New PPW Results: More New Yorkers Use It, Without Clogging the Street

New DOT data shows that the Prospect Park West redesign doesn't only improve safety, it enables more people to use the street to get to work. Image: NYC DOT.
New DOT data shows that the Prospect Park West redesign has not only improved safety, it has enabled more people to use the street to get to work. Image: NYC DOT

On the heels of Brad Lander’s survey showing that a whopping 78 percent of interested Brooklyn residents want to keep the traffic calming Prospect Park West bike lane, DOT has released still more data [PDF] showing that the new street design keeps New Yorkers safer and helps them get where they’re going.

With two more months of data collection since DOT last released its Prospect Park West numbers, the fundamental facts about the redesign remain. As DOT found in October, while three-quarters of cars were measured speeding before the redesign, now only one in six drive over the speed limit. The number of cyclists roughly tripled on weekdays, and doubled on weekends. There are some slight variations in the December numbers — the more recent data show slightly higher speeds in the morning and slower speeds in the evening, for example — but these effects are looking like they’re here to stay.

The December numbers add new evidence that, contrary to opponents’ claims, the narrower Prospect Park West has not caused congestion. Looking at travel times, DOT shows that even though speeding is down, a trip down Prospect Park West actually takes a few seconds under the new design. Travel times are slightly down on Eighth and Sixth Avenues as well, though a bit up on Seventh. Even during rush hour, the effects on vehicle speeds are negligible, with morning peak car trips taking a few seconds longer and evening peak trips taking a few seconds shorter.

Finally, DOT has now released a count of the total number of commuters using Prospect Park West. By turning one vehicular lane into a two-way bike lane, they were able to increase the number of people using the street. The combined count of motor vehicles and bikes increased by 11 percent in the morning and six percent in the afternoon. It’s a perfect illustration of a concept that’s central to PlaNYC: We’re going to need to prioritize sustainable transportation for one million more New Yorkers to fit on our crowded streets without making traffic even worse.

The Prospect Park West redesign actually sped up trips on the street, as well as on some parallel roads. Image: NYC DOT.
The Prospect Park West redesign actually sped up trips on that street, as well as on some parallel roads. Image: NYC DOT.
  • Shouldn’t be long now before we hear of the formation of a new “advocacy” group called “Neighbors for Better Data Collection.”

  • Larry Littlefield

    Forget data, if you just drive down the road you see that you have no problem.

    Here, I’d bet, is the biggest problem. With two lanes, you are more likely to get honked at BY ANOTHER DRIVER for double parking. But I haven’t even noticed any examples of that.

  • Doug

    I have little knowledge of the local geography, but… from the chart posted here, isn’t the obvious conclusion that the vehicles displaced from PPW are now found on Seventh?

  • Doug

    Slight rephrasing… not all vehicles are displaced, to 7th, but many of those previously found on PPW are now using 7th instead. I understand that traffic volume is dynamic. And I don’t think this is a bad thing.

  • car free nation

    Of course, it’s not really fair to look at 7th ave, which is a commercial strip, and which is seeing a lot more traffic as we get closer to the holidays. This could have nothing to do with PPW.

  • During this same period the B69 bus was moved from PPW and 8th ave to 7th Ave.

  • ksarge

    Looking forward to the day when this is not news anymore. It’s just inane at this point that the anti-PPW bike lane groups are still getting media coverage and we still feel the need to respond to them, considering that their claims have basically been proven false.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Of course, it’s not really fair to look at 7th ave, which is a commercial strip, and which is seeing a lot more traffic as we get closer to the holidays.”

    Or, from the point of view of those driving to Downtown Brooklyn, it and 8th Avenue are the through link between Ocean Parkway/the Prospect Expressway and Flatbush Avenue.

  • Greater Volume

    Doug-

    Your analysis is belied by the fact that that motor vehicle volumes have _increased_ on Prospect Park West.

    The bus rerouting is a good theory for 7th Avenue slowing down- with only one lane it would be more difficult to pass the B69 now than back in the day. But the speeding of PPW probably has to do with signal timing.

  • Marcia Kramer’s Eyebrow

    Can’t believe it now takes 7 more seconds to drive PPW. 7 SECONDS?! That is beyond unacceptable. What if someone is late for their first date because of that and makes a bad impression? Geez.

  • Marcia Kramer’s Eyebrow

    What I meant was 7 seconds less!! That is beyond unacceptable. 7 SECONDS LESS?? What if someone is early for their first date because of that and makes a good impression? Geez.

  • These aren’t big differences. I would guess it’s just seasonal fluctuation. Summer traffic volumes are usually lower than fall due to school being out and vacations.

  • Mark in Boston

    Yes, statistical deceptions abound. Unstated, but assume travel time differences are for a vehicle staying under 30mph, not 85th percentile vehicle speed. Although data isn’t given for 12 hour vehicle volumes, from AM peak hours for different months, it appears that before, cyclists made up 2.4% of road users, but giving them exclusive use of 33% of the roadway swelled their numbers to 6.6% of use. The PM peak hour shows more cyclists, but much more is likely to be recreational. 12-hour comparisons for bikes and vehicles are more likely to favor vehicles. Cyclists demonstrate difficulty following rules, but otherwise don’t qualify as American with Disabilities. Is 33% of a broadly shared public resource reserved for ~5-9% of users the fairest distribution?

  • Mike

    Is 66% of a broadly shared public resource reserved for ~20% of users the fairest distribution? Hint: most New Yorkers don’t have cars.

    When cars had use of 100% of the roadbed, they drove like maniacs. This project aimed to calm that traffic for everyone’s safety, and has succeeded beyond any doubt.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

New Scorecard From DOT: Driving in Decline, Safety Improvements Work

|
In 2008, transit ridership continued to increase while auto traffic declined. Image: NYCDOT. NYCDOT released the second Sustainable Streets Index this week, its annual scorecard on green transportation and street safety. This year’s edition has a few new features, including case studies of 12 projects across the city and some nifty GPS data from taxis. […]

Jim Brennan Poll Finds 3-2 Margin of Support for PPW Redesign

|
Assembly Member Jim Brennan’s office released the results of a telephone survey on the Prospect Park West redesign this afternoon [PDF], and the topline numbers echo the results of the web survey conducted last year by Council Members Brad Lander and Steve Levin and Community Board 6. By an overall margin of 48 percent to […]