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Lane pains! Former officials slam city for lying on Prospect Park West

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Two former top city officials — including an ex-Transportation Commissioner who emphasized car travel over bikes during her tenure — have emerged as the principal leaders of the opposition to the city’s controversial Prospect Park West bike lane.

One day after the Department of Transportation announced last week that the lane has improved safety for drivers and cyclists, two members of the city’s old guard — former Sanitation Commissioner Norman Steisel and former Transportation boss Iris Weinshall — struck back, claiming that the agency fudged numbers to make the lane appear more successful than it is.

“We’re skeptical,” said Steisel, whose group is called Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes. “They’ve been opportunistic about the way they’ve used their numbers.”

Steisel said that current Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is so driven by her passion for bicycles that she may be “pushing facts so hard that they don’t paint a proper picture of the truth.”

Steisel’s statement echoed private comments made by Weinshall at last Thursday’s presentation at the Old First Reformed Church in Park Slope, where the agency took something of a victory lap over its Prospect Park West “traffic calming” project, which cut the roadway down from three lanes to two to accommodate a two-way bike lane protected by a lane of parked cars.

Weinshall’s seven-year leadership of the Department of Transportation from 2000 to 2007 was characterized by efforts to improve car traffic flow rather than encourage bicycling, which has been one of Sadik-Khan’s signature initiatives.

Weinshall didn’t return calls to The Brooklyn Paper by press time, but another member of the borough’s old guard, Borough President Markowitz, has been outspoken on the topic, calling Sadik-Khan an “anti-car zealot,” who does not care about the needs of Brooklyn drivers.

Markowitz, a former resident of Prospect Park West, has also complained that the bike lane has cheapened “the look” of the elegant thoroughfare.

Markowitz added this week that he questions the city stats because “the Department of Transportation has to justify the Prospect Park West bike lane.”

“I question the validity of any data coming from the very agency that installed the lane,” he said.

And that agency is certainly pleased with the results of its work on Prospect Park West. According to the city report, fewer drivers are now treating Prospect Park West like a speedway. Before the lane was built, 75 percent of cars would exceed the speed limit; now only 20 percent do.

Researchers also found that fewer bicyclists are using the sidewalk — which is dangerous to both riders and pedestrians — and that fewer cyclists are getting into accidents, even as the number of cyclists soars because of the convenience of the bike lane.

Most Park Slopers applauded the study findings when they were presented to lane-friendly Community Board 6 last Thursday, where transportation officials were received more like heroes than a bunch of bureaucrats.

When the department finished its presentation, there was even applause from the crowd of about 100 — a reaction that’s about as rare as a clean-shaven hipster.

“That bike lane saves my ass every single day,” said Marina Bekkerman, who said she needs it to get to work. “I’m glad the data supports it.”

Speaker after speaker at the meeting heralded the agency for helming “a project that is obviously working” — and for sticking it out even as the borough president and others demanded its dismantling.

Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) was impressed by the numbers. He said the study “is encouraging” and the fact that fewer sidewalk cyclists exist “is very significant.” It matches the data taken from surveys his office has conducted, he said.

Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes claims that its videos of the bike lane show that it is used far fewer cyclists.

“You’ll have to excuse me, but what they said was bull—t,” said Lois Carswell, a spokeswoman for the group. “I disagree with their logic.”

She added that seniors feel less safe crossing the roadway now.

Ryan Russo, a director with the Department of Transportation, countered that American Traffic Information — the “independent” firm that conducted the study — is credible, and that the firm logged more bike riders because they were set up at several points along the route to avoid undercounting riders who only used a small portion of the lane.

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Reader Feedback

Tired of this from Park Slope says:
These people are like birthers. No matter how much evidence you show them, no matter how sensible the truth is, they insist that there must be some way that Barack Obama was born overseas, or that the PPW bike path is somehow causing horrible problems. You can't reason with them. Back in the real world, the project is a huge success, and it's hard to understand what these people have against it.
Jan. 25, 2011, 12:32 am
Bo from Greenpoint says:
What a piece of garbage this article is. Non-news designed specifically to give Steisel another soapbox and keep this crap going. Are you going to call Steisel back again today and ask "How do you feel about the bike lane this morning, Norman?"
Jan. 25, 2011, 8:24 am
Resident from PPW says:
Keep up the good work Mr. Steisel and Ms. Weinshall . I applaud the traffic calming results from the Sadik-Khan lane, but the same results could have been accomplished on PPW with either speed bumps or staggered traffic lights.
Jan. 25, 2011, 9:52 am
Jacob from Prospect Heights says:
This lane is NOT controversial. The following groups support it: Community Board 6 (who REQUESTED the project), local Councilman Brad Lander, local Councilman Steve Levin, Park Slope Neighbors. Even the data supports it.

The ONLY data that anyone opposed to this project has produced is that they counted fewer people riding on the lane than DOT counted. Even that number has been discredited since the anti-bike group counted bikes at the end of the lane, which is like counting subway ridership only at the last station.

Markowitz is an anti-bike, anti-safety zealot, who'd rather have people end up in the hospital before making cars obey the speed limit. Like the birthers, this guy can't be convinced by "reason" or "data". Who voted for this guy again?
Jan. 25, 2011, 9:59 am
jj from Brooklyn says:
These bike lanes are a disgrace .

The traffic is worse , I've seen people get run over walking through the lanes as bike riders fly down the lanes as ridiculously fast speed .

The supporters remind me of the Goebbels propaganda machine --- whatever they want is good for uds . Don't like it ... too bad .
Democracy in actions ... no fascism from the Liberal Left Loons
Jan. 25, 2011, 10:11 am
Alice D from Kensington says:
The only people who support these bike lanes are the global warming frauds..... who hate America and hate anyone who doesn't agree with them.

Hope and Change ????

9.5% unemployment for 2 years is change enough for me
Jan. 25, 2011, 10:28 am
Mike says:
Goebbels? Fascism? jj, you're the one who sounds unhinged here.
Jan. 25, 2011, 10:29 am
pat from park slope says:
folks against the bike lane should really settle on one message - either the bike lane is rarely used and not worth it, or its filled with dangerous speeding cyclists mowing down seniors. it can't be both!
Jan. 25, 2011, 10:37 am
ch from bh says:
f u c k you, Brooklyn Paper, for print misleading s h i t like this just to drive up your site visits.
Jan. 25, 2011, 11:19 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
The bike lane is great. Mrs. Putz is a disgrace.
Jan. 25, 2011, 11:21 am
common sense from bay ridge says:
Did this article get linked on the sludgereport? Two comments from foaming at the mouth teabaggers already? Thanks for convincing me to come down off the fence and support the bike lanes!! Anything that pisses off the dittoheads that much has to be good.
Jan. 25, 2011, 11:34 am
ilovebrooklyn from PPW says:
These bike land opponents are shameless. The data and the weight of public support are not on your side; get over it and find something better to do with your lives.
Jan. 25, 2011, 12:18 pm
Henry from Park Slope says:
"Seniors feel less safe crossing the roadway now." The data say they're actually safer...but they FEEL less safe. And Markowitz complaining that no one's thinking about the needs of drivers sounds like a little kid complaining that there's no Kid's Day to go with Mother's and Father's Days. EVERY DAY IS CAR DAY.
Jan. 25, 2011, 1:38 pm
Steve from PPW says:
jj, feel free to link to the NYPD reports showing all of these people being run over on PPW by bikers.

