With Brooklyn Community Board 6 unanimously approving DOT’s modifications to the Prospect Park West bike lane, the public process surrounding this project has passed another milestone. Including committee votes, last night marked the fourth CB vote in the last two years in favor of the PPW redesign or the city’s proposed changes to it. The process that led to those votes goes back even further, and it’s worth a reminder of just how long the idea of calming traffic and improving bike access on PPW has been bubbling up from local residents.
This clip from the Streetfilms vault recaps a public workshop held by the Grand Army Plaza Coalition in March, 2007. GAPCO had been organizing for a year already at the time of this event. Participants in a May, 2006 site visit concluded that “vehicles travel southbound from Grand Army Plaza into Prospect Park West at a high rate of speed.” Speeding and poor conditions for cycling on Prospect Park West had emerged as key concerns at the Park Slope Civic Council’s traffic and transportation forum that same year.
Participants at the 2007 workshop also identified the lack of multi-modal access to GAP as a problem. The final workshop report [PDF] offered this recommendation:
Improve access to the plaza and connect it into a broader circulation system for pedestrians, bicyclists, automobiles and transit users. Balance the user needs. Make sure bicycle lanes aren’t dumped into fast-moving traffic.
These efforts were initiated by community groups while Iris Weinshall was transportation commissioner. The city was not trying to “sell” the idea of calming traffic on Prospect Park West or improving bike access to the Brooklyn Public Library and the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket. Residents were trying to motivate the city to act on their concerns.
A few months after GAPCo published their workshop report, CB6 passed a resolution including a request that DOT study the implementation of a two-way protected bike path on Prospect Park West.
This is the process that Iris Weinshall, Norman Steisel, and Gibson Dunn attorney Jim Walden are seeking to discredit and circumvent by suing the city.