Closing Bell: PPW Protest, After the Fact

ppw-bike-lane-protest-102110.jpg
The blogs have brought in lots of news of the PPW bike lane showdown this morning. Streetsblog was at the pro-rally, where hundreds of people gathered to defend the traffic-calmed street. About 70 or so opponents gathered close by, although there wasn’t much dramatic confrontation. Gothamist quotes an anti-bike lane spokesperson: “Why do they think they can mutilate this extremely beautiful boulevard? It is useful maybe to a handful of bikers.” This was met with booing, and the counter-argument that bike lane access is about “The sustainability of New York. This is about reducing our dependence on oil!” Sounds intense. Did any readers attend?
Hundreds Rally in Support of PPW Bike Lane [Streetsblog]
Protests Pit Seniors Against Cyclists [Gothamist]
Photo by Ben Fried / Streetsblog.org

0 Comment

  • “Why do they think they can mutilate this extremely beautiful boulevard? It is useful maybe to a handful of bikers.”

    This is foolish and obtuse on so many levels it’s ridiculous.

  • Marty M. didn’t even show.

    That tells you something.

    Here’s a breakdown of the rally:

    About 50 people against the bike lane (all over the age of 50)

    About 200-300 people for the bike lane (most under 50)

  • “the counter-argument that bike lane access is about “The sustainability of New York. This is about reducing our dependence on oil!” ”

    Not one of the better arguments in favor of the bike lane!
    By all means advocate for it if you like to ride a bike. Just don’t pretend that you’re saving the planet b/c you aren’t.

  • there was a great and positive crowd out to support the bike lanes including quite a few folks with children.

    the opposition seemed grumpy ‘party of no’ but were invited to share bagels and coffee with supporters and talk it out.

  • I think someone on other thread that Marty just had surgery.

    Etson, I think the dependence on oil is not a ‘green’ argument but a economic/political one. These are people that feel we should not be at mercy of the mid-east oil cartel.

  • etson: Why do you say that biking isn’t saving the planet? Curious.

  • “These are people that feel we should not be at mercy of the mid-east oil cartel.”

    So basically you mean they’re smart.

  • NYGuy7

    You can’t make the argument that it’s more dangerous now to pedestrians to have the bike lane because bikers are zooming by running over people and then claim that only a handful of bikers actually use it. Pick one.

  • Sure Pete, but I was meaning 1) that the amount of oil ‘saved’ is miniscule – cf current US consumption is just under 20mm barrels / day (just over 840mm gallons/day) 2) to the degree that it slows traffic as planned (say from 45mph to 20mph) it would lower the mpg of the cars that use PPW anyway! Maybe to the point that there’s no net benefit, but don’t know the numbers.

  • multigenerational moonfaces.

    seriously white people have waaaaay too much free time on their hands.

    *rob*

  • I agree the biking fad is not a help in this city.
    Primarily takes away from public transportation ridership.
    And then MTA hikes fares because of less revenue…which then increases car usage.
    In other locales could be fewer drivers if switched to bicycles.

  • daveinbedstuy

    “This is about reducing our dependence on oil!”

    This is foolish and obtuse on so many levels it is ridiculous.

    What a load of crap.

  • i am a driver and pedestrian but it is clear there are way more than a handful of riders. Plus this is about the future.

  • mta isn’t broke because of low ridership. ridership is high. frustratingly high sometimes.
    mta is broke because of huge interest payments on debt.

  • I agree the biking fad is not a help in this city.
    Primarily takes away from public transportation ridership.
    And then MTA hikes fares because of less revenue…which then increases car usage.

    NOW THAT’S A LOAD OF CRAP.

  • Biking is a fad?

    Nearly every child growing up in this country learns to ride a bike and seem to love it.

    It’s not a fad, it’s simply becoming such that the city now makes it easier for folks to actually get around the city on a bike. Thus making more people want to do it more and more.

    That’s not a fad.

  • “Primarily takes away from public transportation ridership.”

    Despite a slumping economy, New York City Transit recorded a total of 2.37 billion rides across the city’s subways and buses in 2008, a 3.1 percent increase from 2007 and the highest figure since 1965.

    The subways delivered 1.62 billion rides, a 3.9 percent increase from 2007 and the highest annual subway ridership since 1950, when the city was packed with industrial workers, military veterans and immigrants.

  • ***

    This year the New York City Department of Transportation measured a 26 percent jump in commuter cycling. Coming on the heels of 2008′s unprecedented 35 percent growth, that puts the total two-year increase at a whopping 66 percent.

