz’s next move will be a resident-parking pilot in which endlessly renewable permits are issued to those who have autos at the time of the program’s debut, thus locking out those whose future aspirations might include a car.

  • Doug

    Markowitz can’t have it both ways. A letter that decries the effects a bike lane will have on parking that doesn’t also encourage enforcement of existing traffic laws, speed limits, and more tells me one thing: Markowitz doesn’t care about pedestrians.

  • Marty is so outa touch. It is HIS driver that double parks on PPW and then parks on the SIDEWALK when he gets dropped off at Borough Hall.

  • Time to Protest

    Since things had been going so right for so long, we may have gotten a little complacent. I think it is time to show up at Boro Hall with signs and do a real protest showing how anti-pedestrian Marty is.

  • I am ready to post photos of Marty’s car on http://nyc.uncivilservants.org/

  • Marty Barfowitz

    Barfowitz for Borough President.

  • Get rid of all Borough Presidents.

    We’ll have fewer shady, tax-payer bankrolled, chauffeur-driven bureaucrats pulling off underhanded deals like this (or Atlantic Yards, or Yankee Stadium) and more public focus on our representative in the City Council.

  • Jerome

    This is the first sensible thing I’ve heard of Marty “Gentrification-Cheerleader” Markowitz doing in pretty much ever.

    All this bike lane nonsense is really just a symptom of the real problem. This city is becoming increasingly more and more tailored to these transplanted leisure class hipster-yuppie flakes in Park Slope and Williamsburg who don’t work real jobs, drive up the rents with their parents’ suburb-remittance money, and spend their days lolling around the city on bicycles and foot without a care in the world. They demand that the city be changed to conform to their leisure-class lifestyles. Meanwhile, for those of us who actually work real jobs every day and have to commute to pay our bills, often by car, these harebrained “bike lane” ideas turn out to be nothing but hassles. Markowitz is dead on point about the congestion phasing out one lane would create on PPW. Let’s hope he stays true to the working people of Brooklyn, and common sense.

  • Mike

    Pretty good troll, Jerome. Almost made me forget the twin facts that (a) tens of thousands of
    people commute by bike to “real jobs,” including me; (b) Prospect Park West is a ludicrously over-provisioned speedway for cars right now, with lane widths that exceed interstate highway standards, resulting in speeds that pose mortal dangers to pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Jerome, No leisure class hippy dippy here: I also work a real job in Manhattan, and I get to/from by bike. A lot of people do so. I believe that you’ll find that as the city adds more substantial bike infrastructure (protected lanes, not just painted lines), the number of bike commuters will increase and roads will actually become less congested with cars. This will be a boon to people like you who do rely upon cars to commute.

  • Ian Turner

    Agreed, Mike. I gave him 2 out of 5 points, the highest score I’ve ever seen on Streetsblog. Jerome, if you had started from a point of unquestionable sanity and then slowly worked your way into the nonsense, it might have worked out.

    Cheers,

    –Ian

  • 6×9

    A two-way bike lane would be great. Getting cars out of Prospect Park would be fantastic. But for now, I would settle for speed enforcement on PPW and in the park. PPW should not be a speed zone. How about some ticketing, speed guns, and cameras?

  • Sam

    Your real job sounds pretty crappy Jerome. Why live in the city if you are forced to commute by car? My advice, move to long island, drive to the LIRR, take the train.

  • greg

    i think like ppw bike lane idea for a few reasons:

    why only one side of the park? another case of classism (which prospect park is a textbook example of)? at least add in PPSW, so that one can get from Park Circle > GAP safely. And seeing how Park Circle connects with Ocean Parkway, one can have a dedicated bike path between GAP Coney Island which would be great.

    The south end of this proposed bike path throws you into the hell known as Bartell-Prichard Circle. The north end throws you into the hell known as GAP. What is the poingt of such a pleasant ride up & down PPW, if either end is so unsafe for cyclists? se my previous point about ppsw, which can incorporate some sort of safe way to get past the circle to PPW. and some design solution near GAP/Flatbush so that you can actually get somewhere useful on bike.

    current design just comes across as another nice little amenity for an upscale neighborhood, more for liesure and “niceness”, than a serious transportation solution.

