Tonight: Voices of Reason Needed to Counter PPW Bike Lane Hysteria

PPWphoto.jpg

Its fresh green paint is already bringing relief to car-free commuters, but that hasn’t stopped anonymous opponents of a safer Prospect Park West from continuing to spread anti-cyclist tripe of the kind pictured above.

Though no names or contact information have to our knowledge accompanied any of these fliers, local media can’t resist piling on, generally trumpeting random comments as prevailing opinion and ignoring the fact that the PPW bike lane was vetted by the local community board and installed at the request of residents who prefer bike and foot traffic to another lane for speeding drivers. If any Streetsblog readers are able to attend tonight’s misinformation session, please let us know how it went.

Lots of other relevant things happening over the next few days. This week’s calendar post is coming up.

  • Doug

    What’s needed are counter-signs:

    UPSET ABOUT THE CAR LANES?
    Afraid to walk or even be close to the curb? Can’t breathe?
    Afraid to cross the street?

    THE DANGER & CONGESTION CAUSED BY THESE LANES MUST BE STOPPED!

    Can someone please put these up?

  • Larry Littlefield

    These are folks who object to bike lanes in general, apparently.

  • How can the danger to pedestrians possibly be greater now witht he bike path than it was when everyone was complaining that the cyclists were using the sidewalk alongside the park?

  • Pete

    Can’t make it tonight, but I wrote both CB6 and Councilman Lander in support of the bike lane.

    Would *love* to know who’s behind this. Getting both the Daily News and WPIX to put out hit pieces on the lane suggests someone who’s got a few connections.

    Is Marty still opposed to the bike lane?

  • Nadine

    I live in a city entirely without bike lanes. If this were my city, I’d be pissed, but this kind of made me laugh. A lot.
    BIKE LANES! ENDANGERING CARS DAILY!

  • Mike

    Where exactly is “5th Street garden area”?

  • I took the PPW lane this past weekend. Seeing it through human eyes, I would certainly say that yes, a substantial portion of cyclists are not conducting themselves properly. Considering that this type of infrastructure is quite new to our city, and North America in general, is it really surprising that we need something of an adjustment period? Sounds like a job for education, enforcement, and patience from all parties.

    But that’s through human eyes. Lord only knows what it looks like through the windshield…

  • Paul

    Build it

  • da

    I think the “garden area” refers to an area just inside Prospect Park, between Litchfield Villa (park headquarters) and PPW.

  • Geck

    The location, “5th Street Garden Area” is indeed a mystery. My guess is they mean in front of Litchfield Villa on PPW, which is near 5th Street and has a flowers garden out front.

    I took the opportunity to write to each of the email addresses in the notice to voice my support for the project and the undeniable calmed traffic calming benefit it has brought.

  • Here’s an argument you can expect at the meeting, taken from last night’s WPIX windshield perspective propaganda piece: The buffered, traffic-calming bike lane is “an accident waiting to happen”!

  • Ah, yes, the buzzwords that Americans like to use when they are pretending to get behind a philosophically thought-out platform, but in reality just defending the status quo because it benefits their personal lifestyle.

    The socialist bike lanes of Europe have no place in America! We’re rugged individualists! Hard work and self-reliance!

    FAMILY VALUES!!!

  • … as opposed to the 23 car-pedestrian and car-bike “accidents” that actually DID happen between 1995 and 2005 on PPW, according to CrashStat.

  • How is this still a fight? It’s over. The CB voted. The lanes are being installed. Just because you have connections to a newspaper does not and should not make you a representative of the community.

    HOWEVER,
    If the lanes are causing a problem for pedestrians, the answer is to look at ways to fix them. It is my guess that the people organizing against the PPW lanes simply don’t want the # of lanes reduced and parking removed. However, if they are actually serious about ped safety, they should encourage DOT to check out solutions to the problem that don’t involve removing the bike lane. Here’s an example of a raised crosswalk across a cycle track in Vancouver (you may need to zoom in to see it):

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanwild/4704967151/

    The design calms bike traffic, and sends a strong signal that peds have priority at the crossing. Any thoughts?

