Park Slope Passes on Traffic-Calming, Ped Safety & Bike Lanes

Gowanus Lounge reports on the debate over DOT’s 9th Street redesign plan at last night’s Park Slope Civic Council meeting. The Civic Council voted overwhelmingly to "table" a plan that would provide the neighborhood with improved pedestrian safety on one of the most hazardous streets in the area, enhanced cyclist safety along a key access route to Prospect Park and Red Hook, and traffic-calming along an overly broad street with low vehicle counts and a serious speeding problem.

Anyone naive enough to think that bike lanes would be embraced in Park Slope–home of a food coop where green is an ideology, not a color–would have been quickly disabused of the notion within moments of walking into the room at Methodist Hospital on Seventh Avenue where the Park Slope Civic Council was holding its monthly meeting last night.

"There is no way in hell there is going to be a bike lane on Ninth Street," one resident exclaimed before the meeting even started.

A group of Ninth Street residents turned out in force to strongly oppose a Department of Transportation proposal that would add turning lanes and bike lanes to Ninth Street, and in the end the PSCC voted 14-3, with one abstention, to object to the plan.

The primary objections voiced by residents were that a bike lane would interfere with double parking and the ability to pick up and drop off children, for instance. There were also concerns that narrowing the street from two lanes to one lane would cause traffic congestion and that bicyclists would be deposited at the Ninth Street entrance to Prospect Park, which is for pedestrians. There were also a number of complaints that the city’s Department of Transportation had not involved residents in preparing its plan.

Note to Livable Streets advocates: If you don’t join civic groups and show up to community meetings, you lose.

Note to DOT: I am sure that you could have won over most of this 9th Street crowd if you had included them in the planning process.

Note to Mayor Bloomberg: You need to say that projects like these are critical to the future of New York City. We need a mandate.

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