Inside the PPW Bike Lane Hearing


This week a lawsuit was filed against the city for the Prospect Park West bike lane, so Community Board 6′s public hearing on the lane last night was bound to be a showdown. And indeed, the John Jay auditorium was full as bike lane supporters and detractors took the mic to reiterate familiar arguments. You can read more details here, here and here; we captured some of it on tape for your viewing enjoyment. Above is the president of Seniors for Safety, a group involved with suing the city. Click through to hear from a bike lane supporter and another bicyclist who calls for across-the-board increased safety measures on city streets.


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  • “antidotal evidence” ?

    Keep up the good work, Brooklyn paper :-/

  • more4less

    this bike lane topic still gots loads of milk so let’s milk the heck out of it again today. I predict another 100 posts

  • I wish I could have made it last nite. just yesterday, as I attempted to cross the street (I had the walk signal) a biker came barrelling down PPW. I said hey, slow down, you’re supposed to stop. with that I was called an F*****g B**** and an ugly C**T. I laughed because he was so angry and defensive and he was the one breaking the law. I hope they see/hear things like this. Maybe they should send someone, during rush hours and when schools are let out. Let them observe how bad it really is (horns, emergency vehicles cant get by, cars double parked, in front of fire hydrants, etc).

  • @oohlala

    I’ve said all those expletives before, so I have a pretty good idea how long they take to spout.

    Either this biker was not going that fast or didn’t say what you claim, either way, your story sounds like a load of, how do you say, b***sh** ;)

  • Oohlala — So, folks breaking the law (horns and double-parking) is a reason to modify a roadway?! How about ticketing these people?

    By the way, it’s perfectly legal to “stand” in front of a fire hydrant during daylight hours. You simply need to attend you car so you can move if there is a fire.

    Oh, and the “emergency vehicles can’t get by” is TOTAL BULLSHIT. Yes, TOTAL BULLSHIT. I won’t even get into the details of why it’s total bullshit because it should be clear to any slightly rational human being why it’s so.

    (p.s., I am in no way defending that cyclist. He’s a douchebag and deserves a stick in his spokes. But don’t try to make him into a representative of all people on bicycles… I could just as easily make the Access-A-Ride and Dollar Van drivers the representative of all drivers in NYC.)

  • i find it REALLY hard to believe that Park Slopers have this much trouble with a stupid bike lane.

    I’ve lived on a road with a two-way bike lane for over a year and no one gives a shit.

    Once again – bored rich people jealous that money isn’t being spent on them.

    Get a life – seriously.

  • By the way, didn’t any of the NiBBLers speak? There’s really no mention of them in the papers. They’re focusing on their lawsuit I suppose. Why be part of the community process when you can just get your own way through the courts.

  • NYGuy7

    Wow, someone used harsh language? Get the paint and rollers, this bike lane is hurting the gentile sensibilities of the upper class.

    And surprise surprise, the opponents were outnumbered four to one.

  • Most Park Slopers DON’T have trouble with the bike lane. Just a vocal minority.

  • “Most Park Slopers DON’T have trouble with the bike lane. Just a vocal minority.”

    yeah – i misspoke. i find it hard to believe ANYONE has trouble. it’s really not difficult. if you see a bike coming pause for ONE SECOND and let them pass. i really don’t understand what the big deal is.

    if you’re so old that you can’t figure that out, i really don’t know what to tell you. perhaps you shouldn’t be living in a densely populated urban environment with lots of different kinds of people.

  • East New York

    Stop picking on old people.

  • i have no problems with bike lanes…

    but…
    if you see a bike coming pause for ONE SECOND and let them pass.

    oh hells no. pedestrians always have the right of way!

    *rob*

  • The debate isn’t just about bike lane no bike lane in my view. It is about community safety. It is fantastic that the bikes can use a protected lane now.

    My concern is that the new configuration comes with some safety issues that should be addressed to further improve the situation.

    While traffic is slowed during the peak hours – Cars are still speeding outside of those times. Better enforcement of laws is something that needs to be done whatever lies ahead.

    For me, the narrower travel lanes are the biggest issue of concern – I know I’m repeating myself from prior posts but I think it bears repeating — vehicles at any speed have less room for maneuver and there have been collisions (slow motion ones – but damaging nonetheless) that I have seen (5 during the period July-Dec 2010 that the study was taken) that didn’t make the “crash” list presented by the DOT. I saw another one last week on my way to work. (Parking car’s right front wheel well caught by the front left corner of a car trying to squeeze through).

    The visibility has changed for crossing the street and that has brought a fresh safety issue too. Someone last night made a very valid point that whatever change is in place the community needs to go through a transition phase to adapt. I agree completely – my concern is that the narrow lanes (both travel & floating parking) still leave little room for response to avoid problems even if you are aware of the pedestrian/cycle/traffic flows.

