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Tow-tally unfair! City wrongfully hauls cars in another PPW bike lane-related controversy

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The city wrongfully towed a slew of cars on Prospect Park West after installing a bizarre “No Standing” sign that confused everyone — including parking cops who were deployed to maintain order on the world’s most-controversial roadway.

The signs in question reads, “No Standing, 8 am–10 pm, April to October” — and they were installed last month to prevent warm-weather standing in drop-off zones near the Ninth and 11th street entrances.

Traffic enforcement officers assumed the sign banned standing through October and have been towing cars since the first of the month. But the city now says that the restriction expires on Oct. 1 — and drivers are irked that they have to deal with towing expenses and hassles.

“It’s just weird,” said neighbor and driver Kathryn Krase. “It’s like, why October?”

A Department of Transportation spokeswoman said that the four-space strip near Ninth Street and the two-space zone at 11th Street were installed at the community’s request to create a speedy drop-off-pick-up area “during peak use of the park.”

It hasn’t gone quite so smoothly: Last week, The Brooklyn Paper witnessed at vehicle at the location being towed; Krase also watched a truck haul away a car parked directly under the sign; and at least two more were towed on Thursday.

Parking on the busy-but-scenic road became even harder after the city installed its controversial bike lane — a move that critics said should have made the Department of Transportation more sensitive the ramifications of its actions.

“Parking is one of the biggest problems in this neighborho­od,” Krase said. “And this just calls attention to the fact that the city is not aware of how these things effect the community.”

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Reader Feedback

Mike says:
This is dumb. "Until October" clearly means until the end of October. Where's the controversy -- other than drivers being selfish and whiny?!
Oct. 10, 2011, 1:04 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Can't wait until Bike Enforcement Week!
Oct. 10, 2011, 1:10 pm
UmadBro? from wat says:
Car drivers in this city are generally overbearing, pompous and over weight. These people seem to think they are above using public transportation and worse, they think they entitled to special treatment. In a city with a population as large as ours, people who own cars should be taxed based on the emissions released from their vehicle. The money gathered from these taxes should go to improving public transportation infrastructure.
Oct. 10, 2011, 1:57 pm
ty from pps says:
Actually parking got easier... the physical act of parking isn't as death-defying. Moving from the left lane to the right, or vice versa, is less likely to be suddenly interrupted by someone driving 70 mph.

And let's not forget the TOTAL loss of parking was something like 6 or 8 spots. Jeesh.
PARKING is one one of the biggest problems in the neighborhood?! REALLY?! Christ on a cracker.

Natalie -- What is your damage?! Hersh, really? This constant needling and constant revisiting of the supposed "controversy" doesn't register in your little head?
Oct. 10, 2011, 3:26 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
, people who own cars should be taxed based on the emissions released from their vehicle. The money gathered from these taxes should go to improving public transportation infrastructure."

They are Bro - cars are charged by their weight for registration, hence, amount of emissions, it would be lovely if that money went into infrastructure AS IT IS SUPPOSED to, but the piggies at the trough grab money for anyything else they can get their hands on, and always spend more then they have.
Oct. 10, 2011, 4:32 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
While they're at it, how about towing the food trucks that park illegally in the No Standing zone on PPW across from the greenmarket all day Saturday?
Oct. 10, 2011, 4:36 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
One more thing -- how is this "another PPW bike lane-related controversy?" The no-standing zones are there to facilitate pick-ups and drop-offs at the park, and have NOTHING to do with the bike path.

"Another Celebrate Brooklyn-related controversy?" OK. "Another little league baseball-related controversy?" Could be. "Another Prospect Park illegal barbecuing-related controversy?" I could see that. But bike lane? Nope, no way.

But that doesn't sell these free newspapers, does it?
Oct. 10, 2011, 4:39 pm
D from Slope says:
Gersh, an honest question, and I'd love it if you could really answer.

Were you kidding when you wrote this editorial?

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/34/34/34_34_editorial.html
Oct. 10, 2011, 6:49 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Signs like this should be abolished. If you asked me, they are just to prevent others from parking there. There are similar signs like this in the Rockaways, and most of the residents there have driveways. Why should they prevent visitors from parking on the streets if they are not parking there to begin with? Another one goes in Forest Hills Gardens where also most of the residents have driveways or garages. Trying to make streets into gated communities is a bad idea for the city, not a good idea. I was never for residential parking permits in the first place. What is the real reason a sign like this is needed? Is it because the bike zealouts stormed the office of the DOT for it? I thank Natalie O'Neill for covering this, and she deserves something for exposing this story.
Oct. 10, 2011, 7:17 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- The majority of your comment is indecipherable. However, to answer you straight-forward question -- What is the real reason for [these No Standing] signs?