The real NYPD accident report data shows zero bike-on-ped accidents. Are they in collusion with the DOT? Last I checked the two departments weren't on the friendliest of terms.

When will this story finally be over? Norman Steisel and Iris Weinshall are wasting more taxpayer money with all of this fighting -- and eventual lawsuit -- than the bike lane cost. All of them, Louise Hainline and Lois Carswell included, should be ashamed of herself. They care about parking, but not their neighbors.

Can we please get a new group: Neighbors For Better Neighbors?
Jan. 25, 2011, 2:05 pm
eliot from park slope says:
There is no controversy.

Every single study has shown that the new PPW is safer. It has cut speeding -- and even made cyclists behave better!

So, on one side, you have:

- The DOT
- Community Board 6
- Councilman Levin
- Councilman Lander

Their claims are verified by:

- A DOT Study
- NYPD injury statistics
- An American Traffic Information study
- A Park Slope Neighbors study
- Councilman Lander's survey (~2,000 people)

On the other side you have:

- Norman Steisel (retired)
- Iris Weinshall (retired)
- Marty Markowitz (idiot)
- Lois Carswell (who?)

Their claims are verified by:

- Nothing

If you're looking for four senior citizens complaining about nothing, you can stop by any co-op board meeting, anywhere in this city.

But this? This is a waste of newsprint.
Jan. 25, 2011, 2:43 pm
Steve from PPW says:
Iris Weinshall and Norman Steisel are not "two members of the city’s old guard" valiantly fighting a bogus study. This isn't Jimmy Carter building houses for poor people or Bill Clinton fighting AIDS in Africa.

Weinshall and Norman Steisel are home owners on or near PPW and have a direct interest in the outcome of this project. They don't like it and are using their former offices and positions to get influence. If this bike lane was located somewhere else, they wouldn't give two shakes of a rat's tail about this.

Please. The Brooklyn Paper should stop identifying them solely as former department heads, but as local residents. It's only fair.

Also, Steisel and co. love to make up numbers. Take this doozy from their "Case Statement" on the PPW bike lane:

"More than 160 letters and emails...have been compiled from our archives. Using the standard multiplier effect of 50:1 for constituent letters, these letters represent almost 7,500 unhappy people, none of whom asked for the lane."

The standard hoozit what now? And they're accusing DOT of being "opportunistic about the way they’ve used their numbers.” Right. Add Louise Hainline to the mix, a dean at Brooklyn College, and you've got one set of opportunistic number pushers. How embarrassing for Brooklyn College.
Jan. 25, 2011, 3:19 pm
Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
"I disagree with their logic." - Lois Carswell.

That pretty much sums up the opposition.
Jan. 25, 2011, 3:52 pm
Sarah from Park Slope says:
I am so relieved to learn that government entities never fudge data to achieve the results they want.
Jan. 25, 2011, 3:54 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
"If Markowitz wanted a bike lane he would use his connections to get someone to impose it by fiat, and then fake the data to do away with any complaints. So of course he assumes that’s what Park Slope Neighbors did."

http://bit.ly/if9K7Q
Jan. 25, 2011, 3:58 pm
Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
@Sarah,
I'm so relieved that people who are opposed to something never fudge their numbers - or just pure make sh*t up.

"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true." - Homer Simpson

"I think the two-way bicycle lanes will cause a great inconvenience to the residents of Prospect Park West… I hope that the commissioner and the department is right. If they’re right, and in fact it causes no bottlenecks, no inconvenience, and if it works, I’ll be the first to say I was wrong. I would." - Marty Markowitz
Jan. 25, 2011, 4:02 pm
Sarah from Park Slope says:
What? It is a relief. Sheesh!
Seriously, it would be preferable if DOT just came out and said we want a bike lane. And this isn't just a test phase. Sure, a lot of people will hate it at first, and it will take a while for people to start using it, but eventually, it will be used.
And hint to the ultra zealots----tone it down a little bit. You're making a lot of us forget that we actually believe in expanding bike lanes.
Jan. 25, 2011, 4:20 pm
Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
@Sarah

Sarah, it was the community board that requested the bike lane/traffic calming.

Changes like this are always studied (as they should be), for their efficacy.

By any standard proposed by anybody, it's a success.

Does Weinshall/Steisel et. al. dispute that speeding has been greatly reduced? No, of course not. They can't.

Do they dispute that there have been no reports of bike/pedestrian accidents? No, of course not. They can't.

Do they dispute that traffic on other streets has not gotten worse? No, of course not. They can't.

Also, the 'Neighbors For A Better Bike Lane' (who, in reality, never wanted a bike lane, or ever said a peep about speeding), can't seem to make up their minds about a very basic thing..

they simultaneously argue that no one is using the bike lane, yet also say that pedestrians are barely escaping death from cyclists, left and right.

Here is the question for Steisel/Weinshall/Markowitz, et. al - what would convince you that this is a 'success' i.e., it meets the criteria of traffic calming and getting bikes off the sidewalk?

I'll tell you right now, they will NEVER answer that question.
Jan. 25, 2011, 4:31 pm
Steve from PPW says:
I think the real relief would come if Norman Steisel and Louise Hainline just came out and said we don't want a bike lane.

At least that would be honest.
Jan. 25, 2011, 4:34 pm
sarah from park slope says:
From what I've read here and other places, I think they wanted to see the data on which DOT's claims were based, and filed a FOIL request. To which DOT apparently didn't respond. I don't think the request is unreasonable--as a long time resident, I'm kind of curious about the data, too. As for the reduction in speeding, I don't think anyone could seriously challenge that-a lane of traffic has been removed, forcing the same number of cars into a smaller space. Not a surprise. I do think traffic could have been slowed in a less expensive and dramatic fashion---changing the timing of the lights, for example.
The safety issue for me isn't speeding bikers---frankly, I haven't seen that many people using the bike lane. I'm more concerned about having parked cars in the middle of the street. I"ve seen some people trying to get out at night, and it seems like it could be dangerous---not because of bikes, but other cars. (I also think the parked cars in the middle of a once grand street is unsightly, but I guess I'll get used to it).
I hope now that it's there, people will use it.
Thank heavens we don't have real problems to debate.
Jan. 25, 2011, 4:51 pm
Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
Sarah,
I'm all for everyone getting access to the data. At the meeting, the DOT rep said they intended to respond, but the study hadn't even been completed when the request was filed.

The 'anti-s' have a high-priced attorneys at Gibson, Dunn if this was an issue. They are free to go to court if DOT isn't in compliance. The fact is, they haven't.
Jan. 25, 2011, 5:05 pm
Marty Barfowitz from Outer Borough, NYC says:
“I question the validity of any data coming from the very agency that installed the lane,” Markowitz said.

Hey, Marty, you brainiac: The Department of Transportation also installed the car lanes.
Jan. 25, 2011, 5:11 pm
Peter from Park Slope says:
Steisel and his NBBL cohorts should just simply come clean: they want more parking, and their sense of car-centric aesthetics means they believe the new PPW is ugly.

Those are the only consistent arguments they've had.

And squawking about reckless bicyclists is simply absurd and misplaced, given the number of pedestrians killed by reckless drivers on a near-daily basis. We had another one today, a poor woman on the Upper East Side, run over by a unlicensed man driving a dump truck "like a bat out of hell" according to witnesses.

