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Prospect Park West bike foes pushing ‘Eighth Avenue’ solution

The Brooklyn Paper
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Opponents of the Prospect Park West bike lane say they have a solution to the long-running bike lane conundrum: move the controversy one block away.

Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, the group of lane opponents that last week sued the city, wants to push the path to Eighth Avenue — but critics contend the group’s self-described “proposed compromise” will never fly on a street that is far too narrow.

Group President Louise Hainline pitches the “improvement” this way: Park Slope should turn the two-way bike lane on Prospect Park West into a one-way lane, then move the row of parked cars back to the curb and paint a new, northbound one-way bike lane on Eighth Avenue.

The group claims the Prospect Park West bike lane turns the street into a war zone for pedestrians, who risk getting mauled by cyclists zipping in the opposite direction of car traffic, and a nightmare for drivers, who must dodge everything from joggers to ambulances on a throughway that was trimmed from three lanes to two last year.

Under the plan, Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes wants the two traffic lanes on Eighth Avenue to be further narrowed to accommodate a bike lane. On Prospect Park West, two traffic lanes would be widened “to give some lateral room for getting around double-parked vehicles,” Hainline said.

“It will make crossing the street easier and safer for pedestrians,” she said, explaining a one-way bike path will make the street less chaotic. “[And] provide some space for entering and exiting [parked] vehicles, which is too dangerous now.”

But people who live on Eighth Avenue don’t think that’s realistic, considering that the street narrows between Montgomery Place and Flatbush Avenue.

“There’s just not enough room,” said Michael Ring, an avid cyclist, who lives near Union Street. “They’re not thinking.”

Other critics familiar with transportation issues point out that Eighth Avenue is narrower than Fifth Avenue, where the tight bike lane was implicated in a 2009 fatality and many more crashes.

Eighth Avenue — which serves as a shortcut for cars barreling off the Prospect Expressway to Flatbush Avenue towards the Manhattan Bridge — is nearly the same length as Sixth Avenue, which cyclists sometimes use, despite several reported accidents in the past year.

To come up with the idea, the group reviewed the city’s “Bicycle Master Plan,” which examines where bike lanes would be a good fit.

But residents of Eighth Avenue say that the “compromise” would bottleneck their roadway — the very kind of tie-up that Prospect Park West residents have been complaining about for months.

“Can you image the traffic jams?” said Mark Guralnick, who lives on Eighth Avenue near President Street. “It would be a catastrophe.”

Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) is in the same camp. He refused to talk about the Eighth Avenue proposal, saying only, “I believe that the current traffic calming configuration is working … and that the significant majority of neighborhood residents agree.”

For now, Hainline is putting her faith in the Department of Transportation — the very agency that her group sued earlier this month.

“Ultimately, this would need to be planned and tested by the DOT,” Hainline said.

The lawsuit charges that the city fudged data and colluded with lane lovers to squash opposition, ultimately putting pedestrians in harms way. But the city has consistently said that the data show that fewer cars exceed the speed limit, fewer bicyclists ride on the sidewalk and fewer cyclists get into accidents.

As such, the city isn’t excited about Hainline’s “compromise.”

“It’s not clear what this proposal would do to address speeding on Prospect Park West, which is what the community asked us to [fix],” said Seth Solomonow, a spokesperson for the department. “The ‘compromise’ doesn’t hold up.”

Updated 2:55 pm, March 16, 2011: Includes more context.
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Reader Feedback

Resident from PPW says:
Wow, 8th Avenue residents don't want a bicycle lane on their block either. Shocking!
March 16, 2011, 5:28 am
al pankin from downtown says:
the soulution is to have all the residents in the area to vote on what they want in their neighborhood..it's the American way
the politicians who jam their decisions down the residents throats then get fired or leave their jobs but the damage has been done and the citizens are stuck with bad rules.
the bike lanes started out as a good idea but have turned into a nightmare by overzealous politicians who push these lanes down the throats of the residents and business areas....we did fine without them for the past 250 years.
March 16, 2011, 6:32 am
Michael Ring from 8th Ave and Union St says:
I am not an avid cyclist, not at all.

But my quote was shortened.

"8th Ave is two lanes from The Prospect Expressway to Montgomery, then it narrows. Ether the bike lane would have to end at Montgomery or one of the traffic lanes would have to end there. There’s just not enough room,” said Michael Ring, an avid cyclist, who lives near Union Street. “They’re not thinking.”
March 16, 2011, 6:34 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
No, many 8th Avenue residents DO want a bike lane, and/or other measures to calm traffic, but the street has vastly different street geometry. The addition of a protected lane would almost certainly necessitate the removal of one travel lane, and we know how much support the Neighbors for Suing Bike Lanes have for that.

There's actually no better testament to their NIMBYism than their "compromise" of putting a bike lane on two-lane 8th Avenue while insisting that the two-lane configuration of PPW makes it impassable.