These are LOADING and UNLOADING zones specifically for park-goers. For the summer peak periods. To prevent double-parking and blocking the roads. There are MANY MANY MANY more people coming to the park than there is parking nearby. There's no secret parking garage there. Families drop off their stuff and family members... then the driver parks their car farther away.

Get it?

As for your "thanks" to O'Neil... she's just being sensationalist again. She could have covered this SAME story without making it into a bike lane thing... because, ya know why? Because it has NOTHING to do with the bike lane.
Oct. 10, 2011, 7:38 pm
Media Critic from Brooklyn says:
Gersh, Natalie, Rupert Murdoch and everyone else at the Brooklyn Paper:

There was a time when the Brooklyn Paper was a real part of our community. The Brooklyn Paper helped to inform and educate our community and it served as a kind of institutional memory for our neighborhoods. In those days -- before Rupert Murdoch bought the paper and everything changed -- the Brooklyn Paper would provided valuable context and inside information in a story like this. Sadly, that time is long past.

In the old says, Gersh's reporter would have explained why the community requested this short-term drop-off zone -- because there's lots of demand for drop-offs near the park and there's always been lots of double-parking, particularly near the Celebrate Brooklyn band-shell and particularly since the installation of the bike lane. The new parking regulation, requested by CB6, gives motorists a clear curb-side spot where they can do their pick-ups and drop-offs. In the old days, the Brooklyn Paper's reporter would have sought out a community member -- there are many of us -- who requested the drop-off zones and are hoping they will work.

Sadly, in the post-Rupert Murdoch Brooklyn Paper, this information is never included. Instead, we get some simple-minded attempt to gin up controversy. We get yet another bogus City vs. The Community story. We get more hatred and angst ginned up against a rather innocuous and much-liked bike lane. We get this:

"Parking on the busy-but-scenic road became even harder after the city installed its controversial bike lane."

Why, Natalie, would you even include this paragraph? It's just raw editorializing and propaganda. It's not factually correct. Parking a car in Park Slope was difficult and inconvenient before the bike lane. There's been no change as far as that goes. And the bike lane was never "controversial." That's just your opinion. The redesign of PPW sailed through numerous Community Board votes and resolutions and was the result of years of lobbying and community process -- much of which was covered here in the pre-Rupert Brooklyn Paper.

The bike lane was never controversial. What *was* controversial was an utterly bogus, frivolous and divisive law suit filed by a small number of wealthy, politically-connected residents who chose to sue their community rather than work within it.

Anyway... Way to keep the bike lane hate flowing, Gersh. It's crappy for the community but I'm sure it's great for pageviews, so what the heck, right? We know what your priorities are.
Oct. 10, 2011, 7:38 pm
S from PPW says:
"Parking is one of the biggest problems in this neighborhood,” Krase said.

Really? Not the string of unsolved sexual assaults? Not unemployment, a lack of affordable housing, or overcrowded schools?

Only a driver would be so selfish. Until they start obeying the law and reading signs, we should not make any more accommodations for them.

Natalie and Gersh, I really do believe you have made one immoral choice after the next in continuing to generate controversy to inflate your page views. It's sad, sick, and truly reprehensible. Shame on you both.
Oct. 10, 2011, 8:30 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, why are signs like this even necessary? It's bad enough that a lane was taken away thanks to you and your bike zealout friends on forcing it down everyone else's throats. Now, parking has been taken away from that, which will now make it harder and cause problems elsewhere. Also, why does it has to be from 8 AM to 10 PM when most that have red and white signs that end at either 6 or 7 PM. Pretty much, unless someone is parking overnight, that block will be unused for the entire day. One other thing, quit attacking Natalie, because you had your say, so let her have her's. Why do you hate her so much anyway? Did she dump you one time or just give you bad tasting lemonade? Please don't ask me what that means, because you would feel better if you didn't.
Oct. 10, 2011, 10:41 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal, These loading zones have NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BIKE LANE. How is this so friggin' hard to understand?! These are for the PARK, not to make the bike lane work. Do you get it? And, again, these loading zones were asked for by the community.

