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What happened to the Prospect Park West bike lane? Ask Marty!

The Brooklyn Paper

Did Marty Markowitz bring the Prospect Park West bike lane to a skidding halt?

What was once billed as a way of keeping bicyclists off the sidewalk and perhaps reduce traffic in the process now may not be implemented at all — and many believe that the Department of Transportation’s reluctance to move ahead with the two-way protected lane dates back to Markowitz’s sternly worded letter to the city last year.

The lane was all set to be built last September. It would have removed one lane of car traffic from the one-way, three lane road that runs from Grand Army Plaza to Bartel Pritchard Square at 15th Street, moved the lane of parked cars off the curb, and installed the two-way bike lane where the parked cars used to be.

That “road diet” would supposedly encourage drivers to behave themselves while also encouraging bikers on Ninth Street — which has a bike lane — to not enter the park via the various footpaths.

But just as the city was about to start building, Markowitz wrote to the city’s top transportation official that the Prospect Park West lane was an “ill-advised proposal that would cause incredible congestion and reduce the number of available parking spaces in Park Slope.”

The Beep’s letter also argued that the bike lane would be especially problematic during the summer surge in foot traffic, when park-goers are barbecuing, attending concerts and participating in many other activities.

Markowitz claimed that there is ample space for bikers in the loop within Prospect Park — though it only goes in one direction — and called for further research into traffic solutions.

Markowitz’s letter came after Community Board 6 backed the bike lane in May, albeit with a demand for a stronger separation between bikers and cars, plus traffic signals for bikers entering Grand Army Plaza.

“The city plan had no control of northbound bike traffic,” said Craig Hammerman, the district manager of Community Board 6. “We wanted lights for bikes” as on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan.

A Department of Transportation spokesman would not provide any estimate of when the bike lane would be re-examined, though one thing is for certain: the lane won’t built anytime soon, as the city does not work on such projects during the winter.

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Reader Feedback

Joe from greenpoint says:
Taken from a guy who illegally uses lights and sirens on the way to a press conference, and who parks his private car on the sidewalk, and who supports the ill-conceived Atlantic Yards project (which will draw many more cars to Brooklyn), the DOT should take Marty's letter and throw it in the trash. The man is a buffoon, and should not have any business deciding transportation policy.

Build the damn bike lane already, and while you're at it, take away some parking spaces in front of Marty's house.
Jan. 25, 2010, 7:59 am
Ian from Windsor Terrace says:
Marty Markowitz ran for a 3rd term- disregarding the will of the people who voted for term limits. I don't believe he is a buffoon Joe, he is an extremely calculating politician who makes his moves to retain power and control.
Jan. 25, 2010, 8:25 am
Deb from Park Slope says:
This is not a surprise. Marty Markowitz has been consistently against measures supported by bicyclists and pedestrians that would impinge upon drivers.

Doesn't anyone remember how, just a couple of years ago, he tried to block the extended car-free hours in Prospect Park? The Parks Dept., the Mayor and the DOT had all signed off on reducing car use in the Park, but our Borough President was able to delay the new rules from taking effect. Eventually they were enacted, and, contrary to what some had predicted, surrounding streets are not clogged with drivers during no-car hours, and the jogging/biking lanes in the Park can actually be enjoyed during those hours.

Currently, bike riders use the sidewalks on PPW, so the argument that a bike lane would imperil pedestrians is ridiculous. Cars speeding along PPW are far more of a danger to pedestrians, and this proposal was meant to help calm traffic, something that is sorely needed.

Mr. Markowitz, I've often seen you doing your power walk on PPW, so you must know about the dangers posed by PPW's Expressway-like traffic. I'm a pedestrian, not a biker, and I support bike lanes. Designated lanes for walkers and bikers will keep both safer. If you don't think the lanes will work, then what else do you propose?
Jan. 25, 2010, 9:47 am
Jacob from Prospect Park says:
Seriously?

Why the hell is Markowitz sticking his nose into this? The community wants this. The community voted on the this. The city wants this. This was a non-issue.

