Today’s Headlines

  • PPW Bike Lane Supporters Far Outnumber Detractors at CB 6 Hearing (NYT, Patch, NY1, Bklyn Paper)
  • Brooklyn Spoke Has the Most Dedicated and Detailed Recap
  • The Post Is Incapable of Printing a Word About PPW That Doesn’t Come From Opponents
  • John Cassidy Gets in Some Final Words for the “Cycling Flash Mob” (New Yorker)
  • Felix Salmon Punctures Cassidy’s Arguments One More Time
  • While Transit Riders Endured Historic Service Cuts, Kruger Rolled in a Bentley Bought With Bribes (NYT)
  • Manhattan’s Liz Krueger Will Take Over as Ranking Member of Senate Finance Committee (Gotham Gaz)
  • Rail Commuter Files Class Action Suit Against LIRR Over Christmas Blizzard Response (CBS2)
  • Big Box Target Will Build in Subway-Free DC Nabe Without Adding Parking (City Paper)
  • Council Member Steve Levin’s Brief Car-Free Period Has Come to a Close (Bklyn Paper)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • In all three columns, Cassidy did lots of imagining that he knows what other people (cyclists) think. Almost always creates big vulnarbilities in your arguments.

  • Cassidy embarrassed the hell out of the New Yorker. They do think about their demographic over there.

  • Moocow

    I would guess that at the CB6 hearing last night, the age of “Pro” group was somewhere near half over 40. Does that seem correct?
    Also, re: the compromise, it’s what is there, the PPW lane is the compromise. One traffic lane out of how much space dedicated for cars? NIMBYs announcing a compromise is so obnoxious.

  • car free nation

    I think we should look at the PPW lane from another perspective. Let’s say it was already there and had been there for years, and a group of neighbors organized to add another car lane to the street. Can you imagine?

    But this is what they want… Another lane for cars. I hope it’s a dying gasp for automobile-centric policies in NYC and not the beginning of the end of progressive streets.

  • MK

    A number of the PPW opponents at the CB6 meeting had issues with the floating parking lane because of the conflicts it creates while loading/unloading and overall visibility. Proposed solution: remove the floating parking lane, widen the bike lane or plant trees, price the parking on the other side and designate specific spaces on that side for loading/unloading.

  • kevd

    Cassidy calls the Economist rebuttal “a bit wonky.”
    I have exactly one high school economics class under my belt and had no trouble with it. Not a single word or concept. If that’s “wonky” to him well, I wonder just how learned an economist this guy is. Really, it was just well written, clever and funny. Three adjectives that can’t be applied to his writing.

  • Geck

    I am starting to think the NBBL’s issue with the floating car lane is more aesthetic than safety, but they deemed it more effective to pass it off as a safety issue.

  • m to the i

    I think it is perfectly fine that people booed and hissed at members of NBBL and Seniors for Safety. They do not respect or believe in the fairness of the public process taking place through the community board and decided to sue. That is fine and within their rights but they should no longer be involved at the community board level. They decided that the proper arena was a courtroom and that is where they should voice their opposition.

  • MK

    Cars in public space are unsightly. Removing the floating parking lane and putting in a tree buffer or expanded bike path makes even more sense from an aesthetic point.

  • Marcia Kramer: Bought & Paid For

    It’s really too bad that the POST could only throw together three small paragraphs on deadline. That C.J. Sullivan twerp isn’t anywhere in my league when it comes to spinning a new lie (er…tale) quickly.

    While it’s true that PPW lane opponents were outnumbered 8 to 1, there has to be a new angle to support their agenda. Don’t worry, I have unfettered access to Marty, Iris and Chuckie (whoops, sorry). Watch this space for more hysteria soon.

  • MK, I like where you are going, it may seem far fetched at this point, but 2 way bike lanes and bike boxes did you 3 years ago.

  • The new angle is the Class II bike lane. It was pushed HARD last night. Watch out, people. That’s what they’re gonna gun for now. It’s their only way out of this.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The new angle is the Class II bike lane. It was pushed HARD last night. Watch out, people. That’s what they’re gonna gun for now. It’s their only way out of this.”

    Well, it’s progress and much more honest that some of them were willing to acknowledge that this means riding northbound on 8th Avenue. Which is much more fair minded than “there is a bike lane in the park they don’t need it.”

    Given the width of 8th Avenue, and the way people drive on it, however, I don’t think it is safe and I don’t think it can be made safe. Not for the parents I see riding with children, and with infants in car seats, that I see on PPW.

    There isn’t enough room for a cyclist to ride outside the door zone and two large vehicles to pass (ie. an SUV whizzing by a truck). And drives traveling from the Prospect Expressway to Flatbush Avenue and on to Downtown Brooklyn do so aggressively.

  • Andrew

    I don’t understand why they think a southbound class II lane will fit.

    The previous configuration looked like this:

    19′ parking/travel | 11′ travel | 19′ travel/parking

    With a bike lane on the park side, it would look like this:

    7.5′ parking | 10′ travel | 10′ travel | 10′ travel | 4′ bike | 7.5′ parking

    And for the parking and bike lanes, these are substandard widths. Cyclists would be getting doored and run over like crazy with this configuration. It’s just not safe.