  • Jerome

    Greg, you totally get my point. Notice how most all of the so-called “commuter” bike lanes in Brooklyn are placed in hyper-gentrified areas full of leisure-class hipster-yuppie transplants who have too much time and money on their hands. The only purpose a bike lane on PPW would serve would be to help the local beardos and their pasty knock-kneed girlfriends ride from one end of the neighborhood to the other to kill time between their rock band practice and African dance class.

  • Mike

    Brilliant, Jerome. I think that one might rise to two and a half troll stars.

  • greg

    oops i butchere my first sentence above..meant to say:

    “I don’t like ppw bike lane idea for a few reasons:”

  • Emily Litella

    Mr. Markowitz should accept any transportation infrastructure spending he can get while he can get it. Motorists need for speed (to the next stoplight) is all the is about. Vehicular trip times will not be noticeably affected by adjusting roadway capacity.

  • pher

    Yes, GAP and Bartel Pritchard are difficult for bikes, as currently configured, and yes, this lane will dump cyclists off into a messy situation. But build the PPW bikeway, and two things will happen:

    1) the bike way will be heavily used (by commuters and recreational cyclists alike) without any serious diminution in the ability of cars to travel PPW.

    2) The ease of its use, and its very existence, will throw into sharper contrast the messiness existing at the nodes of GAP and BP, and will create a greater demand for integration of a protected bike facility at those nodes and for a general rethinking of the movements of all traffic modes at those nodes.

    It will be in and of itself a solution, and will precipitate the solutions to thornier problems.

    Or we could just throw up our hands and say the status quo sucks but we shouldn’t change it…

  • It doesn’t matter if everyone living on Prospect Park West has three heads. People living all around there deserve at least one northbound bicycle route that doesn’t put them in front of real BMWs driven at 50 real miles per hour.

  • greg

    i still think that including PPSW now would make this idea a whole lot better ..park circle already went through traffic improvements to make it more bike & ped (& horse!) friendly, and PPSW sure needs traffic calming..it would make it an overall more comprehensive solution and, I think, an easier sell

  • Mellow Yellow

    If you want to protest Marty, you’ve got a great opportunity next Wednesday at his inaugural celebration/state of the borough address at the Park Slope Armory (remodeled into a YMCA). Starts at 6, and Bloomberg will be there too.

    I mean, what is really more gentrifying? The creation of sane transportation infrastructure, or the destruction of homes and communities for giant shiny stadiums and the like?

  • Jerome

    “I mean, what is really more gentrifying? The creation of sane transportation infrastructure, or the destruction of homes and communities for giant shiny stadiums and the like?”

    True. That’s why I mentioned that this move surprised me, since my usual title for him is Marty “Gentrification Cheerleader” Markowitz.

    However, both the PPW and the stadium are for the birds if you ask me. And even still, at least the stadium would provide jobs–something that the Park Slope hipster-yuppie leisure class transplants obviously aren’t interested in.

  • Jerome, You obviously have no idea who actually lives in Park Slope.

    The bike lane would serve two purposes. First so people can GET TO WORK and second so people can cross the street and get to Prospect Park. With 3 lance of traffic cars race from red light to red light.

  • Jerome

    “Jerome, You obviously have no idea who actually lives in Park Slope.”

    You’re right, I mean, I’ve only lived here for most of my life and watch the newcomers flock in like lemmings over the past ten years and proceed to treat Park Slope like some sort of hipster-yuppie inbred playground inspired by TV and movies. But what do I know. Build more bike lanes so the hipster-yuppies can ride their old Schwinns to their imaginary ‘creative’ jobs on the other end of Prospect Park West. Great use of taxpayer money.

  • tim

    Mark is a corrupt old has-been. I can’t wait until he’s out of office.

  • Here’s the link to contacting Marty: http://www.brooklyn-usa.org/Pages/contact_us.htm.

    Let’s let him know how what we think.

  • Geck

    No Jerome, you’ve got your stereotypes all wrong. If you live in Park Slope, you have been living under a rock. The hipsters can’t stand the place because its full of yuppies with kids. Or is it granola eating hippies who shop at the food coop. I can’t seem to keep that straight.