  • da

    If these drivers in PPW cannot safely park and exit their vehicles on a street less than three lanes wide, then they probably should not be behind the wheel at all.

  • I suppose these anti-bike lane cranks fail to see the irony in leaving flyers on the windshields of cars parked along Prospect Park West, where they allege it’s impossible to park due to said bike lane.

    I also note that WPIX failed to catch any footage of “accidents waiting to happen” in the bike lane or congestion along the roadway. Their footage makes the whole thing look pretty calm and safe to me.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The design calms bike traffic, and sends a strong signal that peds have priority at the crossing. Any thoughts?”

    DOT installed flashing yellows next to the bike lanes, but they are too high to be seen and won’t deter jerks.

    I suggest speed bumps on the bike path at both sides of the pedestrian crossings. There aren’t many such crossings, and they wouldn’t present a problem for someone cruising at 15 mph or less and slowing into ped areas.

    And just to add to the idea of who should be there, how about a broken white line down the center of the bike lane, indicating the lane is two-way?

  • This is totally bogus. Anyone posting flyers like this is fishing for outrage, not building a community consensus.

    That said, I will say that DOT really does need to look at treatments that emphasize what is a shared space versus single use. A crosswalk and even the buffer on a bike lane is such a mixing zone and might need more obvious treatment for a cyclist to look around a little more. Or some type of sign about yielding to pedestrians.

    I find light use of the bell and a slow pace works very well in these shared spaces.

  • J

    I wonder if Marty Markowitz is making these fliers himself as a last resort.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I suppose these anti-bike lane cranks fail to see the irony in leaving flyers on the windshields of cars parked along Prospect Park West, where they allege it’s impossible to park due to said bike lane.”

    The parking is hell in no-Park Slope, but it is because of all the other car owners, not bike lanes. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  • Geck

    In defense of DOT, the marking are not all in place yet. In fact, hardly any are. However, the flashing yellows are too high and would make more sense flashing only when pedestrian’s have a walk signal. As they stand now they are too easy to miss/ignore.

    That said, those complaining about being afraid to open their car doors are outrageous. Before the bike lane was in place, opening a car door posed a not insubstantial risk of knocking a bicyclist in front of a speeding car or under a bus.

  • BTW, it’s illegal to put leaflets under car windshield wipers. Looks like we need some enforcement on PPW–go to it 78th!

  • Suzanne

    “The parking is hell in no-Park Slope, but it is because of all the other car owners, not bike lanes.”

    Isn’t that the point? Less parking = less convenient to drive = less cars = more livable city YAY!

  • Instead of worrying about turning the flashing yellow light on and off when there is a walk signal, they should come up with some kind of multi-color light system to control traffic flow. The light could be blue, for example, when the bike lane has the right-of-way, and pink when it does not (i.e. when pedestrians have a walk signal). There could be a third colored light (orange?) that would be lit for a few seconds when the light is changing from blue to pink.

  • The markings are not nearly complete yet. I’m for allowing DOT to finish their work before criticizing it.

    The flyers are being created by a woman whom I encountered at DOT’s April 29th presentation on PPW and Grand Army Plaza at the Brooklyn Central Library — wish I’d gotten her name. She made a big deal about the “dangers” of getting in and out of a parked car with kids in tow when bicycles are whizzing about.

  • MarcusW

    Red and Green and Yellow and Orange and Blue and Pink….yay! It’s a bike lane disco!

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well I did stop by. As a social scientist I had guessed around 25 people, mostly over 50, but in fact it was 26 people mostly over 50, although a couple said they weren’t opposed. Still, it was up to my estimate, if not over.

    They had an honest debate as to whether anyone in favor of the bike lane should be allowed to say anything. As opposed to most meetings public organized by the city, where the pretense is you get to say anything but the officials get to talk for four hours before you get a chance, and then the people you came to speak with leave.

    There were a couple of guys from NYU with a camera and microphone who ask me to state why I was in favor, which I did and left.