The issue here has NOTHING to do with the zones. The community (ya know the ones that actually live in Brooklyn, unlike you) asked for them. It has to do with the metermaids and towing companies not being on the same page as the law. THIS is an issue. But, let me say it one more time, it's NOT an issue that has anything whatsoever to do with the bike lane.
Oct. 10, 2011, 11:02 pm
ty from pps says:
By the way, this is a NEWSPAPER. Natalie O'Neill doesn't "have a say" -- she is supposed to be guided by journalistic ethics. However, Media Critic described nicely why this isn't the case and why this paper is no longer serving the community. It only serves to create friction and anger. Very little reporting takes place when Natalie O'Neill takes to her computer.

She should be guided by the question, "How do I present this story so it's most useful to my community?"

Instead, she seems to always start with "How can I be as divisive, damaging and inflammatory as possible... while perhaps, if I have time, throwing a few vaguely factual things in the mix?"
Oct. 10, 2011, 11:07 pm
Joe from Bay Ridge says:
What does this have to do with the bike lane? Why is this paper trying to make a controversy around bikes when this story has NOTHING to do with bikes.
Oct. 10, 2011, 11:24 pm
Mike says:
Don't argue with an autistic troll who lives in his parents' basement. It just wastes time.
Oct. 10, 2011, 11:29 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
First of all it is still October, just because some cops are confused does not mean this is controversial.

But this loading zone has nothing to do with the bike lane. It was put there so people could unload their stuff so they can enjoy the park with out double parking.
Oct. 11, 2011, 5:25 am
mrbk33 says:
Tal, you forgot manhattan beach Brooklyn same type of signs
Oct. 11, 2011, 6:14 am
Ugh from Unpleasantville says:
Worst newspaper ever.
Oct. 11, 2011, 8:23 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, cut out the personal attacks. I have not attacked you so I don't appreceate the constant abuse. For the record, I don't have autism although I am not a troll who does live in his parents' basement. These slanderous attacks against me only proove my point that Streetsblogger bike zealouts are really behind this unfair rash of attacks against the law abding, tax paying motorists. Here is another example of the bike zealouts running amock with their bike lanes causing trouble to commerce. a few bike terrorists are holding the city's motorists hostage, like hamas is doing with Israel. Just keep the personal attacks out of this b/c it is very unprofessional and does little to advance your arguements.
Oct. 11, 2011, 9:27 am
ty from pps says:
Did bike users all of a sudden become tax exempt?? Is there a form I forgot to fill out. Someone tell me! I think I've been paying taxes and paying for the roads that everyone uses... but Tal said I'm not a tax payer. I could use the extra money.
Oct. 11, 2011, 9:43 am
Driver from PPW says:
What idiot looks at a sign that says "No Standing April - October" and thinks that it must mean "No Standing May - September"?

Drivers are spoiled crybabies. Pay to get your car out of the tow yard and read the signs correctly next time.

This paper is really horrible.
Oct. 11, 2011, 11:03 am
Toddrick says:
RE: Mike

"Until October" means through September to me. As in up until. "Through October" or "Until November" would mean through October.
Oct. 11, 2011, 11:11 am
s from PPW says:
It doesn't say "Until October." It says "April to October." That means it includes April and October. If there's any confusion, maybe it's a good idea not to park there until November 1 just to be safe.

As a driver who is extra cautious about parking and not getting towed, I have no sympathy. In exchange for parking my car for free on the street and avoiding hundreds of dollars in monthly garage costs, I don't think this is a big deal. (Many thanks to the taxpayers of NYC for subsidizing my free parking, by the way.)

It's a park! Why is my need for a parking space greater than the hundreds of people who need to get dropped off or unload a few things along PPW?
Oct. 11, 2011, 12:22 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Re Toddrick

If it said "June to July" what would that mean?

It means all of June and July, so April to October means all of April and all of October and all of the months in between. This is not confusing.
Oct. 11, 2011, 2:44 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
and can someone please tell me what this has to do with the bike lane.
Oct. 11, 2011, 3:12 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all none of the postings could have been by me because I have not been at my computer all day, I have been at work. Secondly, I think it's not okay that a bike lane has taken parking spaces in the neighborhood. If you want to park your bike, then you should pay the same price for it that a car driver pays for his car. A bike is a few hundred dollars, so that doesn't even come close to what you deserve when you buy a car for fifteen thousand or even thirty thousand dollars. If the city is changing signs after people have parked there, then they are playing bait and switch with the rules and it's not right. Drivers shouldn't have to pay for being tricked by Bloomberg since he just needs more money for his house in Bermuda. Maybe bikers should write to Streetsblog about it but this paper is unbiased, unlike them. Leave Natalie alone since all she is doing is writing stories for a paper that wants to tell the truth, not sell papers.
Oct. 11, 2011, 5:22 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, what is with the impersonations and why do you bike zealouts resort to this? Anyway, I find these signs to be wrong and should be removed. What exactly needs a loading zone on that street? It's not as if the area there is industrial, it's actually residential. The only difference between that Forest Hills Gardens and Sea Gate, located west of Coney Island, compared to what Manhattan Beach and the Rockaways have is that no others besides those with permits can park there ever despite the fact that they have driveways or garages there. Maybe the reason why some of us drive is because we come from areas that are hardly served by transit, and it's expensive to live near it unlike those who have the money like your friend Mark Gorton does.
Oct. 11, 2011, 6:13 pm
dictionary reference from language matters says:
if 9 to 5 means 9 am to 5 pm. out at 5:01.
so April to October means April 1st to September 30th.

