Eyes on the Street: Neighbors Get Better Bike Lane

DOT construction crews were out today building concrete pedestrian islands along the Prospect Park West bike lane. Image: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/13521974@N08/6964442246/in/photostream##OasisNY via Flickr##.

Somehow we doubt it’s going to make Iris Weinshall, Norm Steisel and Louise Hainline feel any better (what with the threat of another lawsuit), but construction is now underway on pedestrian islands along the Prospect Park West bike lane.

Image: NYC DOT via ##http://brooklynpaper.com/stories/35/16/dtg_prospectparkwestmedian_2012_04_20_bk.html##Brooklyn Paper##

Once complete, the islands will provide easier crossings for pedestrians — who have already benefited from shorter crossing distances and calmer traffic — and additional beautification and greenery to the street.

Those improvements, which were unanimously approved by the local community board, should allay the concerns of those who criticized the lane for its aesthetic impact on the street and its supposed deleterious effect on pedestrian safety (claims that, again, were baseless to begin with). Renderings show street trees planted in the islands, which would help protect cyclists in the two-way lane.

It’s also a bit more difficult to rip concrete out of the ground than to take away a bike lane made only of paint.

For more construction shots, head below the fold or to this Flickr album.

Not to worry. "Neighbors For Better Bike Lanes" hasn't shut down the Prospect Park West bike lane. The lane is closed temporarily for construction on new pedestrian islands. Image: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/13521974@N08/6964421586/in/set-72157629892188389/##OasisNY via Flickr.##
  • NBBLing

    Our next step is non-violent civil disobedience.  We’re gonna lie down in front of those machines and make them stop.
    No justice, no peace!

  • Gibson N. Dunn

    My clients are suing the DOT for using those signs. How dare they get our hopes up!

  • J

    A few thoughts:

    1) This is really exciting!!

    2) Opposing these ped islands, which were unanimously approved, seems like a poor choice legally, politically, and socially. It just seems really hard to justify opposing these.

    3) Construction in bike lanes too often closes the lanes entirely. Parts of Allen Street have had their bike lanes closed for well over a year now, and Grand Street has been a disaster for even longer. I know the work on PPW won’t take that long so it’s not such a big deal, but on longer projects I hope the city can figure out how to do construction without simply closing the bike lanes.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, the rendering of the completed islands looks really nice.

  • Kb10211

    NBBLers won’t complain when their property values as the PPW area gains more attention. Kudos to the proponents who worked tirelessly to design the most complete street in all of Brooklyn.

  • Portager

    J, most of us have learned not to be surprised by what the NBBLers have opposed.  Kids going to Little League, for example.  Moms toting their kids to daycare.  Neither are highly controversial unless your last name starts with W and rhymes with einshall.

    But considering how fast apartments are selling on PPW, she’ll be the only one complaining about trees.  New condos at 107 PPW sold out in 28 days.

    http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2012/04/107-prospect-park-west-sells-out-in-28-days/?stream=true

  • Eric McClure

    Word is the DOT crews happened upon some old trolley tracks while doing excavation work today.  Maybe one of those two unused car lanes could be given over to a nice parkside trolley.

    Just kidding, NiBBLers.

  • MD

    Trees where there used to be parking spots!

  • DelGiudice Tamagni

    Can you imagine how happy Louise, Iris and Norman must have been when they saw the “Bike Lane Closed” signs being installed? And then the crushing disappointment?

  • Ian Turner

    I’m amazed the contractor even has a “bike lane closed” sign.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Don’t forget the political symbolism of all this.  You saw it in the dueling protests.  Everyone against the bike lane was over 50, perhaps over 55.  The larger number for the bike lane were in all age groups.

    No go back 25 or 30 years, when those now under 50 weren’t around.  Those for the bike lane found themselves in the minority, ahead of their time.

    Now, including those younger, they find themselves in the majority.

    And 25 or 30 years from now?

    Those now over 50 or 55 will probably still control the state legislature in Albany, or have their appointed successors control it, or will have left behind such an enormous burden in debts and unfunded retirement costs that none of the taxes we pay are available services in any event.  So perhaps not much transit.  But it will be possible to ride bikes and use the internet, in any event.

  • Daniel Dunnam

    What a perfect headline.