See: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/truck_kills_woman_on_side_WzBF0kHbg1iLTrIaBYm1nM

(linking to NYPost since the Post and BP are both Fox/Murdoch pubs)

Until NBBL starts putting out some intellectually honest arguments and stops flinging mud, they'll never get my support.
Jan. 25, 2011, 5:16 pm
Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
@Peter Park Slope

Steisel and his NBBL cohorts should just simply come clean: they want more parking, and their sense of car-centric aesthetics means they believe the new PPW is ugly.

Aye, but there's the rub. Because ties have changed, and that rationale is not going to fly.

It's like saying Joe "You Lie" Wilson and the birthers came out, and said, "You know what, we just don't like a black president." Don't hold your breath.

Or as was summed up on '30 Rock',

Jack: The American public doesn't want your elitist, east coast, alternative, intellectual, left wing...

Liz: Jack, just say Jewish, this is taking forever.
Jan. 25, 2011, 5:25 pm
Marty Barfowitz from Outer Borough, NYC says:
This is a must-read for anyone who actually cares about the safety of NYC streets (unlike, say, Iris, Norman and Marty):

http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/01/25/response-to-nyc-traffic-deaths-rooted-in-ignorance
Jan. 25, 2011, 5:27 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The DOT does have a history of fudging data, and this is what NBBL is challenging here. Let's not forget when JSK tried to prove that the number of cyclists were increase, but in reality it was found that the rest of the city outside of midtown and downtown Manhattan were never actually counted at all. Also, since bicycles have no RFID tracking, the number could never be accurate to begin with. In reality, cyclists really are a fraction of a fraction according to the US Census Bureau in a recent study. The reason why the bike lanes are opposed is not only because it has caused congestion on PPW, but also cyclists don't give any sense of warning coming there since they tend to go the wrong way especially on a one way street a lot of time let alone running red lights and stop signs. At least with cars, everyone knew where they were going, and they do follow all traffic lights and signs most of the time.
Jan. 25, 2011, 5:52 pm
Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
@Tal
> DOT does have a history of fudging data - evidence?

> because it has caused congestion on PPW.

It hasn't. Travel time along PPW has remained the same.

>since they tend to go the wrong way especially on a one way street

Huh, the bike lane is 2-way.
Jan. 25, 2011, 5:59 pm
Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
P.S

@tal

The RFID stuff is wacky. By that logic, pedestrians could never be counted either, and when the DOT does traffic studies, it doesn't look at license plates.

It has no idea whether a car is circling the block 20 times, or if it's 20 different cars.
Jan. 25, 2011, 6:01 pm
Joe from Crown Heights says:
I think the big issue here is that the community has asked for this lane, by a 1500-signature petition. The community board requested its installation by resolution, approved the plans DOT presented, and approved keeping the lane when DOT came back. Markowitz, Steisel and Weinshall by virtue of their name and political connections are circumventing the public process, making false accusations in the press, and lobbying City Hall. The community board has spoken - stop trying to get things your way when the vast majority of the neighborhood feels differently! This problem is a local problem that needs to be addressed locally, not in the TV and newspapers. I mean really Marty - your office oversees Community Boards. You are supposed to represent the public interest. How dare you campaign and lobby to remove something the CB requested!
Jan. 25, 2011, 6:05 pm
Marty Barfowitz from Outer Borough NYC says:
My question is simply this:

If it turns out that the DOT's data is good and their traffic counts were done correctly and accurately, will Marty Markowitz, Norman Steisel and Iris Weinshall apologize for their slander and false accusations against Janette Sadik-Khan and the many local advocates who have been working to make this project happen going on five years now?
Jan. 25, 2011, 6:12 pm
Mike from Maspeth says:
"Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes..." When their entire point is to get rid of bike lanes! Just about as slimy as all the slum landlords who call themselves the "Rent Stabilization Association."
If they're lying about their intent in their very name, how do they expect anybody to do anything except laugh at their dinosaur tears! I'm sure glad their no longer commissioners of ANYTHING! Can you imagine what went on when they were??? Oh, yeah, we remember...and wonder how the law didn't reach that high. Marty sure is in good company!
Jan. 25, 2011, 6:17 pm
Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
@Marty

How long did it take the Catholic Church to apologize to Galileo? I would add about 50 years to that.
Jan. 25, 2011, 6:17 pm
Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
@Mike

It is nauseating to remember that Weinshall headed the DOT. It's like she channeled Robert Moses in a seance.

It's a shame that Bloomberg originally retained her.
Jan. 25, 2011, 6:19 pm
Tom Rorb from Red Hook says:
Not sure who this Natalie reporter is, but she should get an award for best coverage article of this PPW issue.

Not only do she fairly represent both sides, and got quotes from most leaders on both sides, but she is the only reporter (tv or newspaper) that got ALL the facts correct - including the past job history of the individuals cited.

In all honesty, I come down strongly on the side that this bike lane has drastically improved PPW for the better and if I had my druthers wouldn't want to hear anything about the opposition, especially because the reporting on this issue has been horrible. But this article I can live with. Balanced and completely accurate.

Really, kudos to Natalie and the Brooklyn Papers on this one.
Jan. 25, 2011, 6:26 pm
Spaghetti from Greenpoint says:
Tal I don't think it's this DOT that has a history of fudging data, I think it's the PRESS that has a history of accusing the DOT of fudging data and making false issues out of it. The DOT never represented their screen line counts of cyclists as the TOTAL number of cyclists in the city, just that changes in that number are indicative of changes in overall RATE of cycling, which they are. People just never read that before until now when they started caring. Census data is totally inaccurate because it only asks what people use as their PRIMARY mode of transportation for commuting. So if they take the train 51% of the time and they ride a bike 49% of the time, they are not counted as biking at all. Nor are recreational cyclists or delivery people or numerous others that make up huge shares of the daily cycling population. If you are interested it is actually a very complicated issue:
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/after-criticism-cycling-estimate-revised-downward/
Anyway all this is beside the point. How much the lane is being used is not what's at stake here. The street is safer by NYPD and DMV safety statistics, and it still functions fine for vehicles. Focusing on the exact count of lane users, whether it's 300 or 1500, distracts from the fact that the street is safer and that's what the project was all about in the first place.
Jan. 25, 2011, 6:26 pm
NiBBLe NIMBYs from Park Slope says:
How come the NBBL (Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes) group does not allow people to join their supposed group unless their view that this bike lane is eliminated? And how come their group is plural ("Lanes") when the only path they care about is this one?

NiBBLing NIMBYs. That would have been a far better name.
Jan. 25, 2011, 6:29 pm
Marina from Windsor Terrace says:
BP, please stop providing a forum to the very few opponents of the bike lane, just because their small group includes a couple of former officials! Reality is that people in Park Slope and beyond are very happy with the bike lane and reduced car speeds on PPW, whether they are cyclists, walkers, car drivers or even all three (imagine that?).

Thanks for printing my quote. But why is it the only quote from a supporter of PPW bike lane even though the room was filled with supporters? I particularly liked this one man getting up to tell everyone that he started biking because of PPW bike lane.
Jan. 25, 2011, 6:29 pm
Tom Rorb from Red Hook says:
So because NBBL (who proved they have no transportation expertise by placing their camera for counting in the worst possible spot) got a count about half of what the NYC DOT did...I am wondering if other neighborhoods/people do the same for roads? Can the rest of us then screw up our own data measuring then claim a vast conspiracy in the press?