    I’d say about on-third percent of those there were of the “us good tribe vs. them evil trade” type. They had a certain idea what those bikers are like, and based on the description I don’t exist.

    The rest seem to believe that bicycles are the reason it is hard to have a car in New York City, rather than other cars — although 22 spaces lost does mean the last 22 people who now show up have a problem. But if 22 more affluent folks with cars replace 22 more seniors who don’t drive in area housing, they’d have the same problem, and in fact that has been happening.

    Some believe bicycles can ride against traffic in Prospect Park, making the lane redundant. Others seem to find the bike lane aesthetically unpleasing. And there were complaints about massive traffic jams with free flowing traffic visible a few yards away.

  • Can’t we call out these people for the shameless, selfish pigs that they are? I mean, here we are at, what, Day 59 of the geyser at the bottom of the ocean spewing outer-borough SUV fuel and these people are protesting efforts to make it easier to transport oneself by bike in NYC? Really?

    I bet most of these Slope-based bike lane protesters see themselves as god-fearing liberals and environmentalists, but make no mistake: These people are the Joe Barton’s and Sarah Palin’s of New York City. They are complete f’ing troglodytes. They are the worst of what the baby boom generation has to offer America. If they won’t shut up and they can’t be ignored then they need to be publicly disgraced every time they pop their heads up. To continue on with commenter #1’s concept, here’s the flyer I’m going to put up tomorrow…

    UPSET ABOUT THE CAR LANES?

    Afraid to walk or even be close to the curb?

    Has a friend or relative of yours been in a horrifying car crash?

    Sick of sucking up exhaust fumes on 95 degree days?

    Do you find it unjust that the majority of the city’s public space, our streets, are occupied by the elite minority of people who own a car in NYC?

    Is NYC’s endless horn-honking reducing your expected lifespan and driving you insane?

    Tired of the millions being spent on useless, make-work road projects like I-86 in the Catskills?

    Annoyed that all of these unnecessary automobile trips are broiling the planet and, potentially, destroying civilization as we know it? Does that bug you a little bit?

    What about the hundreds of millions being spent so the US military can police the world’s oil-producing regions?

    THE DANGER & CONGESTION CAUSED BY THESE CAR LANES MUST BE STOPPED! WE NEED TO MAKE IT MORE POSSIBLE TO SAFELY USE A BICYCLE FOR TRANSPORTATION IN NYC. EVERY STREET IN THE CITY SHOULD HAVE SAFE BIKING FACILITIES AND PRIORITY FOR TRANSIT AND SHARED VEHICLES.

  • Brad- You should give the above poster a regular column.

  • This is why Naparstek can’t go to Community Board meetings anymore.

  • I’ll talk to my editor about that, Glenn.

  • Mike

    Yeah, who is this Aaron guy? He could be a good addition to the site.

  • Doug

    My favorite argument against bike lanes is that they are “aesthetically unpleasing.”

    But 100 cars parked on a street, some of them total clunkers, really adds to the charm of a historic neighborhood such as Park Slope, doesn’t it?

    Aaron, please make those flyers. I’ll help you put them up.

  • bicyclesonly

    We miss you Marty.

  • Lauri Schindler

    Lots of people are crossing PPW at the top of blocks that don’t have crosswalks and entrances to the park. These pedestrians come from between cars into the bike lane; neither safe nor responsible behavior. We need a solution.

    The lights do need to be lowered in order to be seen (and perhaps an image of a bike in them something like a walk sign since they are new and unfamiliar to many), and Parks prune the trees covering them. Heck, TA’s bike parking signs are hung at the perfect height for someone on a bike to take note.

  • Larry Littlefield

    One other point of news from the meeting. It was claimed that the bike lane is unsafe because a young woman on a bicycle was hit by a car that was trying to park and went over the line.

    If that is the case, either the driver was really negligent of the bicycle rider was riding too close to the cars, too fast.

    One place the latter might have happened is in the area being painted, where the actual bike lane was blocked off for the paint to dry, and you had to ride on the buffer.