Their credibility, at this point, is pretty much nil.
March 16, 2011, 6:41 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Al,

It is not the American Way to vote on vote on what we want in our neighborhoods.

We live in a republic, we elect officials, they appoint managers.

That is what happened and why the bike lane is on PPW.

Nobody shoved anything down your throat.

We are actually undoing the fact that roads built only for cars were shoved down our throats by Robert Moses. But that is another story.
March 16, 2011, 7:29 am
Janet G from Park Slope says:
A painted "bike lane" is no bike lane at all. If you doubt this, I invite you to Adams or Jay Streets. It is a lane for double parking and door-opening.
March 16, 2011, 8 am
mel from windsor terrace says:
This was essentially on Park Slope Patch weeks ago and is old news. It is sad to keep rehashing this bike lane stuff for web hits.

http://parkslope.patch.com/articles/a-new-take-on-the-prospect-park-west-bike-lanes-compromise

At the time, Hainline mentioned that it was part of an original cb6 plan to have the bike line on 8th ave, though Patch later reported that this was in NO WAY part of an original plan. They can't even get their facts straight.
March 16, 2011, 8:21 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I humbly submit this compromise:

Keep PPW's bike lane as it is. Add a bike lane to 8th Ave too.
March 16, 2011, 8:49 am
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
The very reason I was excited about the Prospect Park West bike lane is that I no longer had to ride on 8th Avenue, which is not safe based on the width of the street and the way people drive there.

On a street like that, you need enough space for the bicycle to be far enough away from parked vehicles to avoid being hit by opening doors, and far enough away from the vehicles to avoid being hit or forced to swerve by one rushing by -- and passing another vehicle.

On narrow one way streets such as Bergen and Dean, vehicles move slower and do not pass each other except for double parking, where the vehicles and bicycles can pass one at a time.

Vanderbilt Street is two way, so there is no passing.

DeKalb is wider, allowing room to pass, and then has one fewer parking lane near Ashland.

Etc.

Bicycles should really avoid 6th Avenue as well, unless that is their destination or they can keep up a fast pace and take the whole lane. There is not enough room for a motor vehicle to pass a bicycle without risking an collision.
March 16, 2011, 9:13 am
J from Prospect Heights says:
If their lawsuit had even a tiny chance of success, I assure you that they would not be proposing compromises at this point.
March 16, 2011, 9:20 am
boof from brooklyn says:
If the main complaint is that the new configuration is dangerous, that's not a problem, since police figures show that the number of crashes and injuries are down for each of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
March 16, 2011, 9:27 am
Mike says:
NBBL is really neighbors for bike lanes full of double-parked cars. This would be absolutely unsafe, on either of these fast-moving streets. There is no problem with the PPW bike path as it now exists that can't be fixed with some minor rejiggering. This plan would ruin bicycle safety and decrease pedestrian safety.
March 16, 2011, 9:48 am
Jb from Park Slope says:
This is about PPW residents parking and double parking vs the safety of their neighbors who value being outside and riding without the threat of death or injury. No other explanation fits.
This bike lane is the compromise.
March 16, 2011, 10:05 am
Arlene from PPW says:
Put the bike lane on 8th Avenue and have the DOT do the study even though NBBL is suing the DOT and telling everyone they can't be trusted?

When will NBBL simply change their name to NIMBY?

How's this for compromise? NBBL drops their lawsuit and the Brooklyn Paper stops writing these ridiculous stories.
March 16, 2011, 10:07 am
Joe from Crown Heights says:
The reason the lane works on PPW is because it runs along a big park and is a dead-end for all the side streets. Put it on 8th Ave and there will be intersections at every cross street - 100 times more likely to have crashes with automobiles. Not likely to see kids and seniors using that as much. It's wouldn't even really be a comparable facility.

NBBL seems to be making it clear that their problem is double-parking on PPW, a situation which could be easily remedies by removing some permanent parking spaces on the west side and replacing them with loading zones. But moving the bike lane and making that street a 3-lane speedway again so people can more easily park illegally would not be good for anyone.
March 16, 2011, 10:24 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Chuck Schumer and Anthony Weiner do not have your interests at heart...don't vote for them!
March 16, 2011, 10:56 am
Kristen from Willamsburg says:
This is the NIMBYest thing I have ever heard in my life. I wish these people would just admit they want to double park all the time and block the roads when they feel like it because it's clear that they truly believe this is their privilege. They no longer feel "safe" when double parking. This is just ridiculous.

The completely disingenuous demand for better statistics and studies really irks me, too. These people could have attended endless community board meetings to participate in this civic process. The idea that they can fly in deus ex machina to try to "solve" this problem with another bike lane in another place pretty much screams that this is NIMBY bs, not a genuine concern for the community.

This bike lane makes this street safer for pedestrians, cyclists AND cars.