For example, we all know that the FDR drive carries a lot of cars, every day, morning/noon/night. BUT if you used the "logic" that these NBBL people extol - one could put a camera near where the FDR/highway ends right before the S.I. ferry off ramp, of course you would get a fraction of those that actually use the FDR.

But using their NBBL "logic" the camera counts there should represent an accurate count, right? Thus we should be able to petition the city that since no one uses the FDR they should demolish the entire thing. I mean I guess no one uses the FDR right?

Of course not. It's preposterous. As preposterous as their "logic".
Jan. 25, 2011, 7:41 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Norman Steisel and Iris Weinshall shoudl both move to a retirement community in Bocca already. As for Marty, all the people he thinks he represents are already there.
Jan. 25, 2011, 7:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
On a related note, if you go over to Queens Crap, you can find a number of entries of police precints throughout the city that were found for fudging data as well.
Jan. 25, 2011, 7:56 pm
Frank from Park Slope says:
Don't forget Louise Hainline. She's a disgrace to academia and Brooklyn College.
Jan. 25, 2011, 8:05 pm
Harry from Park Slope says:
We live on Prospect Park West and LOVE the changes the bike lane has brought to the area and our street. Traffic has slowed, cars are stopping for red lights, instead of driving through them, and we can cross the street safely without dodging dozens of speeding cars.
We see the changes from our front window and couldn't be happier!!!
Jan. 25, 2011, 9:13 pm
Mike says:
Please don't argue with Tal. He has admitted in another thread that he has never even seen the new Prospect Park West. He's just an anti-bike troll that pops up whenever people are trying to have a civilized discussion and injects tortured logic.
Jan. 25, 2011, 9:22 pm
Sarah from Park slope says:
the vitriol against people with the temerity to question the need for this bike lane is staggering. Nimbys? Car lovers? Please. These are long time park slope residents who love the neighborhood, and have made great contributions to its institutions, including the library, prospect park alliance, the museum, and the botanic garden. Disagree with them if you want. But there are legitimate questions about this particulr bike lane--the need for it when prospect park is right there, the design, and the impact on the neighborhood. They have the right to ask questions. Others have the right to disagree, even people who dont live in the slope. Just try to be civil.
Jan. 25, 2011, 10:56 pm
Mike from Park Slope says:
Peter kaufman

Re @Tal's comment about RFID........

And you can't prove that the bike bozos, um, sorry, advocates didnt ride back and forth over the bike counters to increase the bike usage numbers.

Your comments are always so fair and balanced just like.....hmm

Keep your nose in BK Hgts.
Jan. 25, 2011, 11:32 pm
Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
Mike,
>And you can't prove that the bike bozos, um, sorry, advocates didnt ride back and forth over the bike counters to increase the bike usage numbers.

First, even if people did that, that is certainly their right - just as if you want to drive your car around the block twenty times.

But that being said, the days the measurements were taken were, as far as I know, not announced by DOT. I certainly didn't know about it.

But what's your beef? Do you have different data - any data? Remember too - that the reason the Community Board requested the lane was two-fold:

1) traffic calming and 2) get bikes off the sidewalk

There is plenty of proof that both criteria have been met. Do you have any, ANY evidence to the contrary?

As for my nose - it goes where it wants. Just like the rest of me.

And you can man up, "Mike" use your full name, and you and your nose are cordially invited to a cup of coffee, right here in Brooklyn Heights.
Jan. 26, 2011, 12:03 am
Peter from Park Slope says:
@sarah - sure, NBBL has 'concerns' about whether this lane is appropriate.

The demand for a bike lane on PPW was brought in front of CB6 *years* ago.

CB6 evaluated the demands, and various proposals, and eventually passed a proposal *requesting* this lane from the DOT.

The DOT evaluated the site, collecting surveys of usage.

After the surveys, the DOT implemented the plan, as supported by CB6, as requested by the residents of CB6.

Following the implementation, DOT collected equivalent data to compare usage after the creation of the lane to prior to lane creation.

The stats show a success across the board. A big component being that almost noone is riding on the PPW sidewalk any more, suggesting that there was significant demand for a proper bike lane on PPW, since riding a bike on PPW was otherwise extremely dangerous.

So what's the problem?
Jan. 26, 2011, 1:23 am
Dickie from PPW says:
I want a seperate lane for walking in clown shoes!
Crazy bikers keep rolling over my clown shoes!
Jan. 26, 2011, 2:27 am
Dickie from PPW says:
Some bearded hipster transplant actually gave me some attitude for walking across the bike lane (he was at least 1/2 a block away from me when I did it!)
Then he cut across PPW and went down the side street the wrong way riding 1/2 of it on the sidewalk! He's lucky I only told him to STFU and didn't biff him on the back of his unwashed oily head!
Jan. 26, 2011, 2:35 am
Steve from PPW says:
Sarah, I'm certainly happy that some of the people who are against the bike lane are also contributors in terms of time and money to other neighborhood institutions.

But the minute they don't want "their" street spoiled by a project that slows down cars and makes it safer for the thousands of people who use PPW and visit the park, I have to question how far their love of and care for the neighborhood extends.

And if they are going to make outrageous claims, ignore data, and use media outlets such as the NY Post to make their case, I think it's fair to start calling them NIMBYs. If they could present legitimate data to back up their claims, if the bike lane was actually shown to create accidents and injuries, I think a lot of people would have to reevaluate their position. But for some reason, NBBL, in the face of overwhelming evidence and support for the project, doesn't want to reevaluate theirs.

I agree that the vitriol could be turned down a bit from some people on both sides, but the need for a traffic calming project on PPW was clear. Cars were speeding before, the are not now. Even if no one ever used the bike lane again, should PPW turn back into a three-lane speedway?

Yes, let's elevate the debate, but please pay attention to what Norman Steisel, Louise Hainline and others are doing and you'll see that NBBL needs to step it up a bit here too.
Jan. 26, 2011, 8:42 am
Ruby7biker from Park Slope says:
Reminds me of folks who support clean energy, yet do not want their views of the sea horizon disturbed by distant windmills. I suppose the ticket blitz crackdown initiative is Bloomberg’­s way of placating a few loud constituen­ts upset by bike lanes. In June 2005 my next door neighbor newlywed pro-bono lawyer Liz Padilla was killed on 5th Ave (Pk Slope) as she swerved her bike into traffic avoiding a swinging trucker’s door. She was riding within the “suggested­” bike lane. Rather than waste inane efforts (licensing­ ticketing­) that discourage bikers, let’s be bold and promote more 24/7 bike-only avenues. The bike-only lanes on 9th Ave & along PPW have substantia­lly decreased all types of accidents – slowed traffic and did not rob car owners of precious parking spots (stat fact). Biking is good for your health and the environmen­t – a no-brainer (biker enemy) Marty Markowitz! Fuhggedabo­utit! Somehow emulating European Social Democracie­s with respect to bike-frien­dliness is seen as un-America­n. We need more dedicated bike-only lanes and avenues. Bedford Ave, Southbound side of 6th Ave in BK – 1st Ave Manhattan for eg.
Jan. 26, 2011, 9:26 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Thank you Sarah for saying that. Some bike lanes have been placed in neighborhoods without any public input on them, they were just forced on them. I don't get why some are so hostile towards NBBL. You guys all had your say, and they had theirs'. Can't we just get along here. I am sorry that the Brooklyn Paper dedicated an article to them, but this is freedom of the press. If you are so unhappy, then send a letter to the editor expressing your concerns about it. Remember that it can go both ways, which is with you and against you. If you want articles that only agree with you then either try to buy out and become the new owner, or run your own website. If you really want media that only agrees with you then go over to Zimbabwe to stage a coup and become the next dictate, so not only can you get the media you like, but you can put as many bike lanes and force people to ride bicycles, because they will have no choice or get killed.
Jan. 26, 2011, 12:51 pm
Pete from lives right next to bike lane says:
Anything that slows down cars speeding on PPW is a good thing.