  • Legal Expert

    Of course, it’s worth reiterating how crushing a defeat this has been for attorney Jim Walden at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

    Jim Walden: Loser.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Of course, it’s worth reiterating how crushing a defeat this has been for attorney Jim Walden at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.”

    The goal is to stall, not to win.  That means they are still winning, until they can no longer keep stalling.  By failing to meet the deadline, they avoided being crushed on the merits of the case.  The judges ruling may have been nothing more than an attempt to let them appeal the deadline, and then come back and stall some more, and then appeal that.

  • Political Expert

    Gibson Dunn & Crutcher attorney Jim Walden may have lost the battle on PPW, but he definitely contributed to the NIMBY victory and DOT appeasement on Plaza Street last week.

  • Brooklynite

    I don’t know, Larry. What are they stalling tactics winning them?

    I think if these NBBL clowns thought they still had a legal case they’d have filed for some sort of injunction to stop the jackhammers and gone for another round of ridiculous Marcia Kramer CBS2 news stories.

    If there’s one thing we learned about Gibson Dunn attorney Jim Walden it’s that he is maniacally, ridiculously aggressive — even to his own detriment. The fact that he’s not out there flogging this story anymore or sending subpoenas to Community Board members, says a lot. Perhaps he finally realizes this case was a huge loser for him and the more he’s involved the more damage he does to his own reputation in his own community.

    Bottom line: I don’t see Mayor De Blasio taking over City Hall in 2014 and, on behalf of a dying constituency of 1980s-era Democratic Party power players, ripping out trees, granite curbs, pedestrian islands and a bike lane that a Community Board unanimously approved and that 75% of (his own) neighborhood supports with extreme vigor. Bill lives here remember. That sure would be a crappy way for him to start off his mayoralty, with 500 kids and parents chaining themselves to trees on PPW to stop Bill’s bulldozers. 

  • Anonymous

    Hey, what’s all this talk about the manifestly incompetent and anti-democratic Gibson Dunn & Crutcher attorney Jim Walden? It was manifestly incompetent and anti-democratic Gibson Dunn & Crutcher attorney Georgia Winston who filed the brief for it the last time around.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Bottom line: I don’t see Mayor De Blasio taking over City Hall in 2014 and, on behalf of a dying constituency of 1980s-era Democratic Party power players, ripping out trees, granite curbs, pedestrian islands and a bike lane that a Community Board unanimously approved and that 75% of (his own) neighborhood supports with extreme vigor. Bill lives here remember. That sure would be a crappy way for him to start off his mayoralty, with 500 kids and parents chaining themselves to trees on PPW to stop Bill’s bulldozers.”

    Maybe, but in 1977, how many saw anti-machine reform Democrat Ed Koch cutting a deal with a dying constituency of 1950s-era Democratic Party power players and handing NYC DOT over to them in exchange for support in the primary for Mayor?

    How many saw businessman, finance expert and “education Mayor” Mike Bloomberg agreeing to massive retroactive pension for NYC teachers, the cost of which will destroy any progress the schools had made and send them back to the 1970s or at least the mid-1990s, quite possibly in exchange  for support (or non-opposition) for President?

    Ambition makes people do strange things, particularly when otherwise there is no there there, as appears to be the case with DeBlasio and most of the others running for Mayor.  So if they can settle the case, lie and say the courts made me do it…

  • HamTech87

    The sad thing about the NBBL’s efforts is that it had a chilling effect on bike lane construction throughout the city and beyond.  Fortunately, the chill seems to be gone, but we could have added a lot more lanes by now.

  • Warren Wilhelm

    Well… You may have a point Larry. Jim Walden and pals have certainly been contributing a lot to Bill De Blasio’s campaign war chest. 

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Jim Walden and pals have certainly been contributing a lot to Bill De Blasio’s campaign war chest.”

    We don’t know what they would do if elected.  In fact, unless they have a real understanding of the financial situation they would inherit (perhaps Quinn does, I wouldn’t bet on the rest) THEY don’t have a real understanding of what they would do if elected.

    But if they have enough money, they can tell the uninformed voter whatever they want.  While quietly signaling to the informed interest group something else entirely.

    I don’t want to send the wrong message. I have far more faith in our city leaders than in our state representatives.  But the have they capacity to surprise on the downside.

  • WJC2013

    We need William Jefferson Clinton in Gracie Mansion.  These other candidates collectively wouldn’t qualify to be his appointment secretary.