TagNYCDOT

Update on Prospect Park West bike lanes

On Thursday, the day of the anti-bike lane rally and adjacent counter rally, the New York City Department of Transportation released preliminary “before and after” data about speeding and sidewalk riding, the two major concerns the neighborhood had about the street.

Instead of 46% of people riding bikes on Prospect Park West sidewalks, only 4% do. And only 11-23% exceed the speed limit, where before the new bike lane, 73-76% would. Download the document (PDF) via TransportationNation.

A commenter (BicyclesOnly, from NYC) weighs in:

One of the main complaints against the redesign is that it reduces the roadway from three lanes to two, which means that double parking (which is very common here) effectively reduces the roadway to one lane. At one lane, you get some congestion and delays.

[…]

But is that really so bad? The impetus behind this project was concerns for rampant motor vehicle speeding. Because this roadway at three lanes had excess capacity, more than half the vehicles can and routinely would exceed the speed limit, creating a barrier between park slope residents and their park. 90% of the Park Slope community lives, not on Prospect Park West, where this project was installed, but to the west.

So to be fair, I wouldn’t suggest that the project has had NO effect on residents. But from a safety and utility perspective, and looking at the entire community of people who use this corridor–not just the people who live on it–the trade offs clearly are worth it. That’s why the local Community Board endorsed this project. And it bears mention that the Community Board is hand-picked by the Borough President, who is the leading OPPONENT of the project. So the community review process was NOT rigged in favor of approval.

Photo showing bike lane construction in progress.

New Yorkers really want to keep their bike lanes

UPDATE March 21, 2011: Seniors for Safety and Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes have sued the New York City government. Stay up to date with Streetsblog and Brooklyn Spoke. While both are clearly in favor of the protected bike lanes on Prospect Park West, the other news sources (like the daily papers there) are getting decidedly nasty in their reporting. Brooklyn Spoke has been reporting on the Community Board 6 meetings. Read about why I post about this on Steven Can Plan.

UPDATE 10-22-10: Streetsblog has posted new data showing before and after conditions on Prospect Park West.

Alternate headline: People protecting their protected bike lanes, New York City edition.

New Yorkers will show up at rallies to ensure the protected bike lanes STAY. Photo by bicyclesonly.

New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) installed in early 2010 a two-way bike lane protected by a “floating parking lane” on Prospect Park West, an “arterial” road on the west side of Prospect Park. I rode on this bike lane during my August 2010 visit. It was fantastic.

It’s like riding on an off-street trail – cars won’t be giving you the ol’ right hook.

The only safety consideration is yielding to pedestrians who cross the bike lane. There’s no worry about dooring and little worry about moving cars hitting you.

Pay attention to the pedestrian crossing. Note the painted large pedestrian refuge area.

As you can see in this satellite image from Google Maps (link to map), the current roadway configuration from west to east is:

Parking lane – travel lane – travel lane – parking lane – buffer – bike lane (SB) – bike lane (NB)

Some residents want the bike lane removed. Their rationale is unclear, but it may have something to do with the perceived loss of parking. And being able to speed. The jury’s out on this matter. These residents announced a rally to demand its removal from the overbearing DOT. They specifically name DOT Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Khan as the sole source of all that is wrong in transportation in New York City. Even the Borough President, Marty Markowitz*, is against it. (Also for irrational reasons.)

So the bike lane opponents showed up to their rally. But 200-300 bike lane supporters came, too (Streetsblog). A neighborhood group researched automobile speeding before and after the bike lane installation and found, post-installation, a drastic reduction of people driving more than 40 MPH.

Us Chicagoans need to borrow some of this pro-bike lane energy to support the Bike Boulevards Now! effort (I haven’t heard anything about this since it began in 2009.)

*From what I’ve read, the office Borough President is a ceremonial position. They get a spot on the Planning Commission board and Panel for Education Policy.

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