Traffic tie ups are bad but they are caused by illegally parked ice cream / juice / muffin /dumpling /waffle trucks on the the corner of PPW and GAP. Add in double parked car service cars sitting for hours at a time and you got trouble. Seriously, on the corner, all the time, in front of a hydrant.
Jan. 26, 2011, 1:30 pm
Mike says:
"Some bike lanes have been placed in neighborhoods without any public input on them, they were just forced on them. "

Citation please? Every NYC bike lane project has been presented to the relevant Community Board(s).
Jan. 26, 2011, 4:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I take it you never heard about the community in Williamsburg that protested the bike lanes that was on Bedford Avenue not that long ago. They claimed that it was placed with no input. After they protested, the bike lanes were removed. Many of the store owners didn't like the bike lanes either, because their claim was that they get a lot of customers who come by cars there all the time, and the bike lanes made it difficult for their business. There is an example of an arbitrary bike lane. BTW, I did hear that Bloomberg has stepped on placing a bike lane in the Rockaways after a huge opposition to them according to the NY Post.
Jan. 26, 2011, 8:04 pm
Mike says:
Tal, you really have no idea what you're talking about. There are no stores on that section of Bedford Avenue; it's residential. And that bike lane WAS presented to the relevant Community Boards. The reason it was removed is that Bloomberg cut a deal with the Hasidim for their votes. Anyway, it wasn't an "arbitrary" bike lane. It was a direct connection from Brooklyn's longest bike lane (Bedford Avenue) to the Williamsburg Bridge. It went away because of a backroom deal, not because it was not needed or not used.

I don't even know what "stepped on placing a bike lane" means, but it's clear you are misrepresenting that article about the Rockaways.

Try to get your facts straight next time, OK?
Jan. 26, 2011, 8:08 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
The Hasidim did not like the idea that a bike lane would infringe on their right to double park.
Jan. 26, 2011, 8:33 pm
Tla Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, the original article was written in the City Room. If you want to know what really happened, read that. The fact that the Hassidic Jews were protesting that lane was an example of community opposition. Their claim was that there was no input for it. Even in the Rockaways, Bloomberg admitted that there wasn't enough input. I meant to say that he was stepping back, but this is what happens when you type fast and sometimes forget some words. Either way, I do have the link for that article, and it shows that populism does rule over elitism.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/bloomberg_backpedals_wecDyD1hzqLftENgkEenbM
Jan. 26, 2011, 9:16 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
That last comment was by me, I spelled my first name wrong by accident.
Jan. 26, 2011, 9:18 pm
Mike says:
The Satmar Hasidim have a lot of problems. Their real issue was scantily clad female bicyclists in the summer. That's hardly an example of how to run a government.

I saw the Post article that you misquoted, thanks.

Bike lanes are anything but "elitist". They let people get around town safely and cheaply. What's elitist is driving in New York instead of taking the train, riding a bike, or walking.
Jan. 26, 2011, 11:28 pm
Marty Barfowitz from Outer Borough says:
Tal,

What's awesome about you is that you have so many things to say, yet you have virtually no idea what you are talking about.
Jan. 26, 2011, 11:31 pm
Steve from left field says:
You are of course aware that ALL the members of any Brooklyn community board are appointed by the Boro President(some are recommended by the local city council member but all are appointed by the BP...) lets see what happens in April when the terms of about half the members are up....and see if Marty removes some of them....which is his right.
Jan. 27, 2011, 10:05 am
Steve from PPW says:
Good point, other Steve.

I think, however, that if Marty does that there will be a huge outcry from the community. He can remove a few community board members, but it's going to be hard to silence the thousands of people in the neighborhoods who support these projects. That's populism. Elitism is a multi-millionaire former sanitation head and the wife of a US senator ignoring the wishes of an overwhelming majority of their neighbors.

Ignore Tal. Just as I would not expect to be listened to if I posted a bunch of baloney on the Pleasantville Paper, I don't expect anyone to listen to him here.
Jan. 27, 2011, 3:13 pm
sarah from park slope says:
I am so tired of reading all the bashing of people who oppose this bike lane. These are people who live here, have invested time and resources to transform this neighborhood to the place you all enjoy. Iris Weinshall got the roads of this city working in the days following the september 11th attacks. Whenever there was a blizzard on her watch, she did what had to be done. That's what transportation commissioners do---they step up to the plate, and work for EVERYONE who uses our roads. Sadik Khan dropped the ball big time after the last blizzard----and then blamed the police commissioner for her own failures. Our roads are filled with potholes. And her performance at the city council hearing on bike lanes --supposedly her big issue--was pathetic. Bike lanes are great--but they are used by a small percentage of the population, and only on a seasonal basis.
What exactly have you done for this community? Ridden your bike through it? As I said before, reasonable minds can differ on the need for a bike lane on a street that is steps away from a huge park. Whatever your views, keep it civil.
Jan. 27, 2011, 7:47 pm
mike gambino from park slope says:
yo peter kaufman,

you gotta problem wit me? listen to me - question authority; don't just axcept the figores because DOT sez so; let's look like at the info; seez what it says, think abouts it and then decides

Tals right; don't be a whiny weiny; yous'll have yor say

seriously, r-e-l-a-x; democracy takes time; don't rush to judgment; let's get this right; that's what responsible citizens should demand of their government
Jan. 27, 2011, 8:12 pm
Mike says:
"That's what transportation commissioners do---they step up to the plate, and work for EVERYONE who uses our roads."

That's exactly what Sadik-Khan has started to do: pay attention to the majority of New Yorkers who *don't* drive. Weinshall never did while she was commissioner; it's a tragedy and a shame that her term was devoted only to moving more cars faster, in the densest city in the country.

Sarah, you are willfully confusing the issue. This is not just (or even primarily) a bike lane project. It was requested by the Community Board for *traffic calming*. The bike path is a great use of the leftover space, but it's not the primary motivation here.
Jan. 27, 2011, 9:54 pm
Mike Gambino from SI says:
So Mike immediately above,

Are you saying the DOT commmissioner should not be concerned with issues affecting vehicular traffic?

Because of JSK, people died during the blizzard. And not because the bike-ambulances could not get to those in need in time. Kidding

But don't we need to balance everyone's interests/needs?
Jan. 27, 2011, 10:49 pm
Mike Gambino from SI says:
And a protected bike lane does not calm traffic. It's one way to use as Mike above says the "leftover space". But not the only way.

