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Another bike lane spat! City will block off ‘loading zones’ on Prospect Park West

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city is still fine-tuning its Prospect Park West bike lane — this time installing granite blocks so that drivers won’t use no-parking zones along the 20-block strip as de facto loading zones.

Under the plan, pairs of two-and-a-half by five-feet blocks will be installed in the “pedestrian safety zones” that occupy crosswalks along Prospect Park West.

The no-car zones were intended to give pedestrians a place to wait and get a good look at oncoming cars and cyclists. But drivers have pounced on the spaces, using them for parking, loading and even vending ice cream.

“These areas must be kept clear for pedestrian circulation and for visibility between cyclists and pedestrians crossing the bike path,” the Department of Transportation wrote in a letter to Community Board 6. “We believe the [blocks] will effectively deter and discourage any further vehicular intrusion in the pedestrian spaces.”

But critics of the two-lane bike lane stretching from Grand Army Plaza to Bartel Pritchard Square — which resulted in the loss of 22 parking spaces and one lane of traffic — say that the “auto intrusion” is yet another example of a project that has created more problems than solutions.

“The reason cars are parking in the islands … is because [the city] has eliminated one lane from the roadway,” said Czerny Auyang, who lives nearby on Eighth Avenue. “Whereas in the past, cars could’ve pulled into areas with fire hydrants, these areas are now not accessible because of the new bike lane. … Where else could these vehicles go?”

But a Department of Transportation spokesman noted that there are proper loading zones at Ninth Street and Prospect Park West, plus two other weekend-only spaces — a number that some critics say is inadequate.

The improperly parked cars are only the latest issue to arise as a result of the bike lane, which — depending on whom you ask — has either exacerbated traffic problems on the stretch of roadway, or retarded the speeds of reckless drivers.

The additions to the pedestrian spaces are expected to be implemented by early fall.

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Reader Feedback

Mike from GP says:
There will be "adjustment issues" for a while, as drivers learn to deal with the fact that they are no longer king of the universe, at least on PPW. If drivers feel that the number of loading zones are inadequate, perhaps that's because of an artificial scarcity of parking spots -- the key then would be to raise the price of parking until spots are freed up.

Overall, this in an amazing project -- kudos to all who had a hand in it, from the community to the advocates to the planners to the engineers to the construction workers!
Aug. 31, 2010, 7:04 am
TY from Greenpoint says:
Good move by the city. Now we have to protect pedestrians from crazy cyclists - about 1 in 5 by my estimation, and enforce road rules on them too.
Aug. 31, 2010, 9:02 am
nick says:
i wish they just made the park car free instead...this bike lane is not just spillover from the sidewalk
Aug. 31, 2010, 9:06 am
MinNY from Queens says:
"in the past, cars could’ve pulled into areas with fire hydrants, these areas are now not accessible because of the new bike lane."

- I know. It was really SO much better when illegally parked cars just blocked the fire hydrants.
Aug. 31, 2010, 10:37 am
Howard from Park Slope says:
Too bad the imperialist mayor who imposes his will no matter what the actual neighborhood residents want is now making a once beautiful street even uglier by erecting concrete barriers. Safety issues aside, PPW looks like a parking lot. What a pity.
Aug. 31, 2010, 10:51 am
james from greenpoint says:
PPW does not look like an ugly parking lot to me. To me it looks like a gorgeous ribbon of safe cycling where I get to see parents casually teaching their 4 year olds to ride on training wheels - - - right there in the STREETS OF NEW YORK CITY. Not a pity at all, to me.
Aug. 31, 2010, 11:04 am
Billy from Greenpoint says:
> "... Where else could these vehicles go?"