The sign should say April thru October.
"To October" means to reach October. October 1st is past that point,
Some commenters here should be more knowledgeable of their first language.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/to

(used for expressing motion or direction toward a point, person, place, or thing approached and reached, as opposed to from ): They came to the house.
Oct. 11, 2011, 6:46 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
So what would June to July mean?
Oct. 11, 2011, 7:15 pm
dictionary reference says:
June from the first day to the last.

Why someone would write "June to July" instead of "June and July" or "June - July"?? Anyway June to July to me means June only. Reaching July 1st is reaching the "point" of July. To does not mean Through.

the point is that signs are inconsistent and have spelling errors.

There is De Kalb ave next to DEKALB ave sign near Classon.

the person who the avenue was named after was Johann De Kalb
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_de_Kalb

But the avenue is named DeKalb, yet a few signs say De Kalb.

In Manhattan I saw a Bleeker st sign on Bleecker street.
Oct. 11, 2011, 7:24 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
I knew not to park there....

I see the word "No" and the word "October" I parked somewhere else. A no brainier for me. But I am not the best speller.
Oct. 11, 2011, 7:46 pm
You're Not Serious from Park Slope says:
From this day forward all you bicycle riding barista numbskulls should ask your coffee shop managers what your schedule is and if they say 2 to 6 you should make sure you leave at 6:59 since you are having so much trouble figuring it out.
Oct. 11, 2011, 9:23 pm
I am serious from Park Slope says:
Because when I work Monday to Friday, I stay till the end of the day on FRIDAY,
Oct. 12, 2011, 5:25 am
I'm Still Serious from Park Slope says:
and when someone works 2-6, the 6 is really a short cut for saying 6:00pm.
Oct. 12, 2011, 7 am
You're Not Serious from Park Slope says:
The proper grammatical way to see it "I am serious" is I work Monday through Friday. Sure people take short cuts when speaking, but we don't expect that from the government when they make street signs. We don't allow it in writing in legally binding contracts. This generation is always looking for shortcuts and I am sure that the sign was designed by someone who just passed the civil servant exam.
Oct. 12, 2011, 11:36 am
I did not get a ticket from Park Slope says:
There is only so much room on a sign so they take shortcuts.

Anyway, the sign was probably made by an non-civil servant, non union, not a high school graduate. The DoT has been outsourcing most of its work lately.

and yea, the poorly written sign might have gotten tickets dismissed.
Oct. 12, 2011, 3:55 pm
Daniel from Ridgewood, Bushwick, Manhattan says:
Im a driver and anybody who takes public transportation everyday doesnt understand how hard it is or why ppl drive to critisize them for complaining. We get tickets daily handed out for reasons the traffic cop cant explain. They sometimes arent sure if they should give a ticket but do it anyway cuz of quotas ... I drive everyday so my daughter isnt onb the train with the crazy ppl who ride it... Ive lived in nyc my entire life bronx n now bk n work in manhattan... and personally the parking rules and the amount of cabs make it impossible to enjoy the city and will drive me and im sure have and will drive others right out of NY.

Hardworking people whose only luxury in a high rent world is a car still get ——ted on. And all of you who ride the train will never understand. But i will never go back to being on the train with the crazy random ppl. im good .

ps it says -october... i wouldnt park there at all the drivers are dumb ofr that... but if its only for oct 1st the city needs to make that clear. The lack of parking is very high... And i have been desperate once or twice jus so we can get out of our cars after searching for a spot at our own homes for over an hour. smdh
Oct. 13, 2011, 8:53 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Daniel from Ridgewood et al reminds me that every time I get in my car I have to share the road with " crazy random ppl." like him.
Oct. 13, 2011, 3:19 pm
Chris from Bushwick says:
Daniel: If you think that removing 6 parking spaces over 15 blocks is going to drive xenophobics like you out of New York, please, by all means, leave.
Oct. 14, 2011, 1:29 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
It is 20 blocks and since the bus does not run on PPW from Union to 9th there has been a net gain of parking.
Oct. 14, 2011, 3:49 pm
Me from Park Slope says:
To clarify what "April to October" means, look at the street sweeping/ASP sign on the same pole. If there's no parking "11:30am TO 1pm" when is it ok to park again? 1pm, right? The same logic works for the loading zone sign. If the sign said April-October that would be different (and technically include October).

