Lander and Former CB6 Chair File Amicus Brief Supporting PPW Bike Lane

City Council Member Brad Lander and Brooklyn Community Board 6 member Richard Bashner have filed an amicus brief in support of the Prospect Park West redesign carried out by NYC DOT. The brief recounts the extensive public process that preceded the installation of the bike lane in 2010 and DOT’s ongoing engagement with the community board as the agency has refined the project and measured its impact. The next hearing on the PPW lawsuit is scheduled for June 22.

Brad Lander and Richard Bashner

In a statement, Lander, who served on CB6 when the board first discussed and voted on the redesign, and Bashner, who chaired the board at that time, rebut the central argument made by Gibson Dunn attorney Jim Walden on behalf of the bike lane opponents suing the city: that DOT’s installation of the PPW redesign was “arbitrary and capricious.” Citing public workshops going back to 2007, Lander and Bashner puncture the plaintiffs’ contention that the PPW project was imposed by DOT without broad community support.

“The process surrounding the installation of the Prospect Park West bike path has been inclusive, transparent, collaborative, and democratic,” said Lander. “The vast majority of Park Slope residents support the path, believe it makes the community safer, and want it to remain.”

Bashner joined the brief as a private citizen, not as a representative of CB6. He provided the following statement:

I am proud of the extensive democratic process that took place here. Community Board 6, heeding the calls of the community, requested traffic calming on Prospect Park West to eliminate dangerous speeding.  At our specific request, DOT studied the question of whether a two-way protected bicycle path could be installed on Prospect Park West, and developed a plan for implementation.  We approved the concept, provided extensive opportunities for residents to make their opinions heard at many public meetings, suggested changes to the design, and worked with DOT on modifications before and after its implementation.  DOT should be lauded for its collaborative community process, rather than being accused of making an ‘arbitrary and capricious’ decision. Thanks to this process, Prospect Park West – the street where I live – is much safer today.  Traffic is now much closer to the 30 mph legal speed limit, bicycles and cars are separated, and pedestrians have an easier time crossing the street because they now have to cross only two lanes of car traffic instead of three.

After the jump, read the full timeline of the Prospect Park West public process that Lander and Bashner compiled:

  • March, 2007: At a Park Slope community meeting attended by hundreds, concerns about speeding and safety on Prospect Park West are raised, noting that cars exceed 60 MPH, and that many cars substantially exceed the speed limit.
  • June, 2007: CB6 sends a letter to DOT, requesting study of a protected, two-way bike path on Prospect Park West as a way to reduce speeding and improve safety.
  • April, 2009: DOT presents initial plan for parking-separated path to CB6 Transportation Committee, which unanimously voted to approve the plan.
  • May, 2009: The full CB6 board votes to approve the plan, 18 – 9, with suggested modifications.
  • April, 2010: CB6, Lander, DOT sponsor an open house, attended by hundreds, showing design plan for additional public comment.
  • April, 2010: DOT presents the modified design (addressing many issues raised by CB6 and community residents) to CB6.
  • June, 2010: Prospect Park West parking-protected, two-way bike path is installed.
  • Summer, 2010: Lander meets with bike path opponents and supporters.
  • July, 2010: Lander requests that DOT commit to provide data to community, after the path has been in operation for several months, on how the path is working.
  • August, 2010: DOT commits to provide data, and report back to the community in early 2011.
  • October, 2010: Lander, Councilmember Steve Levin, and CB6 conduct a detailed survey on the path, completed by over 3,000 Brooklynites, which reveals significant support for the path, and suggests some additional modifications.
  • October, 2010: DOT releases first round of data, showing dramatic reductions in speeding and sidewalk cycling, and significant increases in cycling.
  • January, 2011: DOT presents data to CB6 (at a meeting attended by hundreds) on the first six months of the path’s operation, showing speeding, accidents, and injuries are down, travel time remains constant, sidewalk riding is down, cycling is up.  DOT also proposes additional design modifications in response to community requests, including raised pedestrian islands and bike rumble-strips to improve bike/pedestrian interactions.
  • March, 2011: CB6 holds public hearing (attended by hundreds), at which the significant majority of community residents present favor the bike path.
  • April, 2011:  CB6 votes unanimously to approve the raised pedestrian islands, bike rumble strips, and other design modifications proposed by DOT (requesting that the design of the islands be contextual with Prospect Park West).
  • Jim Cuozzo Kramer Walden

    Wait a second! This can’t be right. I heard that the Prospect Park West bike lane was the result of smoke-filled backroom dealings by radical experimental bike lane lobbyists and vicious viral media attack bloggers.

