Shocking Video: See What People Are Saying About PPW Bike Path

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.

  • I Just Have to Say….

    Marty Markowitz is a political dinosaur. Just look around the rest of the country – mayors and pols from Seattle, SF, Minneapolis, Chicago, Portland, Ft. Worth, DC, are ALL talking about the mistakes we have made in having auto-centric development. He needs to allow some new ideas to take hold as all of these cities are moving forward. His boro of Brooklyn is becoming stagnant.

  • After hearing Marty’s sad anti-bike interview with WNYC yesterday, I decided to check out the Open House last night. I was there early, maybe 6:45’ish and but I didn’t stay long because the DOT staff were completely occupied with the “civically obsessed”. Definitely a lot of people who don’t bike, and probably don’t even regularly drive cars in the area, but with all kinds of “concerns” about the plan. Lots of strained and perplexed faces amongst the crowd.

    From what I overheard, I got the sense that (like Marty) people view biking as a leisure activity only and not a viable mode of transportation. Lots of “ride in the Park” sentiments along with the usual concerns about parking.

  • J:Lai

    Keep in mind that Marty is not a mayor, he is a borough president . . . he has access to the press but no real power. I’m sure he facilitates some behind the scenes horse trading in the city council, but he doesn’t have any explicit legislative or executive power. I guess he gets to decide what goes on those “welcome to” or “now leaving” brooklyn signs.

  • Marty Doesn’t Care

    Marty,

    Have you seen this: http://www.youtube.com/user/StreetfilmsVlog#p/u/8/FZUUHS5ygVc ?

    This is what cyclists go out of their way to do every year, they go out of their way to get their bikes blessed. You don’t see car owners doing that, do you? It’s obvious Marty doesn’t give a darn about safety in his boro.

  • Erin

    The 11′ wide moving lanes were kept in the new design because of the bus running on PPW (so I was told by a DOT rep at the open house on Monday). Now the bus is being removed from the street. I asked why the lanes aren’t narrowed back to 10′ then, since there will be no bus? The DOT rep said he hadn’t really thought about it.

    Jeez. Who is designing our streets? It’s pretty simple math in this case, with adherance to some standards (e.g. 9′ minimum lane width, if buses will be using the lanes, if it’s a truck route, etc.)

    How can we encourage DOT to revert to the prior plan, the one presented to the CB in 2009, the one with 10′ lanes and a 10′ bi-directional bikeway? I sent an email to the black hole that is the city DOT. No response.

  • Erin,

    I actually prefer keeping the moving lanes at 11′ wide — it’ll make the conversion from one-way to two-way (in conjunction with 8th Avenue) that much easier!

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