Results of the New PPW: Speeding Down Dramatically, Cycling Up Big

Image: NYC DOT (##

Kate Hinds at Transportation Nation got her hands on an advance copy of DOT’s Prospect Park West radar gun study and cyclist counts [PDF]. The data on traffic speeds confirm the results that Park Slope Neighbors observed this summer: The new configuration — two traffic lanes and a two-way protected bike path instead of three traffic lanes and no bike path — has drastically reduced speeding on PPW. Drivers now travel at average speeds that give them more time to react to pedestrians crossing the street, which will avert injuries and lessen the severity of any crashes that do occur.

Meanwhile, the two-way bike path has opened up Prospect Park West for cycling to many more Brooklynites while cutting down on sidewalk riding. On weekdays, cycling on PPW has tripled:

Image: NYC DOT

Before implementation, 46 percent of weekday cyclists on PPW used the sidewalk. Now only four percent do, and about a third of them are kids 12 and under who are allowed to do it.

The cycling increases on the weekend are also dramatic:

Image: NYC DOT

So, on many days, close to a thousand people are using PPW in a way that either didn’t feel safe to them previously, or that wasn’t allowed because traffic only flowed southbound. Now it’s easier and safer for them to bike to and from the Greenmarket or the library (Eastern Parkway could really use some progress on its own two-way path to make biking to the botanic garden and the Brooklyn Museum feel safe too).

This is the progress that former DOT commish Iris Weinshall and Marty Markowitz want to reverse.

  • ryan

    can you talk about anything else?

  • MRN

    Wait for year-over-year to compare cycling trends, although June and August were both miserably hot, so they’re likely comparable. Data on speeding looks unequivocal – now we just got to show accident data (including cycles) to PPW opponents and seal the deal.

  • Well, I guess Marty Markowitz will be issuing a public apology to Park Slope Neighbors any day now, since back in August, the Brooklyn Paper reported:

    Not everyone was heralding the group’s findings. Indeed, Borough President Markowitz questioned the validity of the Park Slope Neighbors report.

    “This group is not impartial; in fact, it has supported the installation of the bike lane since day one without regard for anyone who would be adversely affected.”

    And no, as opponents of the Prospect Park West traffic-calming project like to point out, I am “not a traffic engineer.” But it would appear that PSN owns a very accurate radar gun.

    Of course, this, too will be dismissed as “not impartial” data from NYC’s transportation agency. They shan’t let the facts get in the way.

  • JBK

    Someone at the DOT must know a real-estate agent – see page 5 of the presentation. I like how the perspectives are subtly different, the time of day was picked just so and someone took all the leaves off the trees!

  • Yes, you just have to keep calling these people on their lies and dysrationalia.

  • giggles about when the speed limit drops.

  • Geck

    Confirms what is readily apparent to an objective observer.

  • BicyclesOnly

    Kind of stupid for DoT not to make this chart available for the rally. It would have made into at least some of the media reports.

  • Jabir

    First I supported Livable Streets because they were good for me personally.

    Later I supported them because they were good for everybody.

    Now I support them because they annoy Marty.

  • BikePortland Jonathan Maus
    New on Page Two: Is China falling out of love with cars? – Editor of China Car Times gives up on driving to buy a bike!

  • These stats demonstrate the difference the right infrastructure makes in cycling rates. No doubt, some of the increase in bike traffic on PPW reflects cyclists who were already on the road, but who formerly would have used the park or Eighth Avenue. But by concentrating them on PPW, you raise the profile of cycling, add a “safety in numbers” effect, and inspires more people to bike.

    I think we’d see a similar doubling or tripling of cycling on First and Second Avenues if the city would only complete the East Side Bikeway, linking East Harlem to the Midtown and downtown. What a cost-effective way to address supposedly intractable problems of transit overcrowding, traffic violence, obesity and asthma. Please join us for a rally at City Hall at noon on November 10 to extend the Bikeway to 125th Street!

  • Larry Littlefield

    “By concentrating them on PPW, you raise the profile of cycling, add a “safety in numbers” effect, and inspires more people to bike.”

    As I’ve said it’s like outdoor adverting. This thing just got there. I’ll bet usage redoubles next year.

    Next spring someone should contact AYSO and encourage all the soccer players and parents to ride. Parking at the parade grounds for soccer games was hell.

  • Anonymous

    Are there any updates for these numbers

  • There’s a pdf from January at the bottom of


Flashback: Grand Army Plaza Public Workshop, March 2007

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 […]