    This morning, the entire bike ROW was blocked in the painted area, perhaps in response if this is in fact what happened. I had to get off the bike lane and go elsewhere, unfortunately.

    There was also a claim that ridership is low, and thus the bike lane is a proven failure. But it has only been completed for a few days, and is now blocked off at its northern end.

  • MtotheI

    I decided to try it out last night. The lane is not even close to being completed. There is green paint for only a few blocks at the northern end and 2 or 3 of those blocks are closed off for the paint to dry. Crosswalk markings are in, however, but no bicycle lane markings. Drivers are parking their cars in between crosswalks at intersections where they will not be allowed once the project is complete. It is crazy that people can decidedly call the bicycle path a failure before it has even been installed.

  • steve

    It sounds like there’s a lot of drama, vitriol and bigotry on both sides of this issue and it’s unfortunate that the situation has devolved in this way. I was at the meeting last night and am generally opposed to the PPW bike lane. The reason I’m opposed to the lane has nothing to do with a broad bike vs. car political agenda.

    I’m a cyclist, driver and resident of Park Slope. I’m generally an advocate of greater bike lanes in the city and make full use of them. I’m sympathetic to both sides of the debate, but feel that PPW was a poor/irresponsible choice for a lane for the following reasons:

    -there’s an existing parallel in lane in Prospect Park about 100 yards away. I don’t know why the politician’s responsible didn’t simply better utilize Prospect Park for two-way bike travel. Personally, as a cyclist, I never found a need for a PPW bike lane. I’ve always felt relatively safe while riding a bike along PPW, as the curbside lanes were wide and traffic seldom used all three lanes.

    -the purported justification for the lane was “traffic calming” on PPW. As a taxpayer, I think there were much more cost effective ways of achieving this goal, mainly better traffic light sequencing. I don’t know why this wasn’t pursued. Additionally, as a resident who walks PPW every day, traffic congestion (fumes, etc) in my view is now much worse. So, I’m upset that tax dollars were misapplied in this irresponsible way.

    -There’s rarely been a bike lane I haven’t been a fan of. I make frequent use of those on 3rd st, 2nd st, 5th ave, smith st, boerum place, etc. However, these lanes were created without having a negative impact on traffic congestion. In my view, this is because they were wide streets originally intended for 1-lane of traffic. The problem on PPW is that the DOT has eliminated a lane on a busy street. Cars will still travel on PPW, they just now have one-less lane to do so. This is further aggregated by school bus, Fed Ex/UPS/Fresh Direct, etc. double parking. You can argue that temporary double parking is illegal, but you have to recognize it will happen anyway and that it’s impractical otherwise

    -knowing that many of you don’t drive, I don’t think you fully appreciate that this congestion makes it less safe to park and exit your car on PPW. As the traffic flow is now much more constant on PPW and there are only two lanes, parallel parking becomes disruptive to that flow and potentially more hazardous to the parking car and to oncoming traffic. Also, there is insufficient clearance to exit the car safely on the passenger side. Before dismissing this, rent a Zip Car and try it

    -I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but as a long time resident of Park Slope, I believe PPW has lost a lot its visual appeal. Not because of the bike lane, but because the road now appears more narrow and loaded with cars. The sight line to the park is more obstructed than it was in the past. I realize this is not a substantial argument, but it’s a point of view and one that is shared by others

    -As far as bike/pedestrian safety are concerned. I think there are valid arguments on both sides and I don’t think having or not having a bike lane changes this. I think people have to be courteous and careful. It’s with this goal in mind, I don’t know why share used of the PPW sidewalk was not considered as a cost effective solution. This works on the bike lanes adjacent to the northern part of the West Side Hwy and Henry Hudson Pkwy. Why not here? Also, a bike lane is not the final word on bike safety. I’ve been on some pretty crowed bike lanes and they’re not so safe either.

  • Mike

    Steve, first, I want to thank you for your generally well-thought-out and clearly reasoned post. While I don’t agree with most of what you wrote, I respect your opinion and that you’ve ventured here to post it.

