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Plaza Street West bike lane

Slope bike lane critics: Put Plaza Street West cycling path on the sidewalk

The Brooklyn Paper

Opponents of a much-anticipated cycling route that connects the Prospect Park West bike lane with Park Slope and Prospect Heights want the city to push aside the new path — literally.

Neighbors and civic leaders claim a proposed two-way bike lane on Plaza Street West should be banished to the sidewalk because there’s not enough room on the charming-but-narrow street, where cars frequently double-park.

“No one will be able to get through; it’s going to become a nightmare,” Dolly Williams, a Community Board 6 member who lives on the street, said at a meeting last week.

Williams, a former city planning commissioner, and other residents suggested moving an existing southbound bike lane and the planned northbound lane to the “under-used” sidewalk on the east side of the street, which borders a quiet, fenced-off section of Grand Army Plaza’s green space.

Critics of the proposed path say the putting a two-way bike lane on the street would clog traffic, create chaos, and even block ambulances — claims similar to those made by opponents of the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane.

But the “sidewalk solution” would create a conflict between cyclists and pedestrians and increase the likelihood that drivers will speed on wider street, bike advocates say.

“I think it’s an incredibly foolish idea,” said Robert Minsky of the Grand Army Plaza Coalition. “It takes away from the park.”

The city’s on-street design calls for removing four feet of road space reserved for automotive traffic and giving it to cyclists, creating an eight-foot-wide patch of asphalt for two-wheelers heading to Prospect Park and bikes traveling toward Prospect Heights.

Last year, the city abandoned plans for the two-way route amid the Prospect Park West bike lane controversy then revived it last month after the Department of Transportation discovered that roughly one third of cyclists who use the existing lane ride in the wrong direction.

A spokeswoman for the agency didn’t respond to calls seeking comment by press time — but the plan to put the lane on the street got a green light from CB6 last week.

That’s one indication the sidewalk suggestion won’t hold up, cyclists say.

“There’s plenty of room on the street,” said cycling advocate Eric McClure.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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Reader Feedback

trans alt from my bike says:
Don't they realize that the idea is to clog traffic to the point where people give up their cars or move to the suburbs? The traffic calming will continue until the message gets through.
May 18, 2012, 5:38 am
trans alt from my bike says:
Don't they realize that the idea is to clog traffic to the point where people give up their cars or move to the suburbs? The traffic calming will continue until the message gets through.
May 18, 2012, 5:38 am
S from PPW says:
Breaking news: this was discussed at a meeting nearly a month ago. Natalie's controversy well must have been running dry. Pathetic, really.
May 18, 2012, 6:56 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
The solution to congestion brought by double parked cars isn't biking on the sidewalk. The solution is a tow truck. And if the tow truck seems extreme, then the solution is parking meters with rates high enough to ensure an empty space at all times.
May 18, 2012, 7:37 am
ty from pps says:
Hmm... interesting the solution to double-parking never has anything to do with cars. Like Mike said, one solution is a two truck. The other solution is to make a "loading zone" from 7:00am to 7:00pm at these trouble spots. I'm assuming the double-parkers are making deliveries or picking people up -- if that's a need, fulfill it.

Taking away facilities for pedestrians is NOT a solution for double-parked cars.
May 18, 2012, 8:33 am
jay from pslope says:
I am amused at the community board memer Dolly Williams and her comments about what it would do to her street, I guess its fine as long as its not in YOUR street huh Dolly? As for the double parking thing the reason that is an issue is because of the stupid street cleaning rules. Get rid of those and people won't have to double park, and then you can have your bike lane and eat your cake.
May 18, 2012, 9:31 am
Jacob from Clinton Hill says:
ty said it quite well. The solution to double-parking is to address the lack of curb access, not remove pedestrian space. DOT really needs to create spaces for loading, though, or we will see cars double parking and driving in the new bike lane, as is the case with the existing bike lane.
May 18, 2012, 9:49 am
jwcbklyn from Cobble Slope says:
This Dolly Williams?
http://gothamist.com/2007/08/08/porsches_very_s.php

Obviously an expert on the finer points of traffic regulation.
May 18, 2012, 9:56 am
jwcbklyn from Cobble Slope says:
This Dolly Williams?
http://gothamist.com/2007/08/08/porsches_very_s.php

Obviously an expert on the finer points of traffic regulation.
May 18, 2012, 9:56 am
jwcbklyn from Cobble Slope says:
This Dolly Williams?
http://gothamist.com/2007/08/08/porsches_very_s.php

Obviously an expert on the finer points of traffic regulation.
May 18, 2012, 9:56 am
jwcbklyn from Cobble Slope says:
This Dolly Williams?
http://gothamist.com/2007/08/08/porsches_very_s.php