    Much of the growth in cycling can be attributed to the installation of 200 miles of bike routes in the past three years. Safer streets get more people to ride, who encourage their friends to ride, and more riders on the road means cyclists are more visible and safer. The virtuous circle is in effect here in New York.

  • why does the age makeup matter so much, are you an ageist?

  • The whole thing was kind of absurd. Half the objection is that the green paint and bollards are ugly. Tearing the whole thing out over that seems excessive. Then you had people chanting “Ride! in! the Park!” … as though they’ve been spearheading the car free Prospect Park campaign. One woman had a sign about snow removal that I defy you to explain to me. (“What is going to happen when it snows?” … uh, okay?)

    I just … I don’t understand their objections. DOT didn’t remove any precious, precious parking spaces, speeding is dramatically reduced. These seem like good things, on the whole.

    A ride (or jog, or walk) in the park is lovely recreation, but if you’re trying to get someplace it’s hardly efficient. I tend to ride my bike to get places.

  • are you suggesting that these new cyclists commuted by auto prior to getting a bicycle?

  • Pete,

    You’re grasping for straws now after making some tragically FALSE statements.

    Check out the figures I provided about about MTA ridership at an all time high and come up with an actual rebuttal after your UNTRUE statements.

  • “why does the age makeup matter so much, are you an ageist?”

    Not ageist, but anti-biking, like homophobia and racism are generational and this country will be a whole lot more pleasant in a few decades as the country is populated by a more open-minded citizenry.

  • And … thanks petebklyn.

    First of all, there were plenty of cyclists over 50 at the rally. And under 15.

    Second of all, I don’t get what folks are trying to communicate by pointing out that the opposition is all stodgy old people. If I believed for a minute that the lane was making it harder for seniors (hip or stodgy) and other not-so-agile pedestrians to get across the street, I’d have a problem with it, too.

  • Even newer numbers on MTA ridership :

    Based on figures released by the MTA, ridership in May 2010 averaged 5.327 million per weekday and a combined 5.524 million per weekend. Those figures represent significant increases over the May 2009 ridership totals, and although the 12-month rolling averages are showing negative changes, as the city’s economy has recovered, so too has transit ridership. In fact, ridership for the year has been approximately 1.2 percent above expected for the MTA.

  • Pete — actually a lot of people that ride bikes DID commute by automobile previously. Train/bus sucks, so I drive my car. Oh, biking is pleasant and good for me, I’ll ride my bike a few days a week (or perhaps everyday!) The ridership argument is ridiculous. You would have a point it ridership wasn’t UP overall… and what bus or train do I take for a 1/2 mile errand? You walk or ride your bike! A safe network of bike-friendly streets is the answer!

    ALSO… and, listen, this is important… It is COMMON KNOWLEDGE to every traffic engineer in the world that Bigger Roads does not equate to Better Traffic!!!!

    Also, I find it funny that it’s the old-timers that are pissed off. Could these people even *cross* the 3-lane superhighway before the light changed?! Two auto lanes is a lot easier to cross.

  • Your stats don’t refute Pete’s statement, 11217. He said ridership was negatively affected by cycling, you showed ridership is up. But given that you also showed cycling was up by a very large amount, it argues that some of those increased bike journeys would otherwise have been MTA journeys.
    Either that or people are taking trips they otherwise would not have!

  • Well luckily given the turnout, I’m guessing the bike lanes will stay.

    That’s all I care about.

    All the noise is coming from a very small group of mostly older people who are out of the loop and are probably voting for Carl Paladino.

    They’ll lose that one too.

  • “Primarily takes away from public transportation ridership.
    And then MTA hikes fares because of less revenue…which then increases car usage.”

    Interesting. So bikes take away from ridership, fares increase, then people switch to… cars?? That seems like an odd series of events. Why aren’t they switching to bikes? And why aren’t car drivers blamed for increasing public transportation fares?

    How about this scenario… If we build more bike lanes, traffic will get worse. People will stop driving their cars, switch to public transit and the fares will DECREASE! Thank you, bike lanes for keeping our public transportation so affordable.

  • I was there today.

    The reason there were so many seniors on the anti bike lane side was because the rally was held across the street from a retirement home. Hardly anyone else from the neighborhood seemed to show up to register opposition to the bike lane.

    The pro bike lane demonstrators were very cordial and very positive in tone. Hardly any of the discussion or signs at the rally mentioned anything about foreign oil. The discussion/chants/signs were mostly about safety.