Keep the lane as is.
March 16, 2011, 11:25 am
Nate from Ft. Greene says:
Wow, I'm shocked that people don't have more respect for the wisdom of the privileged folks in Nobody Better Build a Bike Lane on MY Block. Anything they say must be wonderful and right, and it is our duty as obedient serfs to let them have their way. It is only our lack of private school education and trust funds that limits our perspective and makes everything they say seem selfish and idiotic. Get with the rhythm! Perry Como for all!
March 16, 2011, 11:45 am
ilovebrooklyn from PPW says:
These people have lost all credibility.
March 16, 2011, 12:09 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
There is still some credibility to be lost. Let's wait for Tal's comments.
March 16, 2011, 12:11 pm
Resident from PPW says:
Just curious, why are we only having a debate about PPW? Shouldn't bicycle useage be encouraged all around the park? Maybe if cars were banned from the park and the existing path was modified to support two way bicycle traffic would this be a fair compromise?
March 16, 2011, 12:56 pm
Daphna from Manhattan says:
This is not a compromise at all from the NBBL (Never Build a Bike Lane) group. They want the lanes widened on PPW so they can do two illegal behaviors: speed and double park. The new street design deters illegal double parking by making it more uncomfortable, but the problem remains. With a class II bike lane, the bike lane would become the double-parking lane instead of the vehicle lane. The NBBL and drivers might prefer this, but it is in no way a solution or compromise.

Suggesting another location for a curbside parking protected class I bike lane would be a compromise. But suggesting class II bike lanes on PPW and 8th Avenue is not compromising. Class II bike lanes are not enforced and are used by motorists for double parking and driving. Class II bike lanes can not be counted as giving street space to bicyclists, and they certainly give no safety to bicyclists.
March 16, 2011, 1:15 pm
Rob from Suburbs says:
Wait 'til you visit your friends in the suburbs. No protected bike lanes, few sidewalks, and tons of cars. The result? Parents driving their kids everywhere, and kids getting far less exercise than kids in Park Slope.

Park Slope: Those NBBL'ers don't know what a good thing PPW has! Protect that bike lane and you protect your kids.
March 16, 2011, 1:18 pm
Louise Hainline from Park Slope says:
NBBL has never said that the class 2 lanes on PPW and 8th Avenue were part of the CB6 discussion, at least as reflected in their written documents. CB6 did discuss a class 2 lane on PPW.

The plan for class 2 lanes on PPW and 8th Ave is not our idea. It is the City's idea. This was the solution for PPW and 8th Ave in the 1997 NYC Bicycle Master Plan. Although it’s the currently approved city plan for bicycles, it seems to be unknown or ignored by many writing about the installation of lanes in the city. Links for the overall plan are at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/bike/mp.shtml. The map for Brooklyn from the plan, showing the two class 2 lanes in question is at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/bike/brooklyn.pdf. These potential routes are also shown on DOT’s 2010 map of proposed and actual bike routes in NYC, which shows the Master Plan approved routes.

The BP story also ignores the other half of our solution, which we have presented in public and in print. We add to the Master Plan solution the proposal to ALSO to repurpose the West Drive to eliminate cars and allow two-way greenway lanes for bikers.

It's imperative that everyone knows the whole story and that includes our whole solution, not just some of it.
March 16, 2011, 1:25 pm
Jamie from Flatbush says:
PPW and 8th Av are both perfectly fine for biking, without painted bike lanes, and have been for the decades that I've ridden on them.

Somehow people have come to think that a bicycle requires a segregated lane. Nonsense. Every lane (other than on limited access highways) is a bike lane.
March 16, 2011, 1:33 pm
Ryan from Greenpoint says:
Sometimes a bike lane requires a segregated lane and in this case the lane has served its purpose--calmed traffic and made the street safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Regarding cycling, before the lane this street was nerve-racking to bike down...very unsafe. Now, it's safer and two-way. So much better from my perspective.

Making the park car-free and two-way for cyclists is a great idea, but two problems exist: 1) there are only a few entrances/exits to the park compared to all the streets that lead to PPW from Union to 15th and 2) park is closed some hours at night and can be deemed unsafe, by some, at other times after dark.
March 16, 2011, 1:51 pm
Grunge Music from Seattle says:
Ms. Hainline--

In 1997, the year the Bicycle Master Plan was published, people thought Bernie Maddoff was a financial genius, not a despicable crook, and gave him their money to invest.

Given new information, and with the application of thoughtful review, certain strategies dating from the first Giulliani administration no longer seem quite so wise. I am reminded of this every time I'm in Manhattan driving up the Joe DiMaggio Highway on my way to the West Side Stadium.

It's 2011, not 1997, and DOT has concluded that a two way protected bike lane on PPW is healthier and more effective than even an 8th Avenue lane, Tae Bo and Fen Phen combined.

No soup for you!
March 16, 2011, 2:28 pm
Peter from Windsor Terrace says:
Why should anyone compromise, Louise? Because you're not willing to look both ways when crossing the street? I think you forgot the lessons your mother taught you.

