Park Slope loves its bike lane — but not city tweaks!

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New tweaks to the Prospect Park West bike lane will lead to confusion and crashes, the community board that first proposed the lane now says.

The city will rejigger locations of several crosswalk signals, moving them to new “pedestrian islands” where cyclists can’t see them, members of Community Board 6 said before voting on Sept. 14 against that detail in the city’s bike lane makeover.

“Why do it?” said James Bernard, a longtime bike lane opponent and board member. “We’re supposed to be preserving the street’s character — and we’ve already been the guinea pig enough.”

And lane supporters joined Bernard, though for a different reason: The bike lane has been so successful in reducing accidents, that making changes to the “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs is “unnecessary.”

The board — which proposed the controversial bike lane as a traffic-calming measure in 2008 — did ask the Department of Transportation for some minor tweaks such as rumble strips to alert cyclists to slow down, a Ninth Street drop off area reconfiguration, more light signals along with raised pedestrian islands.

But the city went further, adding islands and reconfigured crosswalk signals at nine locations, including at First, Fifth and Ninth streets. The city plan also features “cobblestone-edged” tree pits that, once built, will separate the bike lane from vehicle traffic, along with islands located about 11 feet from the curb — much like the ones on Ninth Avenue between West 23rd and West 31st streets in Manhattan.

“Signals like that are systematically ignored by cyclists — you’re not going to change their behavior by moving these crosswalks,” said Mark Shames of Community Board 6.

A few spoke in favor of the signs — noting it would make the street less chaotic.

“You’re not dealing with those guys in Spandex who don’t stop for anyone,” said Nica Lalli. “It’s mostly families out for a bike ride — and I think this would make the lane easier to use.”

Department of Transportation spokesman Seth Solomonow echoed Lalli.

“We believe this change makes sense, from an engineering standpoint, to enhance safety,” he said in a statement.

Neighbors like Bernard were not convinced. “There’s just no reason to do it,” he said.

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Reader Feedback

S from PPW says:
What happened to Enough is Enough?

What a coincidence that this article gets published one day after NBBL files to appeal their lawsuit.

Gersh, you are full of —— and simply can not be trusted.

Shame on you.
Sept. 28, 2011, 7:30 am
Dee says:
And not one quote from someone at the DOT explaining the changes? Quotes from confused people does not journalism make.
Sept. 28, 2011, 7:53 am
Sally from Slope says:
CB6 voted in favor of ALL changes to the lane, including pedestrian islands, despite what this article says, plus they were discussed and overwhelimglu supported at the March public hearing.

How is O'Neill still covering this beat when she gets so much wrong? Perhaps it's on purpose to gin up controversy where there is none. Perhaps it's because your editor is really Jim Walden.

Please publish a prominent correction and take down this article. It is not factually correct.

I agree. Shame on Mr. Kuntzman.
Sept. 28, 2011, 8:25 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
When is Bicycle Rule Enforcement Week?
Sept. 28, 2011, 9:35 am
Fact Checker from WT says:
As others have mentioned, both the quote from Mark Shames and the entire basis of this article are based on faulty information. You really should consult DOT on how the islands will work before writing an article.

Even the headline is unsupported by the text.
Sept. 28, 2011, 9:49 am
Gershlike from Slopey says:
You have to be kidding me! CB6 APPROVED the pedestrian islands and they have broad support in the community!

"The city will rejigger locations of several crosswalk signals, moving them to new “pedestrian islands” where cyclists can’t see them, members of Community Board 6 said before voting on Sept. 14 against that detail in the city’s bike lane makeover."

This makes it seem like the whole CB voted against it - not true! Instead you have a couple of people who voted against it posing as reps for the entire CB - again, not true.

What the hell is wrong with you, Gersh? How do you let this garbage get spread around?
Sept. 28, 2011, 10:04 am
Gary from PPW says:
The community board voted unanimously in favor of adding raised pedestrian island along with the other changes. I'm not sure what people are complaining about. Moving the walk/don't walk signs to the pedestrian islands makes perfect sense. They apply to the crossing of the traffic lanes. Different rules govern crossing the bike lane -- pedestrians are to look both ways before crossing and bikes are to yield to pedestrians. The bike lane is not governed by the traffic lights on PPW so pedestrians could be mislead by relying on the walk/don' walk signs to cross the lane. Crossing the bike lane requires basic human interaction. Give it a try sometime. It is quite pleasant. Also the walk/don't walk signs in their current locations would be harder to see once plantings on the raised islands fill out.
Sept. 28, 2011, 10:09 am
Eliot from Park Slope says:
Wait... Did the board vote Yes or No?

And why -- after reading this article -- do readers not know this basic fact?
Sept. 28, 2011, 10:17 am
Gershlike from Slopey says:
Because the BP doesn't care about facts, only controversy even when there is none. It's a terrible excuse for a "community" newspaper.
Sept. 28, 2011, 10:30 am
Resident from PPW says:
The headline is incorrect, NO, everyone does not love the bike lanes! Commissioner Sadik-Khan, tear down those lanes!
Sept. 28, 2011, 10:38 am
wkgreen from Park Slope says:
Seems to me that this is a great answer to those who complained about having a 2-way bike lane on a 1-way street which was one of the primary arguments used by opponents against it. If they are separated by islands then there should be no problem differentiating them. And, with plantings on the islands, what a nice way of bringing the beauty of the park into street!

As a neighborhood resident I'm thrilled!
Sept. 28, 2011, 10:44 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Oh God. The bike lane is only controversial to like 3 or 4 people.
Sept. 28, 2011, 10:58 am
G from S says:
And three of those four are Tal Barzilai impersonators.
Sept. 28, 2011, 11:01 am
city's pov says:
Dee, the DOT is quoted:

Department of Transportation spokesman Seth Solomonow echoed Lalli.

