Marty Markowitz may have gummed up plans to make walking and biking in Park Slope safer and more convenient, but the Prospect Park West bike lane has a champion in the City Council. District 39 rep Brad Lander says he wants the project to move forward.
"I support this project," Lander told Streetsblog. "I supported it as a member of the community board, and I continue to support it now." The council member said he also wants to see the project built with pedestrian refuges, which Brooklyn CB 6 requested as an addition to DOT’s initial proposal.
Volunteers with Park Slope Neighbors clocked drivers scorching down this three-lane speedway as fast as 65 mph last summer. The addition of the bike lane would calm speeding traffic and shorten crossing distances for people walking to Brooklyn’s flagship park. Park Slope Neighbors has collected more than 1,200 signatures asking for the bike lane (and converting PPW to two-way flow).
For Markowitz, apparently, those safety benefits are outweighed by the loss of a handful of parking spaces. In a letter to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan last fall, he asked for the project to be "shelved indefinitely."
The new council member from the 39th sees things differently. Lander believes his constituents would benefit significantly from the project. "The Park Slope bike network is a good one and many people use it," he said, "but the lack of a good northbound route is kind of a key missing link, and this is the best way to provide it. If done right, with pedestrian islands, it can greatly improve not only the cycling but also the pedestrian experience."
Council Member Steve Levin, whose district includes the blocks of Prospect Park West north of Fifth Street, has not taken a position on the bike lane, according to a spokesperson. DOT didn’t have an update on the status of the bike lane when we checked in last week.
Lander, for one, thinks it will get done. "I’m optimistic that DOT is going to move forward with this project," he said.