I think your idea of "compromise" will change to "walk away without a whimper" when the lawsuit is rejected.
March 16, 2011, 2:28 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
Louise, with all due respect, do you seriously think it would be safe to have contra-flow bike traffic on the park loop? Cyclists who ride for exercise can get going at up to 25 mph (which is also the speed limit for cycling in the park), and having people riding that fast in both directions would make the loop much less safe. If people are concerned about having a young child dart into bike traffic on PPW (funny that they never mention the possibility of said child darting into vehicle traffic), wouldn't that concern me several magnitudes higher in the park, with all the kids running around?

I'm afraid the "compromises" you've put forth will only compromise people's safety.
March 16, 2011, 2:34 pm
Steve from PPW says:
Thanks, Louise.

NBBL: Bringing you the best ideas from 1997, the year everything was made perfect and all future ideas and research didn't matter any more. Why, no need for elections or new department heads ever. Just have whatever the elected back then decided be permanent policy.

Your "whole solution" is widely known, including the bike lane in the park compromise. No one buys it.
March 16, 2011, 2:38 pm
Steve from PPW says:
Also, Louise, NBBL has claimed for a long time that DOT and others never considered other options to the current "experimental" bike lane.

But here you are saying "CB6 did discuss a class 2 lane on PPW." You're right. They did back in 2007 and, after further study, the solution to the speeding problem on PPW evolved to include a class 1 lane.

So, I'm not sure I understand. Either other options were considered or they weren't. If you didn't participate in those discussions back then, you can't come this late to the discussion with a lawsuit claiming no one ever considered another idea. You just wrote that they did.
March 16, 2011, 2:43 pm
mike says:
Hainline blatantly lies about the Bike Master Plan. It's a set of corridors proposed for implementation in 1997, but says nothing at all about what type of facility is appropriate for which street. DOT's determination, that rather than two unsafe Class II lanes on each street, one safe bidirectional Class I lane is preferable, is fully consistent with the Bike Master Plan.

I can't believe Hainline can say, with a straight face, that the Bike Master Plan calls for Class II lanes on PPW and/or 8th Ave, when the map makes zero distinction between any class of lanes. For example, it shows the Shore Parkway path with exactly the same lane style as PPW and 8th Ave. Does Hainline therefore contend that cars should be allowed on that Class I path?

Hainline's argument is a disgrace to the neighborhood and to CUNY.
March 16, 2011, 3:01 pm
chris mcnally from crown heights says:
Their alternative, to build two class II double parking lanes, will do nothing to make cyclists safer or improve travel efficiency for cyclists.

On Rogers Ave in Crown Heights, where I live, we have no parking from 7 am to 7pm to keep traffic moving. In lower manhattan they have no parking signs that reserve the curb for unloading trucks. This would work perfectly for the west side of PPW.

Right now the residents are tying up the curb space all day forcing cars, school buses and trucks to double park. This brings the travel lanes down to one lane and may at times cause a bit of traffic. The problem is the double parked cars not the bike lane. Isn't that illegal?
March 16, 2011, 4 pm
chris mcnally from crown heights says:
a two way bike lane in the park would be 1) crazy and dangerous! and 2) not useful for commuters. It's a non-solution.

I propose eliminating daytime parking on PPW so delivery vehicles and buses can park at the curb. This will allow two lanes of vehicle traffic in one direction, and a safe two way bike lane. Isn't this more reasonable? Just call me Cyclists for Better Roadways.
March 16, 2011, 4:08 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Chris, that is a great idea.

Here in Park Slope there is no parking on the Eastbound side of Union Street from 8th Ave to PPW every day form 7am to 11pm.
March 16, 2011, 4:58 pm
Senior for Safety from PPW says:
A two-way bike lane in the park would just move the danger that Hainline says exists for seniors and the disabled on PPW right now inside the park. If they ever want to go to any location in the Park that's inside the loop -- the meadows, the Philharmonic in the Park concerts -- they'd have to cross two-way bike traffic on the loop, joggers, runners, strollers, rollerbladers, dog walkers, park vehicles and more. It would essentially cut off much of the park to these two vulnerable populations Hainline supposedly represents.

At least on PPW the bike traffic is now predictable and there are clear signs and signals. Rumble strips and all the other improvements people are talking about will make it even safer.

Hainline - get your stories straight and think about this from a holistic approach. Every solution or compromise you propose only brings up more problems!
March 16, 2011, 4:58 pm
David from Park Slope says:
Louise's "compromise" is not a solution and it's not a compromise.

- It does nothing to reduce the endemic 40 mph speeding that existed on PPW prior to the reduction to two travel lanes for cars.

- A counter-flow bike lane inside of Prospect Park would be far more dangerous and chaotic than any of the imagined dangers that the NBBL'ers perceive in the current bike lane design.

- A bike lane inside Prospect Park would not be particularly helpful to people who are using their bikes to run errands, drop kids at school and simply get around the neighborhood. This may come as a shock to Hainline and friends, but people on bikes want access to neighborhood side streets, just like people in cars. In Hainline's scenario, I would still be spending a lot of time biking on the sidewalk along the park to get from, say, 3rd Street to Garfield. So, this is another problem with Hainline's scheme: It puts bikes back on the sidewalk.