And CB6 never asked for a protected bike lane.
Jan. 27, 2011, 10:57 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Thank you again Sarah for that comment. To add to that, it's not just here where I am hearing cyclists getting so defensive, I also found this the case in the City Room of the NY Times as well, and it's pretty much by some of the same who are here. All I ask to some of you cyclists is on why this issue drives some of you to such hostilities? Why is it whenever we ask were JSK got her data, some of you rushed to her defense rather than answered it? Why do you make such personal attacks on NBBL or even some of us here who find the bike lane a bad idea? This sort of reminds me of those who attacked DDDB on the Atlantic Yards and some wished them dead. JSK has to understand that she has to cater to all of those who use the road, not just a few, because that is her jobs as head of the DOT, so yes, she does need to fix the potholes when they are needed to be fixed. Honestly, I find the bike lane by PPW to be just as unecessary when Prospect Park itslef is nearby just as the one on CPW where Central Park is nearby. Another thing is that sometimes traffic calming only works short term, but not long term, so I am trying to think of what can work for decades to come rather than just right now.
Jan. 27, 2011, 11:27 pm
Mike says:
Mike 10:49: of course not. You aren't seriously placing all or a majority of the blame for the blizzard response on JSK, are you? It's Sanitation that plows (or doesn't), not DOT. She does make a convenient scapegoat for those opposed to livable streets, though. And yes: we need to balance everyone's needs. A street with too many car lanes for the extant car traffic, and no safe bike route, doesn't do so.

Mike 10:57: Actually, CB2 asked for a bike lane in June 2007, and said DOT should "study" whether it should be a protected bike lane. Go back and look at the minutes. They're online.

Tal: I assume your solution of "what can work for decades" involves giving more and more public space to cars, just like every other policy you ever argue for. That's a 1950s mindset, and is no longer appropriate for New York.
Jan. 27, 2011, 11:36 pm
Mike says:
"CB2" should read "CB6" in the above. Sorry.
Jan. 27, 2011, 11:39 pm
Mike says:
Also, Tal has previously admitted here that he has never even seen the new Prospect Park West, so I think we're justified in completely ignoring his uninformed, purely ideology-based opinions.
Jan. 27, 2011, 11:59 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, while I may not have been to PPW after the bike lane was placed there, I have been to CPW and seen the bike lane there. That is just as much the same, because it to is next to a park, which happens to be a Central Park. Again, why does CPW need a bike lane let alone the nearby streets when Central Park is right there? Another reason I say that it's comparable is because while Central Park is a major park for Manhattan, Prospect Park is a major park for Brooklyn, so there are many similarties they share.
Jan. 28, 2011, 8:35 am
Sarah from Park Slope says:
Mike:--I'm not "confusing" any issue, willfully or in any other way. If all DOT wanted to do was calm traffic, I have to question their judgment in doing so by dramatically changing a street to achieve that end. Traffic calming could be accomplished by changing the timing of the lights, speed bumps, etc. Putting in a redundant bike lane, which requires special equipment to plow, is a waste of transportation resources.
As for the current commissioner, she in conjunction with the sanitation commissioner made the disastrous decision not to declare a snow emergency. She should accept that responsibility, rather than blame the police commissioner.
Jan. 28, 2011, 10:29 am
Mike says:
Tal, the CPW bike lane is completely and utterly different from the PPW bike lane, as the two streets are completely and utterly different. You have no credibility on this issue.

Sarah, do you have any idea how loud the drivers would be complaining if there were dozens of speed bumps now on PPW? The uproar would be deafening. I'm amazed you think that wouldn't be "dramatically changing" the street, but this is! Removing a lane is a proven method of traffic calming, and it has worked here! And it doesn't require special equipment to plow. Normal snowplows fit, as do the ones that Prospect Park uses to plow pedestrian walkways.
Jan. 28, 2011, 2:08 pm
Steve from PPW says:
The DOT, as part of the PPW redesign, re-timed the lights. Re-timing the lights alone doesn't work, because drivers speed to beat whatever lights the can before ultimately being stopped by a red they can't beat. That's why travel times on PPW remain unchanged before and after the street redesign: the DOT retimed the lights so that cars don't have to race to catch lights. They can travel at a more even, predictable speed.

Sarah, you make some good points, but please do a little more research on this subject. There's a lot available online that would clear up the questions and concerns you have.

Responsible citizens have a responsibility to be as informed as possible.
Jan. 28, 2011, 3:46 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Steve, how many drivers run red lights compared to cyclists? I wouldn't be surprised if that ratio has shown that cyclists do it more. As a registered motorist in NY, I have never ran a red light, and waited until it changed. However, I have been seeing cyclists do this pretty much all the time and they don't even slow down. BTW, it's illegal to run a red light even if the intersection is clear. If cars can't do it, why should this be allowed for bicycles? Are they more special than cars? Don't give me that you are saving the earth by riding them, because that won't answer my questions. I do think that timing traffic lights and crosswalk signals is a better idea for traffic calming rather than placing bike lanes, and that won't recquire anyone being inconvienced, not to mention that it can be done faster and will cost less compared to placing bike lanes.
Jan. 28, 2011, 7:03 pm
Steve from PPW says:
According to a 2000 report by Alan Hevesi, cars run 1.23 million red lights in New York City every workday. I'm not sure how that number has changed in 10 years, even if that number has gone down by 50%, you'd still have more cars running red lights in NYC than there are bike commuters on a typical morning.

If you read what I wrote, I said that all that retiming lights does is cause drivers to go faster so they can make more greens, or beat yellows before they turn red. I was not saying that re-timing red lights causes cars to RUN red lights. They merely go faster to make as many greens as they can. Take a taxi ride with an experienced cabbie and that's clear. Re-timing traffic signals is fine, but it has to be done in conjunction with other methods, including street reconfiguration, neck extensions, bulb build-outs, etc. in order to get drivers to comply with the speed limit.

I never said bikes should run red lights, or are more special than cars, so I'm not sure why you are bringing it up. You're trying to provoke a fight, but I'm not taking the bait.

I don't run lights myself, and yield to pedestrians even when I have the green, and wish more people would obey the law, no matter what mode of transportation they use. A biker caught running a red light should get a ticket, no question. No argument here, even though you're clearly enjoy them.

I also don't ride my bike because I think I'm "saving the earth." Never said that either. I ride because a lot of the time it's faster, cheaper, and more convenient than other options. Sometimes I drive, sometimes I walk, sometimes I take the bus or subway. Depends on a lot of factors.

I'm not quite sure why you feel the need to pick a fight here with people who, in some cases, might agree with you. Instead you set people up by accusing them of things they didn't say. It's sad. You don't have questions. You have statements that end with question marks.

Please, ask questions, do some research, and let's have an informed debate. It's clear you enjoy trolling these debates, which is your right, but the big question is why? It's kind of sad, but I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.
Jan. 28, 2011, 7:36 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Steve, first off, I am not trying to pick a fight with anyone here. If you actually look at my comments, I am not even forcing anyone to agree with me, that's actually the reverse. All I have been stating was my view that I am entitled to. That is NOT trolling, and calling someone for that just because they happen to disagree is highly uncalled for. You may not say that bicycles are more superior than cars are, but I have seen online many others, especially those on Streetsblog who have said that. I am not saying that cars are more superior than bicycles either, but many have assumed that without even showing proof. Of course we all have our prefrences to what we like to use. BTW, I do support retiming of traffic lights, and I mentioned that in my last comment. The reason I ask the question is because I have seen those who support the bike lanes acting very defensive and even slander NBBL just for having their say when they had theirs'. The reason why I drive a lot is because I live in a part of my town where it's almost impossible to get around without a car, not to mention there are a number of hills and sloped roads making it hard to walk, so I have to drive. Overall, I don't mind those that disagree with me, it's those that have attacked me I have issues with.
Jan. 28, 2011, 7:57 pm
Jack from Bklyn says:
Tal, come to Park Slope. It's not hard to get around without a car.
Jan. 29, 2011, 10:54 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Jack, I have been to Park Slope a number of times not that long ago, just not after the bike lane was placed on PPW. A number of events involving the Atlantic Yards actually have broughten me to that neighborhood a number of times. For the record, I have been here, so it's not like this would be my first time in my life. If you don't think I have ever been to Park Slope, then you should ask Eric McClure, because he knows me well from the Atlantic Yards events, and has seen me there.
Jan. 29, 2011, 4:58 pm
Jack from Bklyn says:
Random comment for Tal to respond to. Seems he'll respond to anything comment which he's mentioned.