Obviously an expert on the finer points of traffic regulation.
May 18, 2012, 9:56 am
jwcbklyn from Cobble Slope says:
This Dolly Williams?
http://gothamist.com/2007/08/08/porsches_very_s.php

Obviously an expert on the finer points of traffic regulation.
May 18, 2012, 9:56 am
jwcbklyn from Cobble Slope says:
BK Paper - you need to check on your commenting software
May 18, 2012, 9:58 am
bee from ft greene says:
if cars are double parking, bikes are to blame?

i think you are missing logic 101 and should probably never be allowed to vote or provide input on a public issue until you have the brainpower of at least a 2nd-grader.
May 18, 2012, 9:58 am
ch from bh says:
Dolly Williams was the owner of yellow Porsche parked in front of a hydrant:

http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/07/hello-dolly/

She was removed from at least one committee because of undisclosed conflict of interest.

She's hardly an expert on efficient use of streets.

Does the Brooklyn Paper actually do any background, or they just transcribe the tape recorder?

C:
May 18, 2012, 10:05 am
ch from bh says:
Dolly Williams was the owner of yellow Porsche parked in front of a hydrant:

http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/07/hello-dolly/

She was removed from at least one committee because of undisclosed conflict of interest.

She's hardly an expert on efficient use of streets.

Does the Brooklyn Paper actually do any background, or they just transcribe the tape recorder?

C:
May 18, 2012, 10:05 am
boof from brooklyn says:
trans alt:

I thought the point of cars was to clog the streets until the driving minority gets fed up and moves to the suburbs. We're still waiting.

(Please switch back to your parody-truth. Earnestness doesn't fit you well.)
May 18, 2012, 10:13 am
Gary from Park Slope says:
This is crazy. The double-parking advocates already got the proposal for a parking protected bike lane replaced with a street-side lane so that cars can easily ride into the bike lane to get around double-parked cars. Now that isn't even good enough?
May 18, 2012, 10:18 am
Tru from Slope says:
There is no New Yorker more selfish than a car owner who parks on the street.
May 18, 2012, 10:31 am
Elaine from Bensonhurst says:
Why not put the cars on the sidewalk, and give the bikes the street?
May 18, 2012, 10:36 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Ty, the loading zones you are talking about are called fire hydrants. They already exist on every block, so no additional public expense is required. I marvel that drivers always double-park instead of pulling into one of the convenient fire hydrant spaces and activating their hazard lights; it's almost the automotive equivalent of peeing on everything in sight to mark your territory.
May 18, 2012, 10:44 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
In talking about bike lanes in the Grand Army Plaza, everyone is rather missing the forest for the trees. GAP could and should be the greatest public plaza in the borough, if not the city, if it were redesigned. A couple of years ago the GAP Coalition sponsored a design competition to posit dozens of scenarios like that. Some of them were quite good--they turned a chaotic automotive dystopia into a beautiful, multi-use space that connected Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Public Library, Botanic Gardens, Brooklyn Museum, the Arch, and the neighborhoods surrounding them. *That's* what this conversation ought to be about, not the small bore technicalities of bike lanes vs. entitled drivers.
May 18, 2012, 10:49 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Plaza Street is a lane lane road. It will still be a one lane road after the bike lane is installed. What's the problem.
May 18, 2012, 4:48 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Bike lanes shouldn't be made in a two way direction especially if the street is only one way. If motor vehicles can't go the wrong way on a way one way street, then why should bicycles be given a free pass on that. Bike lanes should only go the way the street does as cyclists must ride in that direction, not against it. Still, it's not worth it to spend more on making a new bike lane when the already existing ones are barley used right now. Just another waste of money to me. Thank you Natalie for this great article and telling the truth here.
May 18, 2012, 5:39 pm
ty from pps says:
TAL!!! PLease. Stop with the constant repeating of this bullcrap. It's not even close to true. Barely even rises to the level of a badly informed opinion. STOP.

Anyway -- I thought you were all about listening to the community boards? Or only when it supports your groundless positions?
May 18, 2012, 7:16 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, cut with the double speak already. Whatever you say about my statement on community boards, I can easily say the same back it you. Last time I remembered, you wished that the community board members in Bay Ridge disagreed by burned to the stake for not taking your side. Nevertheless, my comment wasn't about the decision by the community board, it was about why there shouldn't be two way bike lanes on a street that is both not that wide and goes only one way. As usual, you bring your fanatical behavior on those that disagree such as myself when it comes to bicycles. Either way, Natalie doesn't deserve a personal attack and neither do I just for looking at it through a different perspective.
May 18, 2012, 10:15 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal - you deserve to have your computer taken away.
May 18, 2012, 10:27