    I do have a few questions I’d like to ask you about your reasoning:

    1. Why do you think Prospect Park is an adequate substitute for local trips around the neighborhood? There are bike-accessible entrances only at Union/GAP, 3rd, and 15th. What about other origins and destinations, even if the park road were to be designated as two-way?

    2. You are clearly an experienced cyclist. Do you think inexperienced cyclists, children, families, etc. would be as fearless about biking on the old-style PPW as you were?

    3. Don’t you think there would be as many people up in arms about designating pedestrian paths within the park as bikeable, or about adding a reverse-direction bike lane within the park, as are upset about the PPW bike lane?

    4. Do you think the old PPW had a speeding problem? Do you know of any successful signal-based traffic calmings in NYC? I don’t think there have been any (and certainly not where signals only exist every few blocks, as is the case on PPW). Installing enough signals to make signal calming viable would cost *much* more than striping the bike lane — signals cost about $50,000 a pop, last I heard.

    5. None of the other avenues in Park Slope have more than two moving lanes. (4th Ave is a different beast – more of a long-distance route.) Why do you think PPW needs three?

    6. Have you biked or driven on Kent Ave since the separated bike lane went in there? There was a lot of uproar and confusion at first, but people got used to it and mostly seem to like it now. Do you think that could happen on PPW?

    Yeah, some of these are leading questions, but I think they’re fair ones.

  • Larry Littlefield

    There’s not enough room in the existing Prospect Park bike lane for two ways, particularly since many use that path for recreation — and go faster than those using bicycles for transportation.

    Now if a traffic lane were removed inside the park, that would be different. But I suspect that would create more opponents than the Prospect Park bike lane, as would sidewalk riding.

    The actual alternative, the one shown as “proposed” for a bike lane, is 8th Avenue, but that road is too narrow and too dangerous, particularly for children age 12+ who are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk.

  • Steve,

    I think I talked to you a little bit after the meeting. You were one of the handful of calm, reasonable people there who opposed the bike lane, and I recognize many of your arguments verbatim from our brief conversation.

    Ultimately, it sounds to me like we can all agree that the real problem here is cars, not bike lanes. The “safety” issues “caused” by the addition of the bike lane are, in reality, still caused by cars:

    – It’s unsafe to get out of one of a parked car on this “narrow” road “loaded with cars.” Agreed. Congestion is an issue because of too many cars driving down the road, and other cars/delivery vehicles double parking. Since virtually all of the other roads in Park Slope, er, make that Brooklyn in general, are only two lanes, maybe we should investigate how they manage to function without a third lane.

    – The double-parking is definitely an issue, one that has nothing to do with bike lanes. Fortunately there is a very good solution to illegally double-parked delivery vehicles: dedicated loading zones. One parking space per block along PPW should be dedicated a “loading zone” between certain hours each day. Problem solved. No more illegally double-parked delivery vehicles.

    – Speeding cars tho, that again is a real safety issue. Nothing to do with the bike lane of course, but it is the cruxt of all of the safety concerns: Cars are going too fast and it’s making it dangerous for people to get in and out of their parked cars. It’s a real problem. (We’ll set aside that the original re-striping had wider lanes, but with less parking, and it was rejected by the community board because people were unwilling to give up so many parking spaces. This narrower lane + more parking solution was approved by the same board. But forget all of that, lets deal with the problem at hand.) Timing lights differently doesn’t calm traffic, it makes people speed even more between lights thinking “maybe if I just go a little faster I can make it!” So you end up with a bunch of people racing to stop, over and over. (The least efficient way to drive a vehicle and thus causing more pollution.) The way you cut down emissions is for cars to drive more slowly without stopping and starting (breaking/accelerating) over and over. So to solve both the pollution problem and the speed problem in one go is to make drivers feel like they should drive more slowly but with well timed lights. Giving them less room (narrower lanes) has been shown repeatedly to achieve this. I would go one further and say it has *already* worked on PPW.

