Next Thursday: A Neighborly Rally for the Traffic-Calming PPW Bike Lane

PPW_scene
Bike lane supporters will need to turn out and respectfully make their presence felt next Thursday. A few well-connected opponents ##http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/12/01/dot-sandblasts-14-blocks-of-bike-lane-off-bedford-avenue/##can make these projects disappear##. Photo of the PPW bike lane: Jeff Prant

Mark next Thursday on your calendars. It’s a critical day for one of the city’s most innovative livable streets projects. If you care about safer streets, it’s going to be an excellent time to respectfully show your support in public.

That morning, at 8:30, opponents of the Prospect Park West bike lane are holding an event at the corner of Carroll Street and PPW to call for its removal. They’re posting flyers around Park Slope and inviting the press to turn up and get the whole thing on camera. Here’s a look at how the bike lane opponents are advertising their event:

Flyer
Bike lane opponents are pasting this flyer around Park Slope.

To coincide with the anti-bike lane demonstration, Park Slope Neighbors, the Park Slope Civic Council, and Transportation Alternatives’ Brooklyn Committee are putting together a show of support for the bike lane and its traffic-calming effect on the street. They’ll be gathering at 8:00 a.m. at Grand Army Plaza.

Neighborhood groups collected more than a thousand signatures in support of this project before DOT implemented it, and more than 1,700 people now belong to the pro-bike lane Facebook group. Next Thursday you can come out and show the press how many people support this traffic-calming improvement to the neighborhood.

The PPW bike path has tamed traffic and made the street safer for everyone. Average speeds are down 25 percent and compliance with the speed limit is up 400 percent since the lane went in, according to data collected by Park Slope Neighbors. Kids and families can bike on PPW now. Older Park Slopers can ride the lane and walk to the park without having to cross three lanes of racing traffic.

But if we’ve learned anything from the recent rash of bike coverage, it’s that a lot of reporters will jump at any opportunity to slag bike lanes or portray cyclists as reckless social misfits. We’ve received word that CBS2’s Marcia Kramer will be there, and there’s every reason to believe that reporters would be more than happy to focus on angry, rude cyclists and conflict. So let’s keep it positive and don’t give them the chance.

Bring your friends, your kids, and your parents. Bring your bike if you want to ride in the lane, or just bring your shoes and stand in support of safer streets. Bring tolerance and mercy for the other side, too. If everyone who uses the new Prospect Park West and wants to see it stay safe shows up, the opponents are sure to be vastly outnumbered.

  • sarah

    isn’t there a net gain in parking with the bike lane? there are now spots parallel to the PPW hydrants, and where the streets cross. i hate cars.

  • Michael1

    This is aimed to all motorists and cyclists, referring to the Rules of the City of New York :

    Title 34
    Department of Transportation

    §2-01 Definitions.

    Roadway. The term “roadway” means that portion of a street designed, improved or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the shoulder and slope.

    Street. The term “street” means a public street, avenue, road, alley, lane, highway, boulevard, concourse, parkway, driveway, culvert, sidewalk, crosswalk, boardwalk, viaduct, square or place, except marginal streets.

    This is public information available at all times.

    Furthermore, The Oxford American Dictionary defines a “street”:

    street (noun): a public road in a city, town or village.

    Unless the roadway is a limited access highway or expressway, the street is legal shared space to all vehicles of motion and nowhere is says it is limited specifically to motor vehicles. I’m sure the NYCDOT kept parking losses to a minimum when implementing the bike lane. Besides, double parking and opening your car door are both illegal maneuvers. Likewise, cyclists must obey all laws required for motor vehicles, including yielding to pedestrians and coming to full and complete stops at steady red lights.

    A reminder for drivers:

    Rules of the City of New York – Title 34 Department of Transportation

    §4-06 Speed Restrictions.
    (a) Maximum speed limits and basic rule. (1) No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than THIRTY(30) miles per hour except where official signs indicate a different maximum speed limit.
    (2) Where official signs are posted indicating a maximum speed limit, no person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than such maximum speed limit.

    There’s a correlation between street width, speed and pedestrian deaths. And I’m sure there is data there from Times Square, Herald Square and Prospect Park West to support me that shrinking street width or limiting vehicular access leads to fewer pedestrian conflicts.

    To Park Slope residents:

    Affordable housing, increased bus service and safer streets should be your priority. A bike lane should be an open and shut case and shouldn’t even be debated for this long. The danger, congestion and noise is the result of people not respecting each other on the street, regardless of motorist or cyclist. So learn to obey the rules of the road, respect others on the street, be thankful for what my taxpaying dollars gave you, and stop wasting everyone’s time with complaints.

    To #47:

    Don’t make me do your homework again.

  • J. Mork

    Yep, the status quo is too much space given away for free to motor vehicles. So if you’re trying to keep that policy in place, you are, by definition, a conservative.

  • David L

    Well I’ll join y’all but I live in Manhattan and have no idea how to get to Prospect Park via bike. Can anyone give me directions?

  • Peter Engel

    David,

    Go to Google Maps and punch in your street, then Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York, NY, then the bicycling function. If you’re at City Hall Park around 7:15am, I suspect you’ll see bikers heading over there.

  • Suzanne

    David,

    My suggestion is to come over the Manhattan bridge, down Sands Street and hug the Brooklyn Navy Yard till you get to Vanderbilt Avenue. Then it’s a straight shot down Vanderbilt to the GAP. Check Google Maps to see how the route looks. Of all the ones I tried while figuring out my daily commute, this one was the safest as well as the simplest.

  • Peter Engel

    Suzanne’s suggestion makes sense – Manhattan Bridge better than Brooklyn.

  • @Sarah,

    There was a net reduction of about 20 parking spaces — a very small price to pay for the huge reduction in speeding and the addition of a great, safe protected bike path.

  • dporpentine, I proposed to discuss something and you offer instead to “explain” it to me–bravo! The reflexive condescension you’ve displayed is in fact my primary interest in the matter of northwestern fish. It’s a shame the most ardent nags on wheels are unwilling to associate their human-names with their views on transportation (you just might put potential employers TO SLEEP), but should anyone wish to actually discuss this thing they love to bitch about on the internet, I’ll be there.

    Eric, that’s my RSVP. 🙂

  • mn

    as my comment Im pasting a link to google images results of BAKFIETS, from a country where bikes are part of everyday life and national culture…The Netherlands. I guess people in Europe are more aware of living green than selfish americans.

    http://www.google.nl/images?hl=nl&expIds=17259,26637,26992&xhr=t&q=bakfiets&cp=4&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1440&bih=720

  • Peter Engel

    mn – I have to say that I really resent your statement.

    In modern times, Europeans have lived through the horrors of two World Wars and brutal occupations, often going without food and necessities and hiding from certain death. Because of that, not to mention the always-high cost of petrol, you’ve learned to make the most of a less energy-dependent lifestyle. Good for you.

    By contrast, Americans haven’t lived under those kind of conditions since the Civil War and the beginning of oil dependency. The last American leader to ask us to do any kind of sacrifice was Jimmy Carter; he was handed him his head for his efforts.

    The evidence of our planet’s destruction is increasingly clear. While the message may not take hold as fast with Americans, we are aware. Calling us “selfish” just sounds smug, self-satisfied, and does no one any good.

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