  • I am with m to the i in comment no. 8. It’s hypocritical in my book to file a lawsuit then come to the meetings asking for changes.

  • Josh

    I’ll be very disappointed if the prevailing narrative about Carl Kruger becomes more concerned with whether he’s a closeted homosexual (as reported in the Post today) than about how he’s corrupt.

  • mjd

    I like these ideas that came up last night from the “cons” and “others”: restoring bus service to PPW, enforcing traffic laws with cameras on PPW. Cyclists and motorists should be ticketed equally for breaking the law, although I think peds should be given a free pass for jaywalking. A northbound bike lane on 8th ave is a good idea, but a car lane probably needs to be removed there to install a bike lane safely. And a two way bike lane inside the park is ok with me if it means banning automobiles there. Next we need to continue the public process embodied so well by CB6 to find ways to make Grand Army Plaza safer for pedestrians, bikers and motorists, and to make more neighborhood streets safe enough for children to ride bikes to their schools and after school activities. Why shouldn’t my kids be able to do that?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “A northbound bike lane on 8th ave is a good idea, but a car lane probably needs to be removed there to install a bike lane safely. And a two way bike lane inside the park is ok with me if it means banning automobiles there.”

    Well that’s about what it would take, but I don’t think either removing a lane on 8th or in the park is practical. That would be a real radical move to knock through traffic out of Park Slope, and I don’t think it would be accepted by those from elsewhere. So I’d put it in the Red Herring category.

  • Daphna

    The only bike lanes that work are curbside bike lanes. Curbside parking protected bike lanes work best. Curbside unprotected bike lanes such as on Rivington, Stanton and Bleecker work somewhat.

    In contrast, bike lanes that place a rider between the parked cars and a moving traffic lane do not work at all. Most of the time these lanes are in the door zone of the parked cars, not to mention that motorists do not obey them at all. The only way for these lanes to be even partially safe would be to place them 3-5 feet from the parked cars, and paint a 3′ buffer on the other side of the bike lane to allow a safe passing distance. This would mean removing a whole travel lane, and if that is going to be done, it would be much better to make it curbside parking protected in the first place.

    Class II bike lanes should not even have the name “class II”. Those lanes should be called “be blocked by double-parked cars and/or be doored” bike lanes.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I don’t find all Class II lanes useless in all cases. It depends on how wide the moving lane is, and how heavy the traffic is. I always ride on the side of the lane furthest from the parked cars, so I won’t be hit by a door.

    The problem on 8th Avenue is that wouldn’t leave enough room for one large vehicle to pass another withing having the mirror hit my elbow. An SUV impatient to pass a truck, for example.

    But on Vanderbilt Avenue, Dekalb Avenue, etc. that isn’t a problem because the moving lanes are wider, and Vanderbilt is a two-way street with no motor vehicles passing other motor vehicles.

    Nor is it a problem on calm side streets such as Bergen and Dean, where the motor vehicles move slowly.

    On the other hand, I ride on Park Avenue rather than use the 6th Avenue bike lane in Manhattan. Cars moved fast on 6th, and the bike lanes is parked in from end to end.

  • I basically agree with you Daphna, but wouldn’t put it quite so starkly. On residential streets without much through traffic, Class II lanes slow traffic down and make motorists more aware, and in some cases more respectful, of cyclists. We’re not going to get a full-blown separated lane network in New York City for a long, long time, and curbside lanes are a tough political lift because of the parking impact. The dooring risk in a typical Class II lane is greatly reduced or eliminated by reducing your speed to 10 MPH or less and exercising maximum vigilance, especially when MV traffic is passing.

  • Joe R.

    I tend to think the dooring risk in a class 2 lane is somewhat exaggerated. If you look ahead for a block or two, it’s pretty easy to spot which parked cars are likely to have a door being swung open. Generally, I look for pedestrians approaching a parked car, or a car which has just parked (easy to spot at night because it usually has lights on either inside or outside). In all cases, I give such vehicles at least a 6 foot berth. I try to keep to the outside edge of class 2 lanes the rest of the time just in case I guess wrong so I only have to swing out an extra foot instead of 3 or 4 feet. It also helps to be aware of traffic behind you so as to make the determination whether to swing out or slam on the brakes if you encounter an unexpected door. At higher speeds (greater than maybe 22 mph) I just take the traffic lane because I’m not sure I could react fast enough to an unexpected dooring situation. Keeping speeds to 10 mph as BicyclesOnly suggests is also another strategy which would work well most of the time. To me personally that’s intolerably slow. I prefer to just ride towards the left side and keep my customary speed patterns.

    All that said, parking protected lanes, or better yet completely separate infrastructure, is something I would greatly prefer with one caveat-that there’s enough room to pass slower cyclists. A parking-protected lane boxes you in. If there’s not enough room to pass, that means bike traffic moves at the speed of the slowest cyclist. To me that would make such a lane useless.

  • BGray

    I was at the CB6 meeting last night. Much of the complaining from NBBL and their allies was about bus loading and other double parking on PPW. This is easily solved by expanding and multiplying the loading zones (and stepping up enforcement) but of course this involves a reduction in the free on-street parking that these residents enjoy. They already have 2 parking lanes on a street that is only inhabited on one side.