Balloons. Dog food. Tal Barzilai. Legos. Politics.
Jan. 29, 2011, 5:53 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just cut it out already, and that was hardly funny. If anything, that just shows how childish you are Jack. For the record, I have been to numerous places throughout Brooklyn, and much of that had to do with going to events invovling the Atlantic Yards. Even if I put that aside, it still doesn't take a special insider to know what a boondoggle the bike lanes are. I thank for NBBL for demanding JSK gives the real truth and just something that only shows the effects rather than the causes. On a side note, I did read about something about bicycle stats on the Gothamist, and it turns out someone requested a FIOL from the DOT, and found out that the numbers were really miniscule. Perhaps, NBBL should do a FIOL on the PPW bike lane and see the real numbers rather than ones that JSK and Bloomberg are rambling that so many are so gullible to believe.
Jan. 29, 2011, 7:18 pm
mike from GP says:
Ok, this "debate" is done.

Fin.
Jan. 30, 2011, 1:10 am
Mike says:
"have broughten me"

wow
Jan. 30, 2011, 10:29 am
Jack from Bklyn says:
Amazing but not surprising. Tal Barzilai took the bait. Will he take this one?
Jan. 30, 2011, 5:34 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just today I met with Kevin Walsh, and he agrees with me that cyclists should follow the rules. I wouldn't be surprised if he was for the crackdown or even licensing of bicycles. On Forgotten NY, he has been pretty pessimistic on bike lanes especially when cyclists having been using them as if it was a get of jail free card. Outside the closed minded places of Streetsblog, Transportation Alternatives, Critical Mass, or any other website promoting radical cyclists, people actually agree with me rather than you. If you have proof that JSK was not lying, then actually show it rather than acting defensive or even getting hostile on it. Everytime I or anyone else here who has a question on it, you guys start resorting to personal attacks rather than answering it. I have a saying as well, "Personal attacks are the path of the weak and cowarldy in which they are the true trolls and attackers."
Jan. 30, 2011, 7:59 pm
Mike says:
Kevin Walsh has a website. A great website, even. That certainly doesn't make him an expert on transportation policy. For you to cite him as proof that you're right is just a symptom of your fundamental disconnect from ordinary logic.

The burden of the proof is on those who say JSK *is* lying, not those who say she isn't. Duh.

Your saying is so catchy. Why don't you sell it on coffee mugs or t-shirts? You'd make millions.
Jan. 30, 2011, 9 pm
Jack from Bkly says:
Tal? Your thoughts?
Jan. 30, 2011, 9:57 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, I have seen others online state why the bike lane is not needed either. If you go over to Brownstoner on that subject, there was someone, whose name I will not say here, that summed it up very well. He is right about saying that there is Prospect Park nearby, and that it's apples and oranges to compare NYC to any European city. Also, if one needs to ride up north, there are many neighboring avenues for that. If you really love those places so much, then move there rather than staying here. BTW, the person that said that stuff actually rides a bicycle himself, and claims that there is no need for bike lanes especially because he has been riding a lot without them, which sort of makes me think why should we have them when the early cyclists didn't need them. Perhaps, the reason is because it's a good way to help Bloomberg promote congestion pricing by creating the very gridlock itself. I still don't get how this is traffic calming when truncating the traffic lanes actually creates far more traffic when the point of it was to have less traffic. One other thing, there are many neighborhoods, who do need parking on their major avenues and streets, because it's good for retail and other merchants, which is why there were so many complaints from them on the Columbus Avenue bike lane.
Jan. 31, 2011, 12:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, I have seen others online state why the bike lane is not needed either. If you go over to Brownstoner on that subject, there was someone, whose name I will not say here, that summed it up very well. He is right about saying that there is Prospect Park nearby, and that it's apples and oranges to compare NYC to any European city. Also, if one needs to ride up north, there are many neighboring avenues for that. If you really love those places so much, then move there rather than staying here. BTW, the person that said that stuff actually rides a bicycle himself, and claims that there is no need for bike lanes especially because he has been riding a lot without them, which sort of makes me think why should we have them when the early cyclists didn't need them. Perhaps, the reason is because it's a good way to help Bloomberg promote congestion pricing by creating the very gridlock itself. I still don't get how this is traffic calming when truncating the traffic lanes actually creates far more traffic when the point of it was to have less traffic. One other thing, there are many neighborhoods, who do need parking on their major avenues and streets, because it's good for retail and other merchants, which is why there were so many complaints from them on the Columbus Avenue bike lane.
Jan. 31, 2011, 12:38 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Taz, The point of traffic calming is not to have less traffic, but to have calmer traffic. That objective has been achieved on PPW.
Jan. 31, 2011, 4:11 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Since I have Europe on my mind right now, I might as well get that out right now. The reason why in some places like Amsterdam or even Copenhagen have it better with bicycles is mainly because they are not as big as NYC is, and their attitude is much more different. BTW, they do follow traffic laws there as recquired by law, which I can't get why they can't do it here. The reason why copying models after European cities isn't good for NYC, especially in just Manhattan alone, is because there just isn't the space for it in most areas. As I recall, Paris almost lost a lot of longtime businesses for not being able to afford the places they were working in their CBD because of taking away parking spaces. After hearing that, the council there agreed to place back parking as they regained their revenues from it. Apparently, parking is needed even in major parts of a city, and that's including Europe. As a matter of fact, ever since Boris Johnson got elected as the new mayor of London, he is working on getting rid of congestion pricing, which was highly opposed by the people as it was here. As it turns out, cars and even trucks are needed for cities especially when they can't just grow their own food. On a side note, please spell my name right, and you can just copy and paste it.
Jan. 31, 2011, 5:26 pm
Mike says:
Wow, some random Brownstoner commenter doesn't like something? That must mean it's objectively terrible!!!!1!!
Jan. 31, 2011, 5:40 pm
Steve from PPW says:
You mean the Boris Johnson for whom the bike share program is nicknamed? Boris bikes?

Tai Borzilai, you are amazing.
Jan. 31, 2011, 9:02 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, please read his comments, and I will give you the link if you haven't already found, because he stated it very well.

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2011/01/prospect_park_w_2.php

Steve, I can't take you seriously especially if you keep making fun of my name.
Jan. 31, 2011, 9:22 pm
Mike says:
I'm not going to go reading 130 comments to find the one you're talking about. Again, one person saying something doesn't make it true.

I'm sure Steve doesn't mind if you don't take him seriously. After all, no one but yourself takes you seriously.
Jan. 31, 2011, 9:27 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal, are you saying that NYC should not follow the European model for bike lanes because "they do follow traffic laws there as recquired by law, which I can't get why they can't do it here."?

NOBODY follows traffic rules in NYC. Every day I walk my kids to school in Park Slope and observe the chaos. Illegal u-turns and double parking is the norm in front of the school. Talking and texting while driving is common and don't get me started on jay walking.