How about, not there? If you're not willing to deal with the limited parking situation in a city, then you have two options:

1) leave
2) don't own a car

It's your problem, not everyone else's.
Aug. 31, 2010, 11:31 am
Billy from Greenpoint says:
And, because I'm going to get jumped on for "don't own a car" -- there are rapidly expanding options for people who need a car only once in a while -- which is most city dwellers. There's cabs, there's car share, there's biking, and there's mass transit -- which you could, y'know, become a vocal advocate for, instead of a vocal advocate for your own personal parking space in a crowded city.
Aug. 31, 2010, 11:32 am
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
The article failed to note that with the B69 bus re-routed to 7th Avenue, there was a net GAIN of parking spaces as the bus stops are inactive. The person complaining is probably parking in the added spaces.

In addition, are not the fire hydrants people "used to be able" to park in front of on the OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET?
Aug. 31, 2010, 11:36 am
ch from bh says:
Take a step back and realize how much better this debate is already:

The big problem on PPW used to be who got KILLED by a car.

Now the big problem is where can an ice cream truck park.

THAT'S an improvement.

F.U. Marty.
Aug. 31, 2010, 12:21 pm
afreeman from Greenwood Heights says:
Cyclists, why the big hatred for cars? Why is it that because you ride a bike you're better than a person who doesn't? Does being a cycling advocate mean being an automobile hater? Some people need cars in the city for personal or professional use. Actually we ALL need the cars, at one point for one reason or another. Yes, people drive aggressively but they aren't trying to hit you. You need to be able to digest this and not let your fear of being hit turn into anger or hatred.
In terms of pedestrian fatalities, there is no excuse for allowing yourself to be hit by a car if you are a healthy, mobile person with at least one working eye. Exercise awareness and cross safely in a crosswalk. Instead of against the light in the middle of the street while staring at your blackberry/iphone.

BTW- If you are teaching your four year-old to ride a bicycle in the street or bike lane instead of an open, people free area, you are not thinking of your child's safety first.
Aug. 31, 2010, 1:07 pm
ms says:
I'm car/bike/pedestrian neutral (there are lots of stupid, inconsiderate people in all of those categories)...I agree with Nick about cutting off car traffic to the park. It would just be nice. To Larry, a while back I saw a cop ticketing cars on PPW parked at inactive bus stops. I asked the cop and she said they were told to do so by the department of transportation. Not sure if that's still happening but it was ridiculous.
Aug. 31, 2010, 1:34 pm
Billy from Greenpoint says:
afreeman (a free man?) writes:

> "Cyclists, why the big hatred for cars? Why is it that because you ride a bike you're better than a person who doesn't?"

afreeman, why trot out this false straw man just because we're making the streets safer for everybody? Is it because you and your car are more important than everyone else?
Aug. 31, 2010, 2:37 pm
Rob from Visitor says:
I visited friends in Park Slope this weekend, traveling by car from Westchester County. I couldn't believe how welcoming and calm Prospect Park West has become! I loved all the kids riding bikes, and how much less crazy the cars drove.

We moved out of the city because of the crazy drivers, fearing that one of our kids would be run over in a crosswalk. I love how the city is making it safer to raise a family.

What a fantastic improvement!!! If only I could sell my house in Westchester and move to PPW!
Aug. 31, 2010, 2:57 pm
A. Cyclist from Earth says:
"Why the big hatred for cars"? Excuse me, afreeman, but what planet are you living on? The one the rest of us occupy is being steadily and unnaturally baked by the carbon and other pollutants that cars crank out. Meddling irreversibly with Earth's climate is the most irresponsible thing our species can do short of launching widespread nuclear war. Cars aren't the only source of this damage, but every car on the road makes the problem worse.

Cars also kill about 40,000 people a year (imagine a 9/11 attack roughly once a month for decade after decade... how has the nation come to accept that as normal?). They've turned most US cities into bland, ugly, centerless blah-burbs with foul air and an abundance of underexercised, obese, antisocial inhabitants. They're massively subsidized in countless ways, from underpriced parking (read economist Donald Shoup on that) to the waste of lives and dollars through military policies protecting petroleum supplies. When the full social and ecological costs are added up, no automobile pulls its own weight.

Cars also put money - yours - in the pockets of murderous Wahhabi fanatics via oil imports and the Saudi royals. Every time you fill your gas tank, you indirectly support terrorism.