    I don’t own a car, but I do use Zipcar and in the past when I was driving and needed to get around Park Slope I always tried to use use PPW. It was like a freeway. In a Zipcar time is of the essence and I was always in a hurry to get back to the garage. Fortunately for me PPW allowed me to get from Grand Army Plaza down to 11th street in no time! I could blow down the road at 55mph with no issues, and I’m sure I did. But Monday night I watched PPW very closely during that entire meeting. You could plainly see that traffic had been calmed. I don’t think anyone could realistically argue this point. The traffic was going half what it used to. And frankly, I imagine if I were to get a Zipcar and drive to my destination again today, there wouldn’t be any reason to take PPW, as it wouldn’t be enough faster to justify the few blocks out of the way that it is. So there, success, one less (rented) car traveling down the road. Not only is the traffic obviously calmed, but there will be at least one fewer car on the road.

    So to sum up: it seems to me, other than the “aesthetic” argument (which you admit is the weakest) in every case you cite specific to problems with PPW, the bike lane is not the problem. The problem are the cars. They’re illegally speeding or driving unsafely, they’re illegally double-parking. These are the real problems. Hopefully the plan will work, and having fewer, narrower lanes will pay off in reducing both the speed people drive, and the number of people who choose the route. If residents were willing to forfeit 20 more parking spaces or so (during delivery hours) I think we could pretty well solve the illegal double-parking issue as well. Maybe that’s the primary takeaway of this “trial” period: “There’s too much double-parking, we need to add a loading zone on each street.” The only problem there is that based on the crazy people at that meeting (and I don’t mean you) I have a hard time believing those residents are going to be willing to give up any more parking spaces. Which I think says a lot about their priorities. Specifically, that to them, it’s not really about safety.

  • steve

    I’m equally appreciative of your respective well-thought out and clearly reasoned posts. Here’s my take on some of them:
    1. From my standpoint, whenever I used the Park bike lane, my destination was the Park or destinations like Ocean Pkwy, the Parade Grounds, Windsor Terrace, etc. For trips around the neighborhood, I would generally use the most direct route to my destination (i.e., all side streets, 8th Ave, 7th Ave., etc.) For entering the Park, I would use any of the access points you describe plus 9th St, 11th St and Carroll St.
    2. I don’t think the old style PPW was an appropriate road for children or new cyclists. But then again, I don’t think I’m that comfortable with them using bike lanes either (other than the one in Prospect Park on traffic free days/times). Unprotected bike lanes are still vulnerable to drivers and protected bike lanes can get overcrowded with cyclists having a mix of experience, speed and courtesy levels. I would have liked to see the PPW sidewalk as a shared use path similar to the West Side Hwy/HHPkwy path
    3. I don’t see why they would. I certainly wouldn’t and I think others would view it similarly. By eliminating or further rationing car traffic in the Park and providing for two-lane bike traffic, all of my issues are solved. Now, I haven’t seen any traffic studies to know whether eliminating such car traffic causes significant problems or not. I just know that in the 25 years I’ve live in Park Slope (most of that time as a car owner), I’ve never once found the need to drive in the Park. However, I used PPW quite frequently.
    4. I definitely think old PPW had a speeding problem. I don’t have any data on signal-based systems, but I know they work for me (i.e., when lights ahead of you are turning red well before your next light). Sounds expensive, but I would have preferred it to the current solution, plus I don’t think you’d need to have one on every block in order to meet the calming goals.
    5. None of the other avenues in Park Slope carry as much traffic volume as PPW. I think it needs the 3rd lane. The 3rd lane has always provided me, as a driver, with the option of moving around a double parked truck/bus, parallel parking car or cyclist without backing up traffic.
    6. I haven’t
    7. I would have been in favor of expanding the width of the Park bike lane and futher rationing car traffic
    8. I don’t think it would create more opponents. I think Park Slope residents would be in favor.
    9. I agree that 8th Ave would have been a poor alternative
    10. Dan, I actually had to leave the meeting early, so it wasn’t me that you spoke with. I’m glad there were other calm people there. It doesn’t surprise me however that there is common thinking on many of these points among residents.
    11. I believe that cars are more of a safety problem than bikes. However, the car for me is a necessity as it is for others. I think also that non-courteous and careless cyclists create safety issues for pedestrians and other cyclists.
    12. It’s worth an investigation, however see 5 above for my view.
    13. Temporary double parking exists throughout the city. I think it works, if not abused (cars unloading passengers, luggage, mail/food delivery vehicles, etc.). I like the loading zone idea, but I don’t think it solves the problem or eliminates double parking. Therefore, I believe it will continue to hinder traffic flow on PPW.
    14. Sorry, I’m running out of time, but see 3 above.
    15. I agree that traffic is moving slower. However, I don’t believe it’s any safer or more efficient from a carbon emissions standpoint. I certainly smell a lot more fumes when walking along PPW than ever before.
    16. Thanks for considering me not crazy. You guys seem to be reasonable as well. Hopefully reason and consideration prevail. Although, crazy is not the province of car owners alone. Take a look at some of the prior posts on this blog!

