Prospect Park West Bike Lane Underway (and Why the Opponents of It are Wrong!)

Hooray! They are finally building the bike lane on Prospect Park West.  I’m not sure why  something that will make streets safer, and reduce pollution is controversial, but apparently the Brooklyn Paper and Marty Markowitz are doing their best to make it appear controversial.

The dedicated bike lane will take away one lane of traffic from Prospect Park West. This will slow down speeding traffic and give bike riders a safe place to ride on a major road.

The opponents have a few misguided arguments:

“It will slow down traffic!”
They are correct, taking out a lane will slow down traffic, but that’s the point! Traffic needs to slow down.  PPW is like a drag race! Try taking a dawdling 2 year old across PPW, hoping you’ll make it across in time before the cars speeding from the Grand Army Plaza starting line make it to your light.

“There’s already a bike lane in the park!”
There is a meandering road in the park (filled cars at rush hour.) It is great for a nice scenic ride, but terrible for commuting.

“We will lose parking spaces!”
True, a few parking spots will be taken by the bike path entrance ramps, but the coincidental elimination of the B69 bus will make up most of those lost spots.

When I wrote Marty Markowitz about this issue, and his resistance to the PPW bike lane, he did respond promptly, but he really doesn’t get it. Here is what he said:

“Like our DOT Commissioner, whose professionalism I respect, I too support cycling in this city and have not only supported bike lanes like the ones on 9th Street in Park Slope and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, but have also been a major proponent of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a 14-mile on-and-off street bike lane that connects Greenpoint to Sunset Park. Without my office’s support and advocacy the Greenway would not be happening. What I am opposed to is bike lanes on Prospect Park West, which will both take away needed parking for residents and park-goers and interrupt access of pedestrians to the park during peak usage in summer and on weekends. There are better options to explore that would meet everyone’s needs—such as adding traffic lights to calm traffic, and adding another bike lane to the park itself. By the way, as borough president I advocate for bikers, and also for those who do not live near public transportation, those who cannot bike for various reasons, and yes, those families and residents who chose to own a car in this borough.”

Like a true politician, Marty practically breaks his arm patting himself on the back regarding Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. (And I’m not even going to mention how crazy it sounds when tries to make car owners seem like an oppressed minority?!?) Although the real disconnect is that Marty and other opponents think the bike lanes are for recreational cyclists. But the new push for bike lanes like the one on PPW is that they are not being made for cyclists on their weekend tool around the park.  They are creating an environment for bicycle commuting and transportation. These bike lanes are trying to get New Yorkers to use alternatives to cars to get around, like they seem to ba able to do it in the rest of the world.

Take a look at the rush hour commute in Utrecht Holland-

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