Last night, Streetfilms’ Robin Urban Smith and I got to catch the second half of NYCDOT’s info session about the Prospect Park West traffic calming/two-way bike path project. The first half of the evening is when the fuss happened — apparently a few people made it known in no uncertain terms that they think it’s crazy to narrow a wide street where more than 70 percent of drivers are speeding. When we showed up, everyone was calmly perusing the DOT posters and talking amongst themselves. The upshot is that we don’t have much drama for you in these short interviews — just clips of people explaining why they like the project.
The headline news from the event: The city is moving forward with implementation this summer, and installation is scheduled to be finished sometime in August. DOT has also made a few adjustments since they presented to Community Board 6 last year. The basic template is the same, but the parking and moving lanes are collectively a few feet wider, while the bike path is eight feet wide instead of 10 feet, with a three-foot buffer instead of a four-foot buffer. (Note: The two-way bike path on Kent Avenue is also eight feet wide.) The project won’t pack quite the same traffic-calming punch as it would with the narrower, 10-foot moving lanes for car traffic that were originally planned.
In response to some CB 6 requests, the design tweaks also include flashing "bicycle warning signs" for pedestrians at signalized intersections. Rather heavy-handed if you ask me, and not something I would want to look at while walking, but if that’s what it takes to move ahead with this project, so be it.
Not everyone who showed up last night was a Park Slope resident. Some of the bikeway supporters hailed from the "Marty Markowitz side of the park" in central Brooklyn. The older gentleman who appears after the halfway mark in the video — he gave his name as Simon — lives in Kensington and told us he’s looking forward to riding the new path on his trips home.