Please get over the idea that there is such a thing as an "innocent driver." This is the 21st century. The 20th-century technology of internal combustion is obsolete. I don't deny that the car once brought people certain kinds of freedom, but you should be better-informed about the many kinds of freedom it takes away. To unbiased observers, its costs crossed the line and started outweighing its benefits long ago.

If you don't despise cars at this point in history, you're not paying attention (or maybe, consciously or unconsciously, you're working for the petroleum industry yourself). If you're trapped inside a car, literally or psychologically, you're not as free as you think you are.
Aug. 31, 2010, 3:08 pm
afreeman from Greenwood Heights says:
It's time to direct your hatred elsewhere:
"One giant container ship pollutes the air as much as 50 million cars. Yes, that's 50 million. Which means that just 15 ships that size emit as much as today's entire global "car park" of roughly 750 million vehicles. Among the bad stuff: Sulfur, soot, and other particulate matter that embeds itself in human lungs to cause a variety of cardiopulmonary illnesses."....
"cargo vessels on the seas emit more than 500 times the total pollution of the world's vehicles."
http://www.greencarreports.com/blog/1020063_pollution-perspective-one-giant-cargo-ship-emits-as-much-as-50-million-cars
Aug. 31, 2010, 3:28 pm
tom murphy from sunset park says:
Do you think bike lanes are sustainable? I mean will they not begin dismantling the most egregious starting in January 2014?
The bike lanes here in Sunset Park certainly are not being maintained. In places the lines have been completely obliterated by weathering and street cuts.
Before further additions this should be fully discussed.
Aug. 31, 2010, 3:51 pm
Charles from Park Slope says:
Brooklyn was a far "nicer" place 60 years ago - and I can remember - when there were families working to get their kids a shot at something better, where people minded their own business, and where no-one expected their lives to be made perfect - on the backs of others.
Aug. 31, 2010, 4:07 pm
alan from The Upper West side says:
I don't hate the people that come to live here from out of state, but it's pretty obvious that almost all the commenters in "The Brooklyn Paper" came from no where near Brooklyn. The reason I point this out is that your sensibilities what what they city "should" be are unrealistic and a little on the "soft" side. For example, if you got used to riding your bicycle without a bike lane a a kid, you probably don't feel the need for a bike lane (let alone having one on every road/street/alley).
Aug. 31, 2010, 4:28 pm
J from Bbklyn from Windsor Terrace says:
The bike lane is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. It is inconveniencing drivers as well as pedestrians who now have to look out for crazy bicyclists going in both directions when they cross the street. The bicyclists have the whole park to ride in as the cars have already been thrown out of there. I don't understand why Mayor Bloomberg is pandering to the bicyclists. I guess the yuppies and rich people who have taken over Park Slope get his special attention. Maybe he is thinking of running for a fourth term and wants their votes.
Aug. 31, 2010, 5:24 pm
DerekJetah from da Bronx says:
I work in da Bronx and bike there when I can. It's awesome to be able to commute from Park Slope, across numerous bridges, up the FDR or West Side Highway and/or through Central Park and right up Lenox/Malcom X Blvd. to 155th St. and across to the Stadium.

Takes me about an hour, 15 miles or so and I'm totally warmed up for batting practice.

Love being protected from the cars and able to scoot through red lights and dart around pedestrians and fans.

I always wear my helmet, have lights and a bell and am thinking about buying a tandem bike to ride with Minka.