    The point is, real people live there and lots of them ride bicycles to their jobs, or to take their kids to soccer and little league games. Or maybe to run some errands, like picking up bagels in Windsor Terrace or shopping at the Green Market at GAP. And sometimes people actually come from other neighborhoods to do those things in Park Slope and Prospect Park. Have you ever noticed the number of bicycles at a typical event at Celebrate Brooklyn or parked outside the Food Coop.

    PPW does not need three wide lanes for traffic. Every other street in the area is two max. A two-way protected bike lane and a narrowed PPW would be a tremendous improvement for the people who actually live there-calming traffic and make bicyclists and pedestrians’ safer, with little impact on traffic flow (except for discouraging excessive speed). And maybe in the future those lanes can be extended to other sides of the park-but for now PPW is a logical first step with its excess capacity.

  • Angry Pete

    Marty should stick to what he does best — court jester and fluffer for Ratner’s ED problem.

  • Markowitz’s anti-bike lane stance is particularly weird given that he’s been championing his “Lighten Up, Brooklyn” campaign since 2002

    check out this link and call him out on his hypocrisy
    http://www.brooklyn-usa.org/Pages/OIB/OIB_02/onlyinbrklyn422.htm

  • Jerome

    Actually, hipsters and yuppie transplants are the same–Park Slope yuppies are simply Williamsburg hipsters who hit their 30s, pair off with another transplant identical to themselves, and then ask Mom and Dad back in the ‘burbs for the lump sum payout so they can buy a brownstone and Volvo station wagon, pop out a few inbred-looking kids and continue their Brooklyn playdate.

    And despite your assumption that I don’t live around here, I actually live on PPW (and have for years) and it’s my opinion that we don’t need a bike lane here. Speeding enforcement, yes, crosswalks, maybe, but a bike lane for hipster-yuppies to loll over to the “Green Market” to buy organic kale, or for Williamsburg inbreds to pedal over here to see lame indie bands in the Prospect Park bandshell so they can then leave half of their bikes chained up on the parkside to rust for years? I think we can survive without that. And don’t even get me started on “the Food Coop.” What a joke.

    Finally, “excess capacity”?? Do you even live near PPW and see how many cars are on it during the morning and evening rush hours? I can assure you that there is no “excess capacity to be found.”

  • Max

    Jerome, I can’t imagine your new neighbors like you any more than you like them. Why don’t you just pack up your things into your 1993 Chrysler LeBaron hardtop and move?

  • Jerome

    Hey Max, believe me I would love to move out of this toilet neighborhood, but unfortunately circumstances at the moment won’t allow me to.

    And that’s a funny joke about the Chrysler–luckily though, when you yup lemmings flocked in with your parents’ suburban money and made me rich via my formerly-worthless Park Slope property, I became able to afford a lot nicer than a Chrysler. So do me a favor and tell your Dad back in Pennsyltucky that I’m enjoying his 401k money very much, would you?

  • I moved here from Sheepshead Bay

  • TIm Sanford

    I hate those bike lanes that push cars out into the middle of the street. THey obstruct views. They’re confusing to negotiate. And let’s not lose any more parking. Cylcists can easily pedal car free just fifty feet away in the park. If you want to slow down traffic, just add some more lights. GO MARTY!

  • Jason A

    “Let’s hope he stays true to the working people of Brooklyn, and common sense.”

    As a “working person” I resent you calling on my name to beat up on a bike lane.

    Yes, I’m a “working person” and cycling is my means of getting around Brooklyn (a borough with woefully inadequate transit options, IMHO). As a “working person,” I find New York to be impossibly expensive and could never dream of owning and maintaining a car. As such, I’m thankful our forward-thinking DOT is creating much needed balance to our streets and allowing those “working people” who can’t afford cars a means to get around the city.

  • “As a ‘working person,’ I find New York to be impossibly expensive and could never dream of owning and maintaining a car.”