  • I love all these people on Brownstoner who complain incessantly about expanding the Landmarked area of Park Slope or are anti bikes.

    But when they have meetings or protests on these very topics they are NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!!!

  • “All the noise is coming from a very small group of mostly older people who are out of the loop and are probably voting for Carl Paladino.”

    Um I hate bike lanes and I am not voting for CARL – am liking rent is too damn high guy myself!

    I wonder if people who ride bikes to work realize how they are contributing to the ever-growing problem of smelly people the city now has to contend with?

  • But, Petebklyn, as far as subway ridership … you must be kidding.

    You want numbers? Okay. From http://www.mta.info/nyct/facts/ffsubway.htm:

    “In 2009, average weekday subway ridership was 5.1 million, the second highest daily number since 1952. Yearly ridership was 1.6 billion, the highest number since 1951.”

  • So Gem since you’re SO against this, I assume you went to all the meetings and the protest then?

    Or do you prefer to just bitch about bike lanes every time one is mentioned on brownstoner…?
    ;)

  • 11217 – you have a valid point – you are right – we don’t got to meetings and protests etc. That is my point – it’s people who are activist in spirit (read: cyclists) who go to the meetings and hold the city council hostage with all their boo-hooing but the city council/bloomie already want the bike lanes to happen so I feel my role is dead here

    that’s why – like I said the other day I already wrote to the DMV asking for cyclists to now pay a bike registration fee similar to drivers and cars and to now pay for insurance. Then I will take that up with my local congressmen and pitch it b/c it will help create REVENUE FOR THE STATE AND CITY COFFERS! and someone will like that and jump on the idea!

    it’s all good :)

  • what is marty markowitz’s job anyway? like seriously, what are his responsibilities as brooklyn boro president? seems all he does is manage to be present for photo ops and bitch about bike lanes

  • Arkady

    Yeah, 11217. Homophobia’s going to die out as the current oldies go. All the recent gay bashing incidents have been committed by a bunch of geriatrics swinging their canes.

  • dear old people

    don’t bite the hand that feeds you

    love,
    dh

  • do: keep the bike lanes but make it legal to kick them off their bike or punch them in the teeth when they run red lights; they can then retain their rights to yell at anyone/anything in the bike lane.

    do: outlaw the uber-menacing tour de france douchebags in both parks. or enable people to legally hurl at them anything a sling shot can hold (up to 5 lbs). they can continue to wear their latent body gloves if they wish.

  • “All the noise is coming from a very small group of mostly older people who are out of the loop and are probably voting for Carl Paladino.”

    11217: Nice smackdown!

    Glad you’re back today. Would have appreciated tag-teaming it yesterday in this thread: http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2010/10/ppw_bike_lanes_1.php#comments

    I notice that the yesterday’s trolls bike lane trolls haven’t showed up today. Wonder if they’re deflated or are just hiding behind alternate log-in’s?

  • gem10:

    FYI re cycling insurance. There is no such thing in NYC. Looked into it a few months back and couldn’t get it. Much obliged if you can make it happen.

  • Fuplease – I know! I want to start having cyclists pay insurance so when they run into my car then they can pay up!!
    like I said – I can’t fight city hall with regards to stopping bike lanes- but we can make it fair for all having to contend with the new lanes popping up everywhere and A-hole cyclists!

  • “do: keep the bike lanes but make it legal to kick them off their bike or punch them in the teeth when they run red lights; they can then retain their rights to yell at anyone/anything in the bike lane. ”

    kryptonite chains double as really nice weapons when one is assaulted by an internet tough guy.

  • “All the noise is coming from a very small group of mostly older people who are out of the loop and are probably voting for Carl Paladino.

    They’ll lose that one too.”

    lmao I’m voting for the “RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH” guy too.

    “I wonder if people who ride bikes to work realize how they are contributing to the ever-growing problem of smelly people the city now has to contend with?”

    @gemini10 funny!

  • gem10: i was actually thinking of someone to pay me when when an a-hole driver or pedestrian trashes me or my road bike. but insurance is insurance.

  • do: arrest self-absorbed pedestrians salmoning six abreast in middle of park drive in violation of park traffic rules (http://www.prospectpark.org/visit/plan/safety#drives), risking own and cyclists’ lives.

  • Note that in the DOT report I just linked to above, it says that 32% and 41% of cyclists on the PPW bike lane were children on the days they counted (on weekdays and weekends, respectively).