  • With all due respect, people who are finding it difficult to parallel park due to the new lane configuration along Prospect Park West probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

    The parking lane adjacent to the bicycle lane buffer is eight feet wide. The travel lane next to it is 11 feet wide. I just measured our car, a Toyota RAV4 — a mini-SUV — and found that it’s less than six feet wide. That mean if I were to park against the three-foot buffer, I’d have more than two feet on the passenger side before I even get to the travel lane, which, at the aforementioned 11 feet wide, could accommodate almost two cars the size of mine. Even my brother’s truck, which I also just measured, a huge Ford F550 diesel, is less than seven feet wide.

    People have been parking on 8th Avenue and 7th Avenue and 6th Avenue and 5th Avenue for 100 years without complaint, but reduce PPW to the same two lanes and suddenly parking is unsafe? That’s a complete canard.

    And all of those other avenues are visited by FedEx and UPS and Fresh Direct and school buses and emergency vehicles, too — someone cite for me one incident in which the absence of a third travel lane on any of those roads was reported as the cause of an injury or dangerous situation. Just one.

    As for congestion, if there’s been any slowdowns on PPW since DOT began work on June 1st, it’s most likely due to the work itself. Traffic volumes on PPW do not merit three lanes — it’s not a busy road, which is part and parcel to the speeding problem. DOT has measured peak-hour volume at about 1100 cars per hour — that’s one car per lane per block at any one time. Surely one-and-a-half cars per lane per block at peak volume is manageable.

    As for the park drive already having a bike lane, that’s another canard. The park is used primarily for recreational cycling, and those cyclists often ride very fast. Imagine trying to cross the loop with cyclists coming fast from both directions. And as Mike pointed out above, the park drive is only accessible at both ends and at 3rd Street. And we all know that having cyclists and pedestrians squeezed together on the sidewalk — even a nice wide sidewalk — isn’t a tenable situation.

    Let’s also wait until the bike path is actually finished, or even nearly finished, before complaining about the lack of users. If lack of users was an issue, PPW would’ve been reduced from three travel lanes to two decades ago.

  • steve

    D: None of the above

  • lauren

    as a driver, i understand being bummed about losing a lane on ppw. i definitely sped on that road.

    as a cyclist and pedestrian, every bit of roadway taken from cars and given to other modes of transportation is a step into a better future — really, a step back from the destructive path that aaron so brilliantly described. what an amazing comment he wrote. i would never try to say it better.

    so, yeah, it hurts to have it be harder to drive and park a car. i enjoy driving a car. i enjoy the incredible degree of personal freedom a car provides. so i need obstacles to pry me from it. bring ’em on — congestion tax me, take away parking and lanes of traffic. give me mass transit and bike lanes.

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Tonight: Support the New PPW and Stand Up for Safer Streets

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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 […]

Ten Things NBBL Doesn’t Want You to Know

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If opponents of an effective street safety project repeat dishonest distortions about it often enough, does that make their position true? Apparently, the Daily News editorial board thinks so. An opinion piece they published over the weekend on the Prospect Park West bike lane might as well have come straight from the desk of Gibson […]