What possible reason does he have for opposing this?
Jan. 25, 2010, 10:26 am
dav from Greenpoint says:
Bikers don’t follow rules you don’t need bike lanes!! Give it up…
Jan. 25, 2010, 10:37 am
Chris from Greenpoint says:
dav, stop generalizing cyclists. Many pedestrians jaywalk. Should we get rid of crosswalks?
Jan. 25, 2010, 11:06 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
Marty Markowitz is one of the most narcistic politician there is, well maybe Recchia has him tied to Marty's narcisism. They buy & sell votes with their earkmark monies. That's how the system works.
They think they are Gods.
Jan. 25, 2010, 11:33 am
Gary from Park Slope says:
I sure hope Brooklyn Papers is just speculating. Last word was that the PPW improvement is on for the Spring. And we need it ASAP! Marty is so wrong in this.
Jan. 25, 2010, 12:32 pm
michel from Park Slope says:
Marty is so outa touch. It is HIS driver that double parks on PPW and then parks on the SIDEWALK when he gets dropped off at Borough Hall. What does he care how much curb parking there is.
Jan. 25, 2010, 1:38 pm
Eliot from Brooklyn Heights says:
Why does Mayor Quimby care about parking? I'm sure he'll continue to park his SUV wherever he wants, bike lane or not. He's already destroyed the slate plaza in front of Borough Hall. No doubt he'll park on the sidewalk on Prospect Park West -- sirens flashing. What a clown.
Jan. 25, 2010, 1:55 pm
DC from Windsor Terrace says:
Bicyclists have total control of the inside loop of Prospect Park which limits pedestrians to the poorly maintained inner lane of the loop. Why not change the direction of one of the bike lanes instead of impacting on the street. A rogue biker hit my arm this morning on PPW making me feel as if we pedestrians cannot be anywhere safe.
Jan. 25, 2010, 3:09 pm
Brownstone from Limestone says:
A political bottom feeder but a mental guppie, Marty is a goldfish.
Jan. 25, 2010, 3:54 pm
Scottilla from Midwood says:
Is anyone aware that it is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk?
Jan. 25, 2010, 3:55 pm
Michael from Park Slope says:
Hay DC from Windsor Terrace. How is the pedestrian lane poorly maintained? I ran the langth of it this morning and it was fine.
Jan. 25, 2010, 5:52 pm
Marigold from Ft. Greene says:
What do expect from a guy that paid part of the down payment on his new $1.45 million Brooklyn digs from a slip and fall lawsuit? This guy milks the system for all its worth. We have the ultimate sleaze calling the shots in the Borough of Brooklyn.
Jan. 25, 2010, 9:22 pm
Q. from Ft. Greene says:
What do expect from a guy that got part of the down payment on his new $1.45 million Brooklyn digs from a slip and fall lawsuit? This guy milks the system for all it's worth. Imagine the cut he's taking from us. Bike lane aside, it becomes more and more apparent that we have a morally questionable individual calling the shots in the Borough of Brooklyn.
Jan. 25, 2010, 9:38 pm
B from Bk says:
Maybe Marty is afraid he will be delayed being driven home to Windsor terrace from Borough Hall (when not using siren) if a lane is taken from the PPW speedway.

Marty, get a bicycle, like Chuck, and ride home! You started a program for health in Brooklyn, right? So why not do something healthy!
Jan. 25, 2010, 10:18 pm
Michael from Park Slope says:
I generally can't stand Marty, but he's right on this one. These middle-of-the-street parking lanes are confusing and dangerous (see Kent Ave in Wmsbg), there's plenty of room for bicycles along PPW. Going ahead with this plan will prevent the REAL changes that have to be made to PPW- making it a 2-way street to relieve traffic on Union and Berkeley and reduce driving speeds.
Jan. 26, 2010, 9:13 am
Tom from Windsor Terrace says:
Isn't possible to have a disagreement over policy without resorting to name-calling? The derogatory remarks about Marty only cast doubts on the character of his critics.

I'd like to read the full text of Marty's letter to the DOT before jumping to conclusions about the validity of his arguments. Why didn't the reporter "Ask Marty" himself via an interview, instead of making assumptions without presenting any evidence?
Jan. 26, 2010, 10:31 am
Adam N from Former Brooklynite says:
Everybody seems to have a story about Marty Markowitz blowing through lights, parking on sidewalks, speeding ...

Are there any pictures of this online? Maybe it's time for a citizen campaign against a #$$@$ like this.
Jan. 26, 2010, 1:13 pm
no name from Kings County says:
I am in Borough Hall often. I will photograph Marty's car on the sidewalk and post it on

http://nyc.uncivilservants.org/

Just gimmme a few weeks.

He has a Toyaya SUV wilth NY plates BKLYN BP or something like that. He parks on the sidewalk between Borough Hall and the coffee stand on Joralemon St
Jan. 26, 2010, 5:21 pm
DAVID from PARK SLOPE says:
Thank you Marty, you are 100% correct. it would have created a traffic nightmare. At the most 20 cycalsit per hour would have benifited, just like most of the other bike lane accross the city that are also creating traffic problems. More cars idling sitting in traffic causing polution and wasting energy. At least they look nice.
Jan. 26, 2010, 9:22 pm
greg from WT says:
the ppw bike lane is pointless unless they continue it along ppsw as well..and maybe all sides of the park. the design as it stands is poorly thought out.
Jan. 26, 2010, 10:37 pm
Fed Up With Cyclists from Windsor Terrace says:
Bravo, Marty. Like it or not, everyone has cars in this neighborhood and that's not changing; parking is scarce and traffic on PPW is busy--those three lanes are needed. The beauty of this grand stretch would also be compromised by this configuration. Just look at Kent Ave. in W'burg or Grand St. in SoHo: the free-floating line of parked cars in the middle of the street is ugly and awkward, with side mirrors regularly getting clipped on either side. Parallel-parking is precarious. The cyclists have the whole darn park in which to ride and, on the whole, they don't obey rules and are an arrogant bunch. Don't mess with our streets to suit a narrow segment of New Yorkers.
Jan. 27, 2010, 10:24 pm
Dave from Brooklyn says:
Let's face it: Brooklyn drivers are absolute pigs. They are swine. Taken as a group, they are the most selfish, entitled, destructive and sociopathic interest group in the entire city.

Moreover: People who say that taking a travel lane off of PPW simply have no f'ing idea of what they are talking about. There is plenty of excess capacity on PPW. Look at DOT's traffic counts or just use your own eyeballs. The problem on PPW is that you've got drivers ripping down the street at 55 mph threatening the lives of everyone around them.

As for you dolts who complain about bikes on the sidewalk: The bike lane solves that problem, you dipsh!ts.

There is absolutely no question that the problem is on PPW. The problem is this:

http://bit.ly/bkpvA4

Putting PPW on a road diet is a great idea. Do it before a moron like "Fed Up From Windsor Terrace" kills someone with his exhaust-spewing, gas-guzzling, pedestrian-squasher.
March 20, 2010, 10:25 pm

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