    I have been a resident of Park Slope for over 10 years and I owned a car for 5 of them (and not the first 5). Parking was a pain and I paid for a garage spot for 2 years before giving up the car. Owning a vehicle in the city is a luxury, and if you can afford a home on PPW and a car the maybe you should think about getting a space in a parking garage too.

    Prospect Park and the PPW lanes are a boon for ALL residents of CB6 and beyond. These NIMBY folks need to realize that.

    And for the rest of ya, stop at the damn crossings!

  • Suzanne

    “I tend to think the dooring risk in a class 2 lane is somewhat exaggerated. If you look ahead for a block or two, it’s pretty easy to spot which parked cars are likely to have a door being swung open.”

    Unless the driver throws their door open right in front of you, as happened to Jasmine Herron. I ride fairly slowly, stop at all red lights, and always look ahead but I’ve almost been doored several times in the year I’ve been riding. Most often this happened on Vanderbilt. It’s lead me to ride much further out in traffic than I’m really comfortable with but my impression is that I’m safer riding inches away from someone driving (and hence unlikely to open their door right in front of me) than from a parked car that might be filled with morons who don’t look before getting out into the middle of a bike lane.

    Protected bike lanes are the only way to really ensure cyclists are safe from motor vehicular stupidity, at least on heavily trafficed non-residential roads. And, equally important, they *feel* safer. And that’s the only way we’re going to get the many New Yorkers who’d love to ride but don’t feel like risking a horrible death every time they go to to the supermarket on a bike.

  • Andrew

    @Joe R. – If you’re riding out 6 feet from cars, then you wouldn’t even be in the bike lane if DOT had tried to shoehorn a bike lane in with three moving lanes, and then you would be getting ticketed by NYPD.

    I think this is the tack that cycling advocates should be sticking to – the configuration that NBBL and SfS is proposing is a lose-lose situation: it gives drivers and passengers no space to safely exit their vehicles, it narrows travel lanes (contrary to what NBBL and SfS believe, the travel lanes were not narrowed as part of the redesign), and it provides only the most meager and dangerous of cycling facilities. One would think that with a former transportation commissioner on board, their urban design strategies wouldn’t be so half-baked, but I suppose she’s not a traffic engineer/planner.

    There’s no way to accommodate at least a Class II facility on PPW without removing a lane. If you choose to replace that travel lane with a buffer and a lane, that’s only half a solution: you still have to either install a complementary lane on 8th Avenue, which like PPW, isn’t wide enough to add a Class II without removing a lane or narrowing parking and moving lanes to dangerously small widths, or you have to do something like bending the rules to allow sidewalk riding on the park sidewalk.

  • Daphna

    On January 20 and January 21, 2011 Streetsblog.org published two articles about planned enhancements to the Prospect Park West bike lane. Is the DOT still going ahead with these? Most importantly among them, will the tan paint be replaced with raised islands? Will that be done this Spring?

    From the 1/21/11 Streetsblog.org article on the subject:
    “The proposed modifications should make the new Prospect Park West even friendlier to pedestrians. At intersections, the tan paint marking the pedestrian zone of the median will be replaced with raised islands. That should keep parked cars from intruding on pedestrian space. Along the bike path, DOT wants to install “rumble strip” markings to alert riders that they’re approaching an intersection. DOT also suggests rearranging the loading zones at 9th Street and narrowing the bike lane buffer at the very northern end of Prospect Park West in order to better transition into Grand Army Plaza.”

  • Geck

    Daphna, that was ostensibly point of the meeting. To consider those changes before the community board votes on them. Needless to say most speakers did not discuss them.

  • Joe R.

    @Suzanne,

    I agree 100% that protected lanes are the way forward if we’re ever to get more than the hard-core few percent cycling regularly. As someone who’s in that few percent, I’ve learned to understand that what might just be “heavy traffic” for me might be absolutely terrifying for the other 98%. Hence my support for protected and/or totally separate bike lanes. I especially welcome the latter. The fact that I can deal with what you so accurately call “motor vehicle stupidity” doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be 100% happier if I didn’t have to. It would make for a much more stress-free ride, knowing a moment of attention lapse won’t possibly mean a trip to the emergency room.

    @Andrew,

    Yes, that’s exactly the approach I recommend here. What NBBL proposes isn’t a solution at all. The proposed Class II bike lane will end up being heavily used for double-parking, so it may as well not even exist. A suitable safer Class II lane with buffers will take up as much street space as the current configuration, but with none of the benefits. Allowing sidewalk riding will undoubtedly generate scores of complaints from pedestrians. The best solution for all groups is what already exists. It’s a shame NBBL can’t be made to realize that. The fact that double-parked cars congest traffic more with two lanes instead of three isn’t a reason to return to three. Rather, it makes a good case for the police to enforce a zero-tolerance no double-parking policy (although we all know how well that will go over).

  • gecko

    Based on past and ongoing extreme abuses, it is very clear that self-propulsion is a basic human right requiring a constitutional amendment protecting it.