  • >Stop picking on old people

    How is it picking on ‘old people’ if someone is incapable of crossing a clearly marked, bordered, bike lane with so few bikers you could stand there unmolested most of the time? That is PC-ism at its worst.

  • It should have been noted that the turnout was massively pro-bike-lane (maybe 5:1 or more), and that the procedure for holding the public hearing was rigged: every anti-bike-lane speaker was allowed to speak, but about 90 pro-bike-lane speakers, many of whom arrived as much as 45 minutes before the scheduled start time, were never called.

  • zinka — were any of the anti-bike lane folks that spoke representing the euphemistically named “Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes” or was it just the “Seniors” group?

  • They’re really the same group, both Orwellian-named. All the same people. It’s total fiction that they’re separate.

  • NYGuy7

    I really wish one of the papers would go through and ask everyone of those anti-bike lane people how many CB6 meetings they went to before the bike lane was installed.

  • Park Slope Mom — Honestly, everything you say has NOTHING to do with the configuration / supposed narrowness of the road (2 lanes is a wide as every other road in park slope) and EVERYTHING to do with the other thing you mentioned — a lack of enforcement and people being stupid, continuing to speed, not being patient/being aggressive, etc. etc.

    To follow your logic, we shouldn’t allow any parked cars on PPW and maintain a 5-lane expressway. This will keep all of those “sight-lines” free and clear and there will be PLENTY of room for maneuvering.

    Why isn’t that a “compromise” put forth by the lawsuit folks??

  • Not to pile on MOM, but everything you’ve said is counter intuitive at best and makes absolutely no sense in the real world. If decreasing the number of car lanes has measurably decreased the travel time on PPW then obviously expanding the number of lanes will only increase travel speed. How exactly is increasing speed and thereby reducing reaction time to the inevitable lousy driver going to reduce accidents?

    And I would think that the visibility issue is improved by the current configuration with the bike lane. Now, instead of having to get across four lanes where, even with the cross lights, you had to contend with cars constantly turning right onto PPW, you cross two lanes, a much easier proposition, reach a protected island and have the opportunity to pause and look again before proceeding. Trust me, as someone who walks a geriatric dog to Prospect Park every day crossing PPW is much easier now then it was prior to the bike lane.

    If this is the best anti bike lane folks can come up with it’s going to be a short law suit. Maybe when the courts rule against them they can add costs for bringing a frivolous lawsuit.

  • NeoGrec

    I really disagree with Park Slope Mom’s perspective. AFAIK, all of the DOTs studies prove that reducing the number of lanes reduces traffic speeds, creating a calming effect. This is especially the case on one way streets. People will tell you traffic moves much more slowly on 7th Ave, 6th Ave and 5th Ave than on 8th Ave — which can be like Daytona. Oh, and last I heard local bipeds are smart enough to look both ways before crossing those avenues.

  • East New York

    How is it picking on ‘old people’ if someone is incapable of crossing a clearly marked, bordered, bike lane with so few bikers you could stand there unmolested most of the time? That is PC-ism at its worst.

    **

    Takke it easy. I was joking around. Jeez. It’s Friday, man!

  • “The visibility has changed for crossing the street and that has brought a fresh safety issue too. Someone last night made a very valid point that whatever change is in place the community needs to go through a transition phase to adapt. I agree completely – my concern is that the narrow lanes (both travel & floating parking) still leave little room for response to avoid problems even if you are aware of the pedestrian/cycle/traffic flows. ”

    what the hell are you talking about?

  • morralkan

    dirty_hipster, perhaps all the bikers should be living on communes someplace where autos are banned, only organic food is sold, and and anyone older than 40 is sent to an early grave. It’s truly amazing how many avid bikers, who are presumably incredibly fit, express horror at having to ride a few blocks out of their way to an exit from the park. In my 60′s, I’m still riding from Crown Heights to Bay Ridge with no problem; I guess I’m more solidly built than the biker whiners around here. Actually, dirty_hipster , it seems as if you would like to put the “old folks” out to pasture already. Why should they, who’ve lived here for decades, need to move?

    As to the visibility issue, PPW is definitely a more difficult street to cross with a floating parking lane nearly halfway to the middle, one way traffic and parking on most of the roadway and then two way biking suddenly appearing near the eastern edge. If this is harder for only the oldsters to negotiate, then it is nonetheless a legitimate concern — just as much a concern as the young (?) mothers who aver that they had an extremely difficult time crossing PPW at the traffic lights before the new road configuration. (or were they upset because they could not easily cross in the middle of the block when they did not have the light?)