    Well maybe if you didn’t insist on living in a trendy overpriced gentrified neighborhood to impress your fellow yups and friends back in Pennsyltucky, which I’m sure you do, you wouldn’t have such a problem affording life as a normal human being in Brooklyn. Plenty of other unpretentious working people seem to do it just fine. Get your priorities in order; stop buying the $12 cheese and olives and paying the $3k/mo gentrification rent in Park Slope and you’ll be surprised at how many other things you can suddenly afford.

    With that said, I don’t think that a 20-block-long bike lane on already-congested Prospect Park West, when there’s already an entire parallel road open only to bicyclists some 50 feet away in the park, is going to serve any positive purpose for the true bicycle commuters of Brooklyn.

  • Sam

    Bike Lanes merely amplify congestion. People are not going to stop driving, and the traffic is shifted to the smaller side streets.

    I live on Grand Street on the Lower East Side and since the inception of the the bike lanes on Grand Street and Allen Street, traffic has exponentially INCREASED.

    It is safer for people crossing the road, but the air quality, incessant honking, and wasted time have negatively impacted the quality of life.

  • Prospect Park West “already congested”? Nothing could be further from the truth. It is anything but congested, which is why vehicles speed down the street. It desperately needs traffic calming so pedestrians and cyclists can safely access the park — and thank goodness it’s about to get it.

  • Where did this “50 feet” lie come from? How come so many people are getting away with repeating it?

  • I think it’s from those anonymous flyers, which also hilariously lie that the reason the B69 is being moved off PPW is for the bike path. (In fact, it’s MTA service cuts and has nothing to do with bikes.)

    Sure, if you happen to want to go from GAP to 3rd St or 15th st, the park is useful. But for shorter distances, for access to the 9th St bike lane, and for going northbound, it’s not. The bike path is useful for all those trips, for commuting, and as a great side benefit, it calms traffic on the street and makes crossings safer for pedestrians.

  • Exactly, Mike, and it’s also two-way. The northbound trip is considerably more than 50 feet out of the way.

  • Maybe Marty and Jerome would be happy if cars would use the sidewalk to park. Then there would be 4 lanes for the cars to drive.

    Yea, if people really need to walk they can go into the park.

  • Bill

    Why is someone called a “troll” when they speak the absolute truth? I’m with Jerome all the way on this one. This is nothing more than spoiled, transplanted yupsters who want the city to cater solely to their leisure lifestyle or they have “community tantrums”. Our taxed city resources should benefit ALL communities in NEED, not just gentrified areas where privileged lemming brats play all day long.

  • To all those interested, “Jerome” goes by the handle “ParkSlope=YuppieToilet” on the http://www.diehipster.com site. If you Google his handle, you’ll find literally HUNDREDS of links to his online rants. It’s clear this guy is a mentally unstable social reject who clearly resents anyone else who has a more fulfilling and active social life. “Bill” can also be considered to be in the same boat. If you check out the aforementioned anti-hipster blog, you’ll see that both “Bill” and ParkSlopeIdiot are among the half-dozen regulars who post day in and day out. They are nothing but a bunch of low-class, unemployed, native Brooklyn idiots who can afford to spend all day promoting violence, and hate, and spread misinformation and generalized stereotypes against entire groups of people they don’t know a thing about. Their idiocy should be of no surprise as they are recruits from the Craigslist Rants and Raves section for NYC, a forum full of racists, misogynists, frustrated Republicans, and various social rejects, in which diehipster.com had been periodically advertised.

  • Thanks Trey.

    Jerome must be in the Tea Party. He makes as much sense.

  • Charini

    An interesting little story about “Trey” starts here:

    http://diehipster.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/the-ultimate-lonely-247-internet-using-hipster-troll-exposed/

    He really is a sad boy.

  • “Jerome must be in the Tea Party. He makes as much sense.”

    You’re right, I must be crazy. I mean, why not just turn all of Prospect Park West into a bike lane? To hell with the tens of thousands of vehicular commuters who are forced to use it every day. It’s not as though the infinitely-entitled, privileged, parentally-subsidized, leisure class hipster-yuppie transplants in Park Slope have real jobs to commute to anyway. And besides, they’ve never been concerned about anyone but themselves.

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