9th St bike lane rolls ahead

for The Brooklyn Paper
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A city proposal to put bike lanes on both sides of Ninth Street in Park Slope now appears to be unstoppable.

A Community Board 6 committee voted unanimously on May 17 to approve the plan for new lanes from Third Avenue to Prospect Park West, while adding a left-turn lane in the middle of the street. The result would put Ninth Street on what the city calls a “road diet,” dropping it from an under-used four-lane road to a two-lane street.

In addition to rubber-stamping the city plan, the CB6 committee also added its own wish list: a bike lane along Prospect Park West and a study on double-parking.

The bike lane’s backers were crowing over the results.

“It’s a good outcome,” said committee member and transportation activist Aaron Naparstek. “I think rational voices prevailed. The community board has some good suggestions for how to make sure the proposal will really work.”

The plan is also backed by Borough President Markowitz and Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D–Park Slope).

But some residents, led by Ninth Street Block Association head Robert Levine, oppose the bike lane, claiming it will not decrease accidents and might interfere with the common practice of double-parking to drop off groceries. Levine is also a member of the community board.

Such opposition was strong enough last month that the full community board tabled the discussion at its last meeting, choosing instead to send the proposal back to the committee for a second discussion.

That move set up last week’s re-approval, and a likely “yes” vote from the full board on June 13.

The board vote is irrelevant anyway, as the DOT says it will go ahead with the bike lane regardless of the vote — just as it did earlier this month when the agency started installing bike lanes in Fort Greene, despite that community board objection.

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