“We believe this change makes sense, from an engineering standpoint, to enhance safety,” he said in a statement.
Sept. 28, 2011, 12:50 pm
Jym from PLG says:
• You should do a bit of fact-checking, e.g. what's in your own editorials (unless, of course, some enoughs are more enough than others) and how to spell "tweaks" correctly in a headline.
Sept. 28, 2011, 12:54 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Whatever happens, cyclists will always ignore whatever is there. They show no respect for the traffic laws, which is why there is such opposition to their need for bike lanes, and support for having them being licensed, registered, and support. Perhaps, there should be a new hearing on whether the bike lane should stay or go as mentioned in yesterday's NY Post, and we will see where the people there will stand. As for pedestrian islands, they were already hated in Bay Ridge and were taken down as being seen as making it difficult to use Ft Hamilton Parkway especially for service and emergency vehicles to use them. On a side note, I wouldn't be surprised if G from S is one of those who impersonated me when he says something like that.
Sept. 28, 2011, 6:52 pm
Pat from Ft Greene says:
I don't know who is more incompetent, reporter Natalie O'Neal or her supposed editor, Gersh Kuntzman. There has, to my knowledge, never been an article from this amateur that hasn't been revealed to be shoddy, deficient, incorrect, or purposefully inaccurate. And I notice she is listed as the only Staff Reporter! What does that say about the sorry state of affairs, and how does she keep this job? And how does her editor?
Sept. 29, 2011, 11:55 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Can I ask something to you bike zealouts? Why are some of you very hostile to Natalie O'Neill? You guys had your view on this and she had her's. Every hear of a thing known as freedom of the press? Just as the media has every right to agree with you, they can equally disagree with you as well. I do suggest you look up the case Near vs Minnesota, and you will see why no level of government can censor the media just for saying something that doesn't interest them, and the same implies for a group of fanatics like yourselves. Overall, she doesn't deserve a personal attack from zealouts such as yourselves.
Sept. 29, 2011, 7:46 pm
Mike says:
Oh yes, because a group of people criticizing a reporter for being biased is EXACTLY THE SAME as the government saying they can't print something.

Sept. 30, 2011, 12:45 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

This is a news article. It is supposed to be facts. News articles are supposed to inform. When the facts are WRONG it is called misinformation.

If this were an op-ed then she would be entitled to " freedom of the press".

BTW, there is nothing I can do to limit the freedom of the press. Only the government can take that right away.
Sept. 30, 2011, 7:37 am
Pat from Ft Greene says:
So Tal, you understand and agree with me about Natalie's incompetence. She doesn't fulfill the basic requirements of reporting: accuracy, brevity, and objectivity. She has no business pretending to be in journalism, but then again, this is Gersh Kuntzman's version of journalism: biased, sensationalistic, happy news.
Sept. 30, 2011, 11:23 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Whatever you say about O'Neill, I can easily say the same thing about Aaron Naparstek, who is probably even more biased. It's easy to call someone biased if they don't agree with you. In a way, you sort of remind of those on Nets Daily who constantly make attacks at Norman Oder whenever he makes his take on the Atlantic Yards. Just leave poor Natalie alone. BTW, Streetsblog is a zillion times more biased than the Brooklyn Paper is when it comes to bicycles, and practically defendes all rogue cyclists no matter what and calls them martyrs.
Sept. 30, 2011, 6:24 pm
Mike says:
Aaron Naparstek NEVER CLAIMED TO BE IMPARTIAL. The Brooklyn Paper does. Jeez. Are you really this thick?
Sept. 30, 2011, 8:02 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, I believe that you just described yourself by saying that.
Oct. 1, 2011, 5:42 pm
Tally Barpiday! from Unpleasantville, NY says:
Aaron Naparstek is not editing a daily newspaper. Private citizens are entitled to be as biased as Tal Barzilai.
Oct. 2, 2011, 9:11 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville,NY says:
Mike, cut out the impersonizations. I know it is you and your ilk over at streetsblog. Aaron Naparstek reminds me of Hamas attaking Israel constantly then Israel gets bad press for defending itself against terrorists. Back to the issue. Unlike you streetsbloggers out there, I use facts to debunk the arguments of the bike zealouts. Calmly and rationelly, I strip each argument down to its essential, and unmask it for its contradictions and flawed logic. And what do I get for bringing some much needed perspective to the debate? Personal attacks way below the belt, impersunations, and charachter assassinnation. My lawyer is of the opinion that this amounts to slander at best and cyberbullying (which is a capital crime) at worse. So unless you streetbloggers want to ride your bikes up in Attica or Sing Sing, just cut out the crap.
Oct. 2, 2011, 3:11 pm
EBL Zealout from Brooklyn says:
Tal, or whomever:

Streetsblog is very open about it's advocacy goals, it's angle, it's view of the world and the kinds of changes that it would like to see take place in NYC. Streetsblog does advocacy-journalism. Streetsblog's editors don't hide the fact that they support policies that lead to livable streets. No one at Streetsblog is pretending to be a perfectly objective journalist, perfectly "fair and balanced" human tape-recorders simply recording quotes and regurgitating them back as he-said she-said tidbits. And thank goodness for that. It's impossible to be a perfectly objective reporter. We all have our own biases and lenses through which we see the world. As Jim Walden showed over the course of the last year (and the Brooklyn Paper happily obliged) "objective" journalism is so very easily manipulated. One of the reasons I like Streetsblog so much is because the publication is honest and open about it's biases and the lens through which it views the world. You know exactly where Streetsblog is coming from. This makes Streetsblog's reporting more honest, trustworthy and informative.
Oct. 2, 2011, 10:29 pm

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