Additionally, the April to October was just added to these signs a few weeks ago, in recognition that these zones are unnecessary in cold weather months, and in response to community concerns about parking.

Loading zones at 9th street are nothing new, but these new zones are directly related to the installation of the bike lanes- that process took away the existing large loading zone in front of Lafayette's monument and another 8 parking spots, including practically all handicap parking on the park side.

There has definitely NOT been a net gain in parking on PPW... Even without the 4 bus stops before 9th street...
Oct. 14, 2011, 8:29 pm
Me from Park Slope says:
To clarify what "April to October" means, look at the street sweeping/ASP sign on the same pole. If there's no parking "11:30am TO 1pm" when is it ok to park again? 1pm, right? The same logic works for the loading zone sign. If the sign said April-October that would be different (and technically include October).

Additionally, the April to October was just added to these signs a few weeks ago, in recognition that these zones are unnecessary in cold weather months, and in response to community concerns about parking.

Loading zones at 9th street are nothing new, but these new zones are directly related to the installation of the bike lanes- that process took away the existing large loading zone in front of Lafayette's monument and another 8 parking spots, including practically all handicap parking on the park side.

There has definitely NOT been a net gain in parking on PPW... Even without the 4 bus stops before 9th street...
Oct. 14, 2011, 8:29 pm
jerry from park slope says:
from reading these comments it seems that gersh not only lowered reading levels but also made people arithmetically challenged. to doesn't mean through. although they do sound similar. and, before the bike lane there were 3 car lanes and 2 parking lanes. so if someone double parked to drop someone or something off there were still two lanes left for traffic. now there are only 2 lanes for traffic. therefore the need for a drop off space to take way from the parking space. there are lots of bad things you can blame on gersh and rupert. the educational and mental limitations of readers are frightening.
i also am surprised that someone would report that the bloomberg administration created the drop-off zones in response to a request from the community. especially after it has already been established that the bloomberg administration, or its representatives, lied about the reason for creating the bike lanes in the first place. i have been biking for decades in and around prospect park and frankly, the bike lanes have made it more difficult, not less so.
Oct. 15, 2011, 3:04 pm
ty from pps says:
The bike lanes have made it more difficult to bike?! Jeesh. Jerry you are a special sort of dummy.
Oct. 15, 2011, 7:04 pm
Mike says:
no, actually, it hasn't "been established" that the Bloomberg administration lied about anything related to PPW. there are a bunch of rich entitled NIMBYs who claim so, but pretty much everything they've said has turned out to be a lie.
Oct. 16, 2011, 12:13 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Hay Jerry

Let me spell this out for you.

For the past few years I take my kids to an after school sports practice in Prospect Park near Bartel Prichard Square. We live a block from the park near Carroll Street. It really makes sense for us to take our bikes.

When we began this program the bike lane did not exist. Before the bike lane was put there we had to choose form the following unsafe or illegal was to get home

- Ride against the flow of bike/auto traffic in Prospect Park.
- Ride against the flow of auto traffic on PPW
- Ride on the sidewalk on PPW
- Ride on the walking paths in Prospect Park
- Ride on the deathtrap / truck-rout/ no bike lane/ double parking world of 8th Ave. (Not gonna happen with my little kids)

Now that there is a bike lane on PPW we and many other bikers can safely and legally get from the Windsor Terrace area to the Grand Army Plaza area.

and Jerry whether or not you can understand it, there has been no meaningful loose of parking and traffic is now moving at a safe speed now.
Oct. 16, 2011, 6:07 am
s from city from ppw says:
My car was towed on Oct 5th at exactly that place. I got car that same night from navy yard because needed to go to work early am. Also paid parking ticket not to be charged late fee. Then I read an article in Brooklyn Courier. Called 311 and talked to financial how to get my $$ back. I was told that by paying ticket I admitted being guilty and there was nothing I could do about it.
Does anyone know what else i can do to get money back?
Oct. 22, 2011, 9:47 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
s,

I don't think that bell can be unrung. But I bet Marty Markowitz would love to try.
Oct. 22, 2011, 11:23 am

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