  • morralkan — As ALWAYS…. Who gives a shit how easy it is for you to bike everywhere! And without the aid of bike lanes. Jesus H. Christmas! It’s not about you and you abilities and habits.

    The point of bike lanes is to make it an attractive alternative… for old, young, NEW cyclists, fit, unfit, families, etc. And YES going “a few blocks” out of your way is ridiculous when going from point A to point B directly is a clear possibility! Cars are allowed this “luxury”! (And don’t say, share the road… cuz NYCers are totally incapable it seems.)

    And what is this… “suddenly appearing” F You. Seriously. These are parked cars… with a large buffer of NO PARKED CARS ALLOWED at every crosswalk. There is no “Sudden Appearance” of the bike lane. It is basically fully visible from the opposite side of the street, never mind in the pedestrian island.

  • “As to the visibility issue, PPW is definitely a more difficult street to cross with a floating parking lane nearly halfway to the middle, one way traffic and parking on most of the roadway and then two way biking suddenly appearing near the eastern edge”

    Suddenly appearing? I’ve crossed a two way bike lane probably close to 1000 times this year. It’s a pretty simple process, actually.

  • NYGuy7

    Let’s be honest here. This has nothing to do with safety. Everyone who’s crossed the street there knows you’re never in any danger of being run over by a bike or a car. This is really people just being annoyed that they have to stop and look both ways when they get to the bike lane before crossing to the park side.

  • morralkan

    Resorting to curses is a sign of limited intelligence, tybur6 .. and yours is certainly limited!

    it really isn’t about you and your whiny, biking hipsters either. I still cannot understand why wide open lanes in the middle of greenery, with curves and roads sloping up and down wouldn’t be far more attractive to all those young, old, experienced, fit, unfit … In all the years I rode along PPW, pre-bike lane, never once did cars cut me off, curse at me, or do anything else to impede my riding. I guess I must have scared them immensely, so they stayed far away from me. It’s really not difficult to go a few blocks out of your way, unless your point is to force your bike riding on every else. As to “basically fully visible from the opposite side of the street,” how could that possibly be unless you are using some sort of new-fangled x-ray goggles.

    As to the dirty hipster, it’s wonderful that you can cross a two way bike lane. Still, that does not mean that such a lane should be on what is essentially a ONE-WAY street. Congratulations to you, nonetheless, on having survived this experience 1000 times.

    Lastly, NYGuy7, I agree with you that “This has nothing to do with safety.” (your words).It has to do with forcing your world view down the throats of others.

  • morralkan — bite me.

  • There is a simple fix, and one which has been shown to work. Install signals at the major intersections for the bike lanes. Require bikers to stop at the intersections at 3rd, 9th, 15th with the same timing as the cars. Then pedestrians can cross from curb to curb.

    It may cost a few thousand dollars, but at least I won’t have to hear this argument AGAIN.

  • “As to the dirty hipster, it’s wonderful that you can cross a two way bike lane. Still, that does not mean that such a lane should be on what is essentially a ONE-WAY street. Congratulations to you, nonetheless, on having survived this experience 1000 times.”

    why not? the bike lane i cross is the same as the PPW bike lane. i have experienced no hipster on bike vs hipster on foot carnage.

  • btw, I think it’s quite amusing you think I’m some sort of biking hipster. quite amusing actually.

  • morralkan

    tybur6, you continue to demonstrate that you possess VERY limited intellectual firepower. You probably weren’t even a start pupil in the special ed classes you attended all those years. I don’t know if you are a biking hipster. So far, your comments only evidence your stupidity.

    And, as said before, dirty_hipster, congratulations to you on your survival crossing streets. Some people, perhaps just a bit older than you, might not have the same experience and might not be quite as agile as you are. But as long as YOU are happy, that’s all that counts.

  • Hey morralkan — bite me.

  • It’s kind of hilarious that *morralkan* is a retired teacher(I think I read that in his profile or one of his comments), given his juvenile style of expression. Perhaps that’s the way teachers spoke in the “Welcome Back Cotter” era?

  • Also, what Morralkan and many others of his generation consistently fail to understand is that the PPW is not just about *recreation*, it’s also about *transportation*.

    Sure, if you want tot just “take in scenery” you can ride in the park. But if you’re getting from the GAP farmers market to your home with a bunch of kids, the park loop is more or less useless.

    No one rides the PPW bike lane (or most other lanes) just to go back and forth. They do it from point A to point B and back!

  • Speaking of which, on my way to the farmer’s market on Saturday, in the few minutes I was walking along PPW I saw at least a dozen kids riding with their parents in the lane. It was about as clear a refuting argument as can be made about the “unsafe” bike lane. No bikes on the sidewalk, no speeding cars, lots of happy families in the lane – you can bet NBBL was not videotaping *that* scene…