See youz in da Bronx,
Derek
Aug. 31, 2010, 6:37 pm
Haze from Park Slope says:
I have no problem with making the streets safer, but it seems the city is now only catering to the cyclists at the expense of the drivers. Brooklyn has always been crowded but now it is unbearable. Car lanes are being replaced by bike lanes and causing insane amounts of traffic. In my opinion the amount of people biking will drop significantly in the winter months and the people who drive will be stuck in traffic staring at an empty bike lane which they used to be able to use. Its just not fair.
Aug. 31, 2010, 8:09 pm
A. Cyclist from Earth says:
A. Freeman (or "a free man," if that's what the signature means, i.e., how you regard yourself), you haven't come close to refuting the arguments I raised against cars - or even responding coherently to them. Even if your point about shipping as another source of emissions is accurate (and it's based on a single-source assertion from an auto-oriented website... hmm, anybody smell greenwash here?), it's a total red herring. Your argument based on scale has the same reasoning as this:

1) War and disease kill millions of people.
2) Serial killers only kill a dozen or two each.
3) We should give serial killers a pass. Stop hating on Ted Bundy and David Berkowitz.

Our city has many fine educational institutions that offer courses in logic and rhetoric. Please investigate them.

When someone insists on accountability (finally!) for the many ill effects of your two-ton toy, that's not "hatred." Hatred is irrational. As long as cars do what they do to the planet and urban space and human bodies, they'll be magnets for reasoned critiques and principled objections. Only people trapped inside the windshield perspective have trouble distinguishing those responses from hatred. Maybe when petroleum eventually reaches its unsubsidized price (hint: that'll be way beyond the $4/gallon that spooked a lot of drivers into considering alternatives two years ago), you'll consider evolving beyond auto dependence.

This is NYC. Nobody here needs a car. That's one of the beauties and strengths of the place; it's practically the only place in the US that never caved in completely to Infernal Combustion. There are plenty of alternatives. Some of them are healthy and fun and don't put a penny in Osama's pocket and don't waste people's time stalled in traffic and don't put everyone around them in danger of violent death. Can you can say that about your sacred vehicle?
Aug. 31, 2010, 9:12 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
Where exactly is the "spat?" The pedestrian refuges are the equivalent of sidewalks -- and a car parked on the sidewalk would be towed immediately. The pedestrian refuge areas are integral to safety for all users of the avenue.

As for the silly claim in the article that "areas [with fire hydrants] are now not accessible because of the new bike lane," can some one point out one example of that? It's not true, and the Brooklyn Paper shouldn't print such tripe without checking such claims.
Aug. 31, 2010, 9:31 pm
LOLcat from Park Slope says:
@afreeman: I may not be better than you for riding my bike but I certainly get where I am going faster. Suck it!
Aug. 31, 2010, 11:09 pm
BW from Bay Ridge says:
Time to start taxing these bike riders for their share of the road work.

Time to start making them obey the rules. Stop for red lights, stop for stop signs. Use lights at night, ride on the propper side of the road.

Time to get insurance policies for bikers. And time to register their bikes.

Time to require all delivery bikes pay a license fee.

Time for manditory bike education courses.
Aug. 31, 2010, 11:21 pm
Lisa from Bed-Stuy says:
"Before criticizing a man, walk a mile in his shoes." Commute by bicycle in NYC for a week, see how you feel after that.
Sept. 1, 2010, 8:35 am
TY from Greenpoint says:
We need less fundamentalists on this planet, like "cyclist from earth", and more middle-ground tolerance. There's room for both cars and bikes. Bikes need protecting from cars. Pedestrians need protecting from cars and bikes.

Rule of thumb - screen out the monomaniacs and crazies by ignoring any post longer than 15 lines.

Sept. 1, 2010, 8:49 am
Howard from Park Slope says:
Time to start taxing these bike riders for their share of the road work.

Time to start making them obey the rules. Stop for red lights, stop for stop signs. Use lights at night, ride on the propper side of the road.

Time to get insurance policies for bikers. And time to register their bikes.

Time to require all delivery bikes pay a license fee.

Time for manditory bike education courses

Great point BW! Why are car owners subsidizing bicycle owners for the cost of the "road improvements"? Register and insure the bicycles.
Sept. 1, 2010, 9:34 am
judahspechal from Bed-stuy says:
I'm all for more cyclist. Just make for a better society as a whole.