  • Anonymous

    Go Brad and Richard!  Sticking up for the community, shining a little sunlight of truth on a smelly pile of BS, and generally being reasonable, honest, hard working people: it downright gives me hope for the future!

  • I hope this is the first step in a concerted push back of these lying, selfish, deceitful anti-public spaces morons and their spurious lawsuits. We really need to get out there and be loud about it – especially as the media and several powerful political insiders are on the other side.

  • I hope this is the first step in a concerted push back of these lying, selfish, deceitful anti-public spaces morons and their spurious lawsuits. We really need to get out there and be loud about it – especially as the media and several powerful political insiders are on the other side.

  • I hope this is the first step in a concerted push back of these lying, selfish, deceitful anti-public spaces morons and their spurious lawsuits. We really need to get out there and be loud about it – especially as the media and several powerful political insiders are on the other side.

  • Lois Carsbad

    Louise Hainline must be apoplectic over this.  What kind of irrational bike lane hatred can we expect to see in the Post next week?

  • Anonymous

    Certainly no mention of the Amicus Brief and it’s level headed contents.

  • Guest

    None of the forums listed above were invitation-only meetings organized in a wealthy person’s apartment, and therefore they don’t count. 

  • Anonymous

    Hooray for Councilmember Lander! Now that’s what I call leadership. In contrast, the silence from the neighboring district has been deafening. Is it possible that Councilmember Levin values political endorsements and campaign contributions over public safety?

  • Is there a link to the brief?

  • Park Sloperstein

    Here’s a comment I left over at Park Slope Patch in response to someone’s conspiracy theory that the B69 bus on PPW was eliminated to make room for the bike lane:

    http://parkslope.patch.com/articles/ppw-bike-lane-advocates-lane-is-the-result-of-democtratic-process

    Last spring, MTA fares were increased and services were cut all over NYC and the Metropolitan region. These cuts included the B69 bus on Prospect Park West. The elimination of this bus route had nothing to do with NYC DOT’s redesign of Prospect Park West and the years-long, inclusive, transparent community process that led to that redesign.

    Contrary to your conspiracy theory, many of the individuals and organizations who spoke loudest and worked hardest to fight the MTA’s elimination of the B69 and B71 are the very same people who participated in the community process to make PPW a safer, more accessible street for the neighborhood. For example:

    http://bradlander.com/news/updates/read-my-testimony-from-the-mta-service-cuts-hearing

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2010/03/24/mta-service-cuts-the-tough-choice-albany-never-has-to-vote-on

    Most unfortunately, when the MTA put the B69 bus on the chopping block, groups like Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Seniors for Safety had absolutely nothing to say against it. None of the substantial resources and political clout that Iris Weinshall, Louise Hainline, Lois Carswell and friends are using to fight the bike lane were deployed to fight the elimination of our community’s bus routes. Their attorneys, publicists and political consultants were nowhere to be found. In fact, many of these bike lane opponents have expressed happiness that the elimination of the B69 has freed up a few new on-street parking spaces on PPW.

  • Anonymous

    I know I’ve read several major news reports that included the bit about the bus lane, so I think at this point it must be one of those zombie lies that has gone viral.  I’m not going to suggest that it is a bit of misinformation put out there by the people who have hired a PR firm and have a high powered attorney pressing their case, but it is certainly a factual error that they have not seen a need to correct.  As you point out, they appear to have been unconcerned about the removal of the bus lane, and they probably didn’t like *that* in their backyards either, truth be told.

  • Larry Littlefield

    So buses are being cut to make way for bike lanes, schools are being cut to pay for bike lanes, firehouses are being closed to make way for bike lanes, etc.

    How about 30 years of soaring public debts, 18 years of one retroactive pension enhancement after another (none paid for with not enough paid in to fund the pensions originally promised), and a proliferation of tax breaks, deals and dodges?

    From the movie The Big Chill:

    Michael: I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex. 
    Sam Weber: Ah, come on. Nothing’s more important than sex. 
    Michael: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization? 

    Rationalizing the consequences of public bankruptcy by blaming bicycles is a sign of a willingness to use any delusion to avoid facing reality.

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At tonight’s Brooklyn Community Board 6 meeting, NYC DOT will present its final report on the re-designed Prospect Park West. The Brooklyn Paper has the latest safety stats from the city, and they show what one would expect from a project that has substantially reduced speeding: crashes and injuries are down across the board. From […]