- Eighth Avenue is a horrible place to ride a bike. We've seen two bike fatalities there in the last couple of years and some horrible pedestrian carnage. There is no space on 8th Avenue for a bike lane unless you are willing to reduce it to one travel lane for cars.

- Hainline's points about the 1997 Bike Master Plan are completely irrelevant and a distraction. To add to commenter Mike's point, New York City government in 2011 is not bound to follow a set of recommendations created in 1997. We all know former DOT commissioner and current NBBLer Iris Weinshall was more than happy to ignore the recommendations of the Bike Master Plan when they inconvenienced traffic flow in some way her engineers found distasteful.

I am genuinely wondering if anyone from Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes has actually ever tried riding a bike for errands or transportation in Park Slope. Their recommendations suggest that they simply do not have any sense of what cyclists need for minimally safe, convenient transportation. I would like to invite Mrs. Hainline and Mrs. Carswell for a bike ride around the neighborhood. Take a ride in our shoes for minute before, why don't you?
March 16, 2011, 5:08 pm
Roberta says:
Hainline isn't even worth responding to on this inane proposal.

The best tactic the city can take at this point is to simply ignore her group as a fringe set of cranks who had their day in court years ago and whose time has long passed.
March 16, 2011, 5:26 pm
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
Did Hainline and company ever once complain about speeding on PPW before the bike lane was implemented?

As I, and others have said, their moniker 'Neighbors For A Better Bike Lane' is Orwellian.

How many lanes do they want for cars on PPW? The answer of course, is "All of them."

Also, they simultaneously argue that no one uses the bike lane, but that seniors are constantly dodging bikers.

They ought to pick a lie, and stick with it.

Peter
http://inklake.typepad.com
March 16, 2011, 5:47 pm
Michel Ring from Park Slope says:
Roberta, I disagree. The battle for public opinion is being fought on the streets. (Sorry for that). Every time NBBl makes a statement we must be there to let the world know that they are NIMBY.
March 16, 2011, 5:50 pm
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
@Michel/@Roberta

I agree with Michel. Particularly when the NY Post and CBS-TV's Marcia Kramer apparently consider journalism to be verbatim recitations of NBBL's press releases.
March 16, 2011, 6:05 pm
Jym from PLG says:
Louise Hainline from Park Slope says:
> CB6 did discuss a class 2 lane on PPW.

=v= Then why does your group repeatedly tell the press the total falsehood that public participation was lacking? BTW, perhaps you should rename your group NBDP, since you want to prioritize double-parkers over safety.
March 16, 2011, 6:20 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I find the idea by Louise Hainline to make sense. Why truncate a lane on the road to create a bike lane when you have a park nearby that already has it? My guess is that you always want more. If she is really pro-car, then why is she wanting to eliminate them from even going into the park? There goes that stereotype of saying that they work with the automobile on the anti-car fanatics especially those Streetsbloggers. Still if speeding really was the problem, then why not just fix the timing on traffic lights instead? Keep in mind that this is a lot cheaper and won't innconvience anyone.
March 16, 2011, 6:42 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal,

Have you ever been in Prospect Park? If not let me describe it to you.

It is a curvy, hill road with many blind spots. (It was made that way to be pretty.) It would not be a safe place for a two way bike lane. Not safe for the bikers, not safe for the people who want to get across it either.

Tal, timing lights to make cars go 30 mph does not work when a road has excess capacity. Car drivers just speed to the next red light, but people like you must think that is ok.

Ms Hainline is just making proposals that she knows will not happen in the hope that she can go back to double parking in front of her house without feeling guilty about all the traffic she is causing.
March 16, 2011, 7:06 pm
ADN from Park Slope says:
Folks,

Unfortunately, you can't actually view Mrs. Hainline and her group as a good faith player in community affairs. Rather than engaging in civic process and dialogue, they have chosen to sue their neighbors.

Hainline's "compromise" needs to be viewed in this light. This compromise was not created by people interested in figuring out a "better bike lane." It was created by people who have hired a former federal prosecutor at a high-powered litigation and lobbying firm to get rid of the bike lane on their street. Plain and simple.

View this "compromise" for what it is and nothing more. It is a political, legal and media tactic. It's not being put forward to solve whatever problem cyclists, pedestrians and motorists might be experiencing on the streets of Brooklyn.

In other words: Now NBBL can check "Offer a compromise solution" off the box on their path to litigation and strong-arming the Community Board and local politicians. They can tell the judge: "Sir, we tried to be reasonable and rational but the other side was hard line. They refused to compromise."

Everyone paying attention to this issue needs to understand that NBBL is not engaging in civic process. They are not trying to come up with real solutions to making Brooklyn streets work better. They are not interested in "better bike lanes" as their deeply cynical name tries to suggest. Having lost in the democratic arena, everything NBBL now does is part of its legal strategy.