So lets get rid of the bike lanes and the car lanes and the walking lanes since nobody uses them correctly. Lets just put the grass back.
Feb. 1, 2011, 6:02 am
Jack from Bklyn says:
Guys, I found a comment on Gothamist.com from 1999 from bikeh8tr68 who totally confirms everything Talli says.
Feb. 1, 2011, 8:34 am
Mike says:
Well, in that case, I'm convinced!
Feb. 1, 2011, 10:36 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, I am not selective on enforcement. I do support enforcement on all of the above, because they are all illegal by law. The problem is that they are not enoforced on a daily basis, and some of you cry foul when you probably recieve fines for not following the laws. I think you only like it as long as it's not your kind. For the record, I have called out reckless drivers a lot, but I hardly hear any of you calling out radical cyclists, especially Critical Mass, which believes that rules are for losers and makes them part of the system. On a side note, I don't need anyone's approval especially since I am a nerdy leftist, and according to Michael Moore, some of your statements aimed at me makes you what he calls a wacko attacko.
Feb. 1, 2011, 7:13 pm
Mike says:
"On a side note, I don't need anyone's approval especially since I am a nerdy leftist, and according to Michael Moore, some of your statements aimed at me makes you what he calls a wacko attacko."

I just wanted to see that again. My god.
Feb. 1, 2011, 10:35 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, all I kindly ask you is why are you so defensive on this bike lane and go so hostile on the opposition? It isn't just me you attacked, it's also others here who see it as a bad idea. Just because you support it and thing others are wrong, doesn't mean that you have the right to outweigh everyone else. You really do need to put down that Haterade you are drinking and start taking some chill pills. For the record, I am a liberal in more ways than you think, and keep it mind it was liberal politicians that were the most vocal against congestion pricing, which shows that this wasn't just one side of the political spectrum here. On a side note, you should attend that event on the future of electric cars and reducing the dependence on foreign oil on March 3 over at 4 Times Square, and click below for the link.

http://www.boomset.com/apps/eventpage/83
Feb. 2, 2011, 7:41 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal, Why do you care about the bike lane? You have said that you are an infrequent visitor to Park Slope. But if you were here everyday you would realize that you don't need a car (gas or electric) if you live here. Most Park Slope residents don't own a car and don't need one. We take the subway or walk or ride a bike.

Why are you commenting at all?
Feb. 3, 2011, 7:57 am
Mike says:
To be a troll. Plain and simple.

And because he can't stand when anyone anywhere on the internet disagrees with his god-given truth.
Feb. 3, 2011, 9:24 am
Jack from Bklyn says:
Make sure you spell his name right.
Feb. 3, 2011, 10:19 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
You guys still yet to answer my questions, and rather than answering it, you all go on the all out defensive. The reason I have been against bike lanes is mainly due to the fact that they make streets thinner for vehicular traffic hence making it go from bad to worse. I remember reading such comments in the City Room about those living all over the city talking about they used to never have actual traffic on their streets until after the bike lanes were placed. The way you guys keep acting so defensive almost makes me think that you work for either Bloomberg or JSK otherwise, you wouldn't be rushing to such a defense. You guys almost remind me of the paid supporters of the Atlantic Yards who always come up to the defense of Ratner everytime you hear criticism and shot non-believer alert by acting that like this.
Feb. 3, 2011, 5:43 pm
Mike says:
For Tal, everything is about moving cars. Everything. He's like Robert Moses Jr. Actual Brooklynites don't live that way. We want quality of life in our neighborhoods. That's why we support traffic calming and bike lanes.
Feb. 3, 2011, 8:43 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Yes Tal, we want thinner streets and we want cars to go slower on them. That is what traffic calming does.
Feb. 3, 2011, 8:55 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
and we are defensive because we live here. and this is something that is making our neighbored BETTER.
Feb. 4, 2011, 6:28 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Once again, you guys had your say on this, and let others have theirs'. I may not live in the area, but the members of NBBL do, and as Sarah already mentioned, they have done more for the community than any of you put together. Either way, it doesn't take a special insider to know what a boondoggle is. Saying that it's only locals who state their view is another reminder of the paid supporters for the Atlantic Yards project, because I have been to those hearings, and the kept saying that they were born and raised in Brooklyn all their lives while slandering the other side by calling them transplanted or nothing but outsiders, which is sort of what you are doing to me right now. If you are not like them, then you will invert what you just said towards me and apologize for making such a personal attack. Another thing is that you remind me of the sexists who hate WNBA and don't just hate the league, but also make attacks on the players and even fans. As for traffic calming, it should be about preventing gridlocks, not creating them, and I find these ideas to be more short term than long term.
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:17 am
Mike says:
It's not a personal attack to say that someone who has never even seen this project has no place commenting on it on a blog. Let alone doing so repeatedly.

Period. Full stop.

Please drop the victim complex, Tal.

Also, your last sentence makes no sense whatsoever.
Feb. 4, 2011, 4:26 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, I am not trying to deny anyone else from having their say nor am I saying who can post here and who can't, which is what you are doing. I didn't make personal attacks on the other side, which is what you did to the members of NBBL and anyone else here who has opposed this besides me. If you really think that I am wasting my time, then why are you giving me the time of day? Why is that I can't just state my view on this without being attacked like that? I have commented on other subjects here and I have not been denied to comment just because of where I am from, so cut it out. If anyone here is trolling, then it's you because you are the one making the personal attacks here whenever there is someone like me to disagree with you. If you can't stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen.
Feb. 4, 2011, 6:48 pm
Mike says:
Tal, please. It's not a personal attack to say that you have nothing useful to say here -- you've proved that yourself, over and over and OVER again. Please stop spouting your tortured logic over and over again. Get a hobby that isn't torturing people who live 50 miles away and don't want their streets to serve only the cars that you love so much.
Feb. 4, 2011, 7:04 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal, of course you have a right to speak. I have a right to tell them how to grow rice in China. But I don't, because I don't know anything about growing rice or China.

So we don't want or need wider streets. We need and want calmer streets. We got it.
Feb. 4, 2011, 8:21 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I just heard that NBBL just filed for a lawsuit over this bike lane, and I wish them luck for this.
Feb. 5, 2011, 4:38 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal, do you have to cross a 3 lane freeway to get to a park where you live. I would not wish that on you, why do you wish it on us.
Feb. 5, 2011, 5:53 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
If you looked both ways rather than just run across, you wouldn't have that problem to begin with. Running in the streets gives them less time to even know that you are comming, which is why jaywalkers have been hit in the first place. However, there is a big difference between knowing when a car or any other motor vehicle is comming compared to a bicycle. At least motorists go the correct way of traffic, while cyclists don't in which we would know how they are comming. As for saying about a park, I don't live near one that has three lanes, but I still find that jaywalking is a bad idea in itself and placing the pedestrian into harm's way.
Feb. 5, 2011, 10:13 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal, It is clear to me that you don't know what it is like on PPW, other than what you have seen from your car window.
Feb. 6, 2011, 4:49 am
Mike says:
Tal has admitted that he has never even been to this location since the traffic calming project was installed. His comments are simply not credible. Let's stop giving him the dignity of replying to his tortured logic.
Feb. 6, 2011, 6:08 pm
Jeff from windsor terrace says:
This Norman Stiesel is the same guy who pays hookers $15, right? He's a disgrace to public service.
Feb. 18, 2011, 9:08 pm

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