    It also notes that the percentage of people biking on the sidewalk has declined from 46% to 6%. So the lane makes things safer for pedestrians on the sidewalk (including seniors).

  • Correction: sidewalk riders fell to 4%.

  • “By fuplease on October 21, 2010 7:15 PM
    gem10: i was actually thinking of someone to pay me when when an a-hole driver or pedestrian trashes me or my road bike. but insurance is insurance.”

    That’s the point – YOU HAVE THAT RECOURSE! – If I hit you on your bike while I am driving I am liable! if I speed off someone will grab my license plate if you are unable to

    If I turn into a street and you are riding up the wrong way and you hit me while I am in my car – it’s your fault – and now I have dents on my front hood – so as of now I can get out of my car and ask you for some cash on the spot OR what? nothing else -I guess I can call the cops – but you can ride away on your bike never to be seen again….

    it’s only fair and I plan to push it into LEGISLATION

    VOTE FOR GEMINI 10

  • Um, how big is this problem of bikes damaging cars, actually?

    And believe me, if the biker hit you hard enough to dent your hood, he or she would not be “riding away.”

  • The snow question brings up a valid point how many bikers are there going to be in February. We never see how many commuters, presumably taxpayers, are delayed, inconvenienced, lose production time, by all these bike lanes. What is the economic cost in lost time? How many bikers vs. how many commuters?

  • Gem10: exactly. But how exactly do you plan to push this into legislation? Not trying to undermine, just wondering. Might this be linked to your endorsement of the rent is 2 damn high party?

  • Fuplease – I have no clue! but I did write a suggestion to DMV and I suspect I have to email my local council woman and whine to her and then take it up a notch to my local congressman/woman and then senator and maybe make a youtube video etc etc
    :)

  • Oh come on Arkady, you know what I said was true. It’s not about geriatrics hitting gays in the street, but the younger generation is MUCH more open about gays and gay issues than older people.

    This graph shows you quite clearly:

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/08/the_the_perfect_symbol_for_ame.html

  • I shudder to think of the social change these Park Slope “activists” could induce if they spent their time on something that actually mattered.

  • Well Jaguar, Park Slope has some of the best public elementary schools in the city, the largest food co-op in the country (making more money psf than Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s combined) and the largest intact collection of brownstones in the USA. Once all 3 phases of the historic district come to pass, it will be the largest historic district in the city.

    Besides that, it often receives accolades for some of the highest recycle rates in the city and has won multiple awards for being the best neighborhood in the city (NYMAG) and one of the best in the country (American Planning Association).

    What else do you want us to work on for you?

  • Yes, invisible!
    do: keep the bike lanes but make it legal to kick them off their bike or punch them in the teeth when they run red lights; they can then retain their rights to yell at anyone/anything in the bike lane.

    And when they are going in the wrong direction too!

    If you object to requiring street riding bikers to be licensed and insured then you want it both ways. As a pedestrian, I have had too many close calls with red runners and wrong wayers.

    There has to be limits and when they put a bike lane down Hoyt St where there is barely room for one car, the limit was exceeded.

  • snowman2 —
    I wonder where you wait to cross the street? Do you wait patiently on the sidewalk… or do you edge into the travel lane and cross whenever you damn well please?

    I’m not saying you should be hit, but don’t get all holier than thou.

    And, hey, everyone above whining about bikers breaking traffic laws…. I would LOVE for you to get the police to enforce ANY traffic laws. That would be amazing!!! Any traffic laws. Cars, bikes, pedestrians… tickets flying left and right… and maybe start with the cops themselves obeying a few. If you can do that, I’d vote for you for any public office.

  • Actually, maybe you should be hit. If we’re kicking an punching cyclists, can we beat the shit out of pedestrians that break the rules?

  • What’s up with all these *pedestrians* who are constantly coming *this close* to getting nailed by *cyclists*? I mean, it’s not like, as a *cyclist* I’m welded to my bike. I actually am a *pedestrian* most of the time and I’m not constantly coming *this close* to getting nailed. In fact, I can’t think of more than a few times in 25 years in NYC.

    My conclusion? These *pedestrians* are actually *meanderthals* (see http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meanderthal) who endangered the cyclist. Or they’re just making stuff up because they hate bikes.

  • How about getting rid of the bike lane and not letting cars into the park?

  • The older people MAY have been complaining to be complaining HOWEVER, the bike lanes were put into existence with little to NO thought as to how they would effect the neighborhoods they are in. SOME of the bike lanes are in areas that are two way streets (GREENE AVENUE) and barely passable by a single car going in opposite directions. Much less a bike lane.