But cyclist needs to stop with the free rides.
So how do u guys feel about paying a fee to help maintain the roads. U ride u must have a $25(more or less) yearly permits.
Also u need to carry some type of insurance. U hit me u will pay.

Just as you speak of getting hit by vehicles, I worried about getting hit by cyclist. Just last week on PPW a guy high as a kite, runs right into this woman, rides over her foot. Let's says her injuries were serious enuff for hospital visit. Who's picking up that bill?

Yeah more bike lanes. But cyclist needs to bear the same responsibility for public safety that laws demands of the motorist.
Sept. 1, 2010, 9:46 am
rob from ph says:
Howard, Car Owners are not subsidizing bike owners...NYC taxpayers are subsidizing the roadways of NYC through taxation. It could be argued that car owners, who are a minority of NYC taxpayers, are subsidized to a far greater extent than bike owners, wouldn't you say?
Sept. 1, 2010, 11:49 am
M to the I from Prospect Heights says:
Could everyone saying that bicyclists do not pay for roads and road reconstruction please enlighten us how motor vehicle drivers pay for roads?

The way I see it, people who commute by bicycle are paying too much in taxes to support the cost of bicycle infrastructure. I would be more than happy to only pay taxes to support bike lanes and bike paths and let motor vehicle drivers cover the cost of highways and roads (excluding bike lane portions).
Sept. 1, 2010, 12:08 pm
Anon from Park Slope says:
As someone who doesn't ride a bike, I think these lanes are terrific because they slow down the traffic on PPW. And because they give bikes a safe place to be.

Sure, we should license bikes--that would make it possible to take action against the bad bikers, and would probably help cut down on bike theft.

On the other hand, licenses aren't magic. Most motorists don't know or don't care that the speed limit in NYC is 30 MPH. Prior to these lanes, people tore down PPW at 40 or even 50 MPH.

And NYC roads are paid for by everyone in NYC, and should be for everyone in NYC. I don't know where people wealthy enough to afford private cars got this crazy notion that the roads we ALL pay for belong to them first and foremost. They don't.
Sept. 1, 2010, 2:57 pm
Disabled Driver from Windsor Terrace says:
@A Cyclist: This is NYC. Nobody here needs a car.

If all the subway stations were handicap accessible, with escalators or elevators (working) - maybe that would be true. Until it is, I'm driving.
Sept. 1, 2010, 6:45 pm
Howard from Park Slope says:
How do motor vehicle drivers pay for roads?

Tolls, gas taxes, auto sales taxes, auto registration and inspection.

I find it interesting that NYC was able to complete the bike lane is a very short time, yet any other repair/restoration work the city takes on seems to take months & years.
Sept. 2, 2010, 10:11 am
Jspec from Bed- Stuy says:
Greta points Howard!
Sept. 2, 2010, 1:39 pm
Jumpy from Bensonhurst says:
Howard,
Yyou forgot driver's license fees, parking meters and the 18.5% tax on parking lot fees.
Sept. 2, 2010, 3:25 pm
Brooklyn from Kensington says:
Fees? Insurance? Please. . .

I'll pay those the day that I:

- weigh 3,000 lbs;
- take up on a street the square footage of a studio apartment;
- represent an utter waste of a myriad of materials and resources;
- can operate recklessly at high speed; and most especially,
- when I can murder with impunity, thousands of times a year, just as long as I remember to shrug my shoulders and say "it was an accident, I swear!"
Sept. 2, 2010, 4:21 pm
Sarah from Park Slope says:
People are really objecting to bike registration? Shouldn't that be part and parcel of using the roadways? Sure, bikes aren't as dangerous as cars, but they can and do cause serious injury. After all, if you're obeying the law -- stopping at signals, travelling the right way, and not being reckless --you'll have nothing to worry about. And there would be a way to hold irresponsible cyclists accountable.
Sept. 2, 2010, 4:51 pm
Marty Barfowitz from Park Slope says:
Howard from Park Slope says:
"Too bad the imperialist mayor who imposes his will no matter what the actual neighborhood residents want is now making a once beautiful street even uglier by erecting concrete barriers. Safety issues aside, PPW looks like a parking lot. What a pity."

