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Confirmed: Former DOT Commish Weinshall Wants PPW Bike Lane Gone

3:46 PM EST on December 7, 2010

David Goodman's City Room piece on the PPW bike lane survey includes the first new information in months about the extent of former DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall's involvement in efforts to do away with the current design.

Following the October demonstrations where bike lane proponents vastly outnumbered naysayers, Weinshall and other opponents have not let up in their campaign to undo the re-design. Together with fellow PPW resident and former deputy mayor Norman Steisel, Weinshall, who directly preceded Janette Sadik-Khan as DOT chief, has sat down with City Council members and discussed her wishes to see the old three-lane speedway come roaring back, Goodman reports:

Since the Park Slope protests, some well-connected people, including  a former city transportation commissioner, have lobbied for changes to the current lane. Iris Weinshall, the transportation commissioner from 2000 to 2007 and the wife of Senator Charles E. Schumer, and Norman Steisel, a former deputy mayor, had breakfast last month with Mr. Lander and, shortly after, with Mr. Levin.

“They made very clear that their goal is to see the bike lane removed and the old configuration restored,” Mr. Lander said in an e-mail.

Ms. Weinshall said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that she “had concerns over all about safety elements of the bike lane and the level of both community input and the data that’s being made available to the community.”

Ms. Weinshall had previously declined to comment on the lane, with speculation in the cycling press swirling around her role in opposing it.

“I’m not opposed to bike lanes,” Ms. Weinshall said. “I put in a number of them as commissioner, including the lane on Plaza Street” that connects to Prospect Park West.

The most dangerous activity I can imagine on Prospect Park West -- barreling down the street in a multi-ton vehicle at deadly speeds -- is down dramatically since the re-design took effect. A safety-based rationale for returning to three wide lanes of traffic defies explanation.

In related news, Weinshall is rumored to have a shot at replacing the widely respected Chris Ward as head of the Port Authority, if Andrew Cuomo gives the word.

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