    Other issues are the bikers aren’t following the rules of the road. THEY ARE creating dangerous situations for drivers and pedestrians in the process. A friend of mind was killed last summer in one of the bike lane neighborhoods trying to get out of the way of a bike rider who wasn’t following the traffic rules.

    Drivers have to pay license, registration, and yearly inspection fees and SO should bikers over the age of 13. It’s the only way to fairly regulate safety.

  • brooklynbrowngal — You have said NOTHING.

    (a) I’m not aware of the Greene Avenue bike lane, but I’m sure it’s perfectly fine. REGARDLESS, bikes can ride down the middle of the lanes if they want. They are authorized users of the streets in this fine Borough — I don’t care what you think.

    (b) I don’t want to minimize your friend’s death, but I’d be curious what the actual circumstances were. You were purposefully vague. This is also VERY rare compared to the thousands and thousands thousands of deaths every injuries and deaths caused by car squishing pedestrians and cyclists.

    As a side note, just yesterday a driver with serious tunnel vision came up behind my car all aggressive and swerved to the left to try to get around me. There was a BICYCLE next to him. A bicycle he drove by and didn’t notice! The bicycle decided to ride on the sidewalk. I don’t blame him

    (c) How has licensing and registration done ANYTHING to reduce speeding, running red lights, aggressive driving, dangerous maneuvers, etc. IT DOESN’T!!! Enforcement is the only thing that works. Funny you didn’t call for more traffic tickets…

    (d) This particular bike lane was installed BECAUSE OF the community. The Park Slope residents asked for it through its community board!

  • Oh… and by the way, most, if not all, bike lane have been installed with MUCH thought of how they will affect the neighborhoods!! That’s the point! There will be impact on both biking safety and traffic! The PPW bike lane was first and foremost a TRAFFIC CALMING measure. The actually bike lane was a byproduct.

  • tybur6, you’re knee-jerk negative reaction to calls for accountability speaks to your lack of judgment. Maybe you’re the moron flying down Smith St during the afternoon rush, boldly running the red light in front of the subway exit. Or are you silently speeding down a quiet side street the wrong way, pedestrians (who are looking for traffic coming from the right way) be damned.

    You have no credibility.

  • Snowman2 — your comment actually doesn’t make any sense. How is registration of bicycles in ANY WAY a call for accountability?! How does registering your car make you a better, safer DRIVER?! It doesn’t!?

    In actuality, I DID call for accountability. It’s called ENFORCEMENT of traffic laws. ALL of THEM. Don’t whine about bikes when drivers, pedestrians AND cyclists are breaking traffic laws and NOTHING is being done about it.

    Regardless, If you honestly think that bicycles are the most dangerous things on our roads and that, somehow, bike lanes make it worse… well, I can’t even have a conversation with the likes of you. It’s clear you are calling for streets to become “car-only” — too bad the traffic laws don’t agree with this.

    By the way, I don’t EVER go the wrong way down the road on my bike and I always yield to pedestrians. It’s funny, there’s no mention of the pedestrians stepping in front of ME when I have a green light!! Or the cars that regularly squeeze me off the road because they can’t stand waiting 10 seconds until there’s a safe place to pass me.

  • There is NO bike lane on Greene Avenue! Just goes to show that a lot of the bike lane haters don’t have their facts even remotely straight.

  • tybur6, Please. The only thing you were right on is I said nothing. I posted on a message board. If you’re hearing things, perhaps its better to log off.

    The bottom line is TOO MANY bikers are riding irresponsibly in the roads that the drivers are regulated, licensed and accountable on. This is why SO MANY oppose the bike lanes.

    And ZINKA, Oh there isn’t a bike lane on Greene Avenue. I stand corrected it’s on Dekalb and several bike lanes intersect Greene. . However, though no there’s no bike lane it doesn’t stop countless bikers from disregarding the traffic laws on Greene and its narrow two way avenue. THIS IS WHY many drivers want all bike lanes gone.

  • Wait a second, so people disregarding the law on a street without a bike lane means that we should get rid of other bike lanes? How does that make any sense?

    Also, I see car drivers doing stupid, crazy, homicidal things all over Brooklyn every single day. Mid-block u-turns into active crosswalks, whipping around corners without yielding to pedestrians, running red lights. Does that mean that we should get rid of car lanes? Why or why not?