The cynicism is truly incredible.
March 16, 2011, 7:34 pm
Steve from PPW says:
ADN, one correction. This group of millionaires living in the most prime real estate in Park Slope did not hire their attorney in the traditional sense. He took their case pro bono.

You are right about the media strategy though. What they are doing by planting lies about the DOT is going to kill pedestrian and cyclist safety projects all over the city by the time they're done.

To the rest of you, a word of advice: DO NOT ENGAGE TAL.
March 16, 2011, 8:15 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, weren't mountain bikes designed especially to go on hilly terrains? If you have one, then it shouldn't be a problem. I have walked in Prospect Park, and I didn't find that to be a problem. I tend to find the claim that drivers were speeding down PPW to be more of some hyperbole mainly because it was probably a few that actually did, while the rest went with the speed limit. The truth about traffic calming is that by thinning the travel lanes, it actually causes more gridlock making it more of traffic causing. If this was really about speeding traffic, then fixing the traffic lights would be a good solution. Seriously, name one local street in the city where one could just floor the accelerator, because I couldn't find it, and it wasn't just in Manhattan.
March 16, 2011, 8:41 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
ADN and Steve, whatever you say about NBBL lobbying, I can say the exact same thing about TA lobbying on their part. Until there is proof of them doing such a thing, I will have to consider what is said about them to be slander. I will believe you guys if you can prove that JSK did not fudge data to favor the cyclist groups. Keep in mind that a website known as Queens Crap has noted where date as been funded be it crime stats or even by Bloomberg. On a side note, knock it off with the attacks Steve, because nobody is trying to silence you.
March 16, 2011, 8:46 pm
Jb from North Slope says:
You're absolutely wrong about "a few" speeding down PPW. I used to be terrified of crossing that street because it was a constant speedway. The bike lane really has helped slow down traffic there. Eighth Avenue, on the other hand, is extremely dangerous at times, especially when cars try to beat the lights and make it all the way to Flatbush Avenue before that light changes. I have witnesses several serious accidents and more near-misses on 8th between Carroll and Flatbush than I've seen anywhere else in my life.

Something never mentioned by the "use the park" crowd is the fact that the park does close at night, and the cops DO ticket bikes coming OUT of the park after closing time (easy pickings for their quotas, I gather).
March 16, 2011, 9:13 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Why can't women cycle in the park when it's dark? I see that as a perfectly viable alternative. Safe, quiet and pleasant.
March 16, 2011, 10:01 pm
Mike says:
SERIOUSLY, DO NOT ENGAGE TAL. He'll just spout more utter nonsense. He's not interested in reasonable or civil discourse.
March 16, 2011, 10:02 pm
Peter from Park Slope says:
Regarding the lawyer from the white-shoe law firm who's taking the NBBL/SFS lawsuit. Apparently, he's taking the case pro-bono.

But is this actually pro-bono, or is he doing the work for free, in return for consideration/access to a number of politically powerful people?

Remember, the NBBL constituency includes: A former head of the NYC DOT. A former deputy mayor (and head of the Department of Santiation) for NYC. One of the most powerful US Senators (Chuck Schumer) is married to a NBBL member.

I don't know pro-bono statutes, but I believe one consideration is ability to pay. If you own a multi-million-dollar apartment or house on PPW, you can probably afford the lawsuit.

So is this lawyer actually getting paid in kind from people in a position to do him favors? Remember, as a former US Attorney, he'd be in a position to benefit from such consideration.
March 16, 2011, 10:53 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal Women can cycle after dark, but the park is closed from 1am to 5am.

Also your previous comments just show us how ignorant you are of the urban environment that is Park Slope and Prospect Park
March 17, 2011, 6:46 am
Mickey from Park Slope says:
I wonder what traffic would be like if everyone using a bike to commute and do errands used a car instead.
March 17, 2011, 8:34 am
Gary Toth from NYC says:
As someone who spent 34 years as an engineer at the New Jersey Department of Transportation conducting analyses and setting the scope for public investments, I can affirm that the NYC DOT approach to evaluating the Prospect Park West project was totally consistent with industry practice. Whether or not one would agree with the PPW street conversion, most practicing engineers would tell you that there is no merit whatsoever to the lawsuit’s allegations.

It is clear that this is a well-orchestrated smear campaign by the project opponents. By inserting false conclusions about professional transportation practice into a lawsuit, they create the illusion of professional validity, and set up the tabloids to post the conclusions as fact. Since, from my early read of the legal filing, it appears that the plaintiffs have no chance of getting anyone to agree that they are right about the NYCDOT process, I can only conclude that the real intent of this suit was to set up a trial via the press.

Equally unfortunate has been the attempt to turn this into a bicycle-versus-car argument. The current NYCDOT is about improving the quality of life for the people of NYC. It is unfortunate that the tabloids want to lower this discussion to acrimony and pit folks against each other, but of course this is not surprising. Sensationalism, creating the illusion of controversy, and pitting everyday citizens against each other is how they sell newspapers.