Howard from Park Slope has no idea what he is talking about. The Park Slope Civic Council, Park Slope Neighbors and Community Board 6 all requested and approved this redesign on Prospect Park West. The only way you could think this was imposed on the neighborhood is if you are totally ignorant of local planning and politics.

The story says the city is putting down granite blocks, not "concrete barriers." Learn to read.

PPW looks like a parking lot? Not really. It looks like a beautiful, functional "complete street" that is now safe for pedestrians and cyclists and no longer the 3-lane South Brooklyn Expressway that it used to be.

Additionally, Howard, you are completely and utterly clueless about which taxes and fees are used to pay for the maintenance of local streets in NYC.

In sum, Howard: Get a clue.
Sept. 3, 2010, 5:41 pm
Marty Barfowitz from Park Slope says:
I'll just add that I think the redesign of Prospect Park West is worthy of winning a national award. It's the best infrastructure improvement in this part of Brooklyn in ages. The instant transformation of that street from scary 3-lane speedway to peaceful complete street has just been fantastic. The fact that I can now bike my kids northbound from their friend's house in Windsor Terrace back to the Slope without riding on the sidewalk or risking our lives on 8th Avenue is incredible. The fact that the elderly residents at 1 PPW no longer have to cross three lanes of traffic to get to the park is extremely welcome. I also use a car and have not had any problem driving southbound on PPW. Nothing has been taken away from drivers here other than the ability to drive 50 mph from GAP to Bartel Pritchard Square. Kudos to the NYC DOT for making this happen. Kudos to the neighborhood advocates who worked so persistently over the course of the last few years to get the city to do this. And to hell with all y'all haters who prioritize your gas-guzzling, horn-honking, exhaust-spewing, planet-cooking, 40,000-Americans-a-year-killing motor vehicles over life itself.
Sept. 3, 2010, 5:47 pm
BW from Bay Ridge says:
"Fees? Insurance? Please. . .

I'll pay those the day that I:"

But 'Brooklyn From Kensington':

We could use the fees to buy bikes for people who don't have bikes, then the fees from those new bike owners could buy bikes for more people that don't have bikes, and soon the world would have bikes, just like yours.

Higher fees for Mountain Bikes, and the more gears you have the higher the fee. You really don't need all those gears, 3 is more than anyone should have.

We should require that all bike tires be recycled, and charge a deposit, just like the cars have too. Bikes need to be inspected too, so that we know they are safe.
Sept. 5, 2010, 2:11 pm
Pete from Park Slope says:
While you are at it do something about all the illegal parking in front of the Prospect Park Residence (on the corner or Union and PPW. All the illegal parking on that side of the PPW serves to further choke PPW for traffic, cause general chaos, and block visibility for pedestrians and drivers. It is especially bad on Saturdays.

http://goo.gl/ZDYJ
Sept. 7, 2010, 12:09 pm
BW from Bay Ridge says:
Pete from PS,

Those people are allowed to park on Saturday because they are buying healthy overpriced organic food at the market.

It is important to eat those vegtables and fruits because they have absorbed CO2 in order to grow, thus canceling out the cars on Union Street. See? A carbon credit right on Union Street.

I feel better - so should you!
Sept. 8, 2010, 8:57 am
BW from Bay Ridge says:
Pete from PS,

Those people are allowed to park on Saturday because they are buying healthy overpriced organic food at the market.

It is important to eat those vegtables and fruits because they have absorbed CO2 in order to grow, thus canceling out the cars on Union Street. See? A carbon credit right on Union Street.

I feel better - so should you!
Sept. 8, 2010, 8:57 am
Ron from Park Slope says:
I'm scared of crossing the bike line. It's not at all clear when or if bikes are supposed to stop, if ever, for pedestrians. Bet more kids will get mowed down now than before. Just sayin...
Sept. 20, 2010, 1:57 pm

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