This story is bigger than one street....
http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/03/16/a-transportation-engineer-weighs-in-on-the-prospect-park-west-lawsuit/
March 17, 2011, 9:14 am
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
@Gary

I agree about the tactic of filing a court case. It's a tactic, not their strategy.

Though I suppose they might hope to get incredibly lucky, their best hope is to get a change through exerting pressure on people like the mayor, by trashing people like JSK via their media lapdogs like Marcia Kramer and the NY Post.
March 17, 2011, 9:39 am
D from Park Slope says:
As has been pointed out before, Hainline's call to have DOT study a bike lane on 8th Avenue is the ultimate evidence of NBBL's NIMBYism.

At the CB6 hearing Hainline said that DOT "has failed all of us." If NBBL had no choice but to sue them, and if she believes DOT conducted a sham study on PPW not up to federal standards, why does she now trust DOT to do right on 8th Avenue?

Louise, please answer this question. Why the sudden trust in DOT?
March 17, 2011, 10:36 am
vee from park slope says:
The city was determined to put that bike lane on PPW even though they had to eliminate a bus route on that avenue to do so. Now when I go the the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket, I call a car service to take me and my packages home instead of getting on the bus which no longer is there.
March 17, 2011, 3:16 pm
Mike says:
The bus route elimination was because of MTA budget cuts. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the city DOT (not MTA)'s traffic calming/bike path project.
March 17, 2011, 5:04 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
Vee, that's ridiculous. Which makes it a perfect fit with the NiBBLers' logic. Maybe you can file an amicus brief.
March 17, 2011, 5:20 pm
Bus Fan from Slope says:
Vee:

Here's a piece of irony for you:

The "bike lobby" that Mrs. Hainline's attorney keeps talking about were some of the only people in the neighborhood who actually raised their voices and tried to save the PPW and Union Street buses from being eliminated.

If they had any feelings about it at all, the NBBLers were happy to see the elimination of the noisy buses and the bus stops converted to parking.

The installation of the bike lane had nothing to do with the elimination of the bus. But now that there's no bus there, I'm sure glad it's safer and easier to ride a bike on PPW.
March 17, 2011, 6:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, that post at 10:01 PM last night wasn't done by me. I wasn't even at my computer at that time. I am not even a sexist, especially since I am big fan of the WNBA. How about them Liberty? That post was probably done by Mike, because his came a minute later, which mikes him a likely suspect. It was obvious it was done by him to insult me because I put him in place where he couldn't prove his point. Why else would he say something a minute later unless the one above came by him? It just shows how some cyclists really do sink to lows such as using impersonations on those that don't agree with him. If I am being impersonated, then I must mean something to the rogue cyclists.
March 17, 2011, 7:09 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal, I think in only shows that people are having fun at your expense.
March 17, 2011, 8:41 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, I am here to have a friendly debate, but it seems as if your rogue cyclists friends don't want one. Impersonating me is a real low, and very unintelligent if you asked me. Getting back to the bike lanes, NBBL has every right to sue whether you like it or not, and especially because they have the right to do so. If there is proof that JSK is telling the truth, then prove it. BTW, TA is known bike lobby, and as N'Sync would say, "That aint no lie baby bye-bye-bye."
March 17, 2011, 9:25 pm
Mike says:
OK, these most recent Tal posts have GOT to be parody impersonators. They're even more unhinged than usual. Funny.
March 17, 2011, 11:37 pm
mike from GP says:
I'm telling you folks, Tal is some performance artist. He's punking us all. There's no way he could actually believe the stuff he writes.
March 18, 2011, 1:19 am
Sally from PPW says:
"NBBL has every right to sue whether you like it or not, and especially because they have the right to do so."

This is the greatest piece of writing and logic I have ever seen.
March 18, 2011, 8:50 am
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
@Sally.

You're wrong. This one's better. :)

"If there is proof that JSK is telling the truth, then prove it."
March 18, 2011, 9:01 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal,,

Nobody here wants to have a friendly debate.

WE are talking about the future of OUR neighborhood.

WE are stakeholders.

I don't have to agree with the NBBL people but they live here.

Yes, Tal, You are entitled to your opinion, but this is not a friendly debate to US. This is NOT A DEBATE AT ALL. This is how we move around OUR neighborhoods, our city. This is what we see when WE look out OUR windows.

Bike lanes affect how WE drive, how WE cross streets, how WE get from one place to another and how we even relate to each other.

You might think they are not worth spending money on but they don't affect you.
March 18, 2011, 11:19 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, they believe that the date was fudged, and the idea of traffic calming really creates more traffic than stops it. Wouldn't creating more gridlock be a contradicition to going green? I have been on many other streets with bike lanes throughout the city, and I have seen where they have been a problem. As for Louise Hainline, she has done a lot more than what either Mark Gorton and Paul Steely White have done combined, so quit attacking her.
March 18, 2011, 5:45 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I meant to say data, not date in that last one.
March 18, 2011, 8:35 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal,

Bike lanes don't cause grid lock, cars do.
March 18, 2011, 9:39 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, whatever squeezes lanes can lead to gridlock. It's like saying does water flow faster when the slit is thinner or thicker? When there is lesser room for traffic to flow, this is what leads to gridlock. I think long term, not short term. The population of NYC will not be going down anytime soon, it will be going up and in some cases more rapidly than before. Overall, bike lanes are a pet project, and many are seeing through Bloomberg and know what he really is.
March 20, 2011, 12:27 pm
Tyler says:
Tal -- You're officially an idiot. Your certificate will arrive in the mail shortly.

(I like how ALL of your posts are based on your gut and "popular wisdom" -- for example your most recent post about squeezing lanes causing gridlock. It's too bad all contemporary traffic engineering and planning science disagrees with almost everything you say!! Don't get me wrong, I like it. I think it's quaint and folksy.)
March 20, 2011, 2:56 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Tyler, calling someone an idiot just because they disagree with you if very unprofessional if you asked me. Go back to that biased website known as Streetsblog where you belong, and take some of your friends with you. I didn't call anyone who disagreed with me an idiot, so don't do it to others. How about presenting me proof where the data from JSK isn't fudged rather than acting so defensive and hostil towards me? I guess you don't have proof, which is why you are resorting to personal attacks. Just like all other rogue cyclists, you are a coward. No wonder why Streetsblog and TA get such a bad rap. I just can't wait for Weiner to take over as mayor and remove the unecessary bike lanes. BTW, a blanke statement like the one you just said doesn't help you either. I wish the best of luck for Hainline with the lawsuit, and it will be a victory for the people if she wins.
March 20, 2011, 3:21 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Do you understand the term excess capacity. I will let you look it up. That is one reason that we can remove car lanes.

But also if you have a 2 lanes of traffic and increase it to 3 lanes of traffic for a mile and then back to 2 lance of traffic it does not make anyone get anywhere any faster..

and my do we have to make it so the added population of NYC all NEEDS A CAR?

Stop it Tal. You live in suburbia, you need a car. We don't
March 20, 2011, 6:07 pm
p from ppw says:
Other Michael, why do you bother? Some people will go away if they don't get attention. More effective than arguing with someone.
March 20, 2011, 6:38 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Because there are countless people who are "on the fence" on this issue and they read these comments to help develop their own opinions.
March 20, 2011, 7:07 pm
p from PPW says:
Then tell people Tal is just a troll, adds nothing. Don't try to argue with him on anything he "brings" to the debate.
March 20, 2011, 9:06 pm
Mike says:
Anyone who sees Tal repeatedly asking for proof that data isn't fudged will quickly realize he's an idiot. It's just not worth it. Let it go.
March 20, 2011, 9:33 pm
Other Michael says:
Not everyone will see Tal as an idiot, quickly. Some will need it shown to them
March 20, 2011, 10:35 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How typical of you all ganging up on me. You guys all need to chill and allow for others to comment on this. The world doesn't revolve around you. If you think I am wasting my time, or just don't like what I am saying, then don't read it. Why don't you guys do something more productive with your time such as cleaning out your closets or update your fantasy sports teams? The way you act towards me just for being on the other side shows that you probably came here by a command decision by Streetsblog. Calling someone an idiot just for disagreeing is very uncalled for. In a debate, the person in charge will not accept personal attacks like why you are saying. As long as you call me an idiot, I will call you an attacker, or better yet a wacko attacko as Michael Moore calls them.
March 21, 2011, 4:52 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal,

This is not a debate. This is not a game. This is not a joke.

People read these comments and make decisions. Some of them are traffic engineers. Some of them are elected officials or governmental administrators. Some of them are voters.

This is real to the people who live here. So we are going to gang up on you.

We are not calling you an idiot because we disagree with you. But it is important that we point out that your opinions are in fact idiotic.

How often have you seen PPW or even been out of your car in Park Slope?

So why don't you repaint the lines in the parking lot at the mall.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Pleasantville, NY&hl=en&rlz=1D2DLUS_enUS334US350&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=Pleasantville, NY&gl=us&ei=hr2HTZa4OoKcgQe8spGvCA&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ8gEwAA
March 21, 2011, 5:07 pm
Christy from Windsor Terrace says:
I am an avid cyclist, but I don't use the bike lane & thought it was a stupid, costly idea. For two decades Transportation Alternatives has been trying to shut out vehicular traffic from the Prospect Park Roadway permanently, 24/7. People on foot & by bicycle can access all neighborhoods surrounding the park by using the roadway. Setting up permanent gate only accessible by park, police & emergency personnel would have been a whole lot cheaper, safer and less disruptive than this limited, dangerous & ridiculous bike lane.
Why has the simplest and most practical answer been completely ignored?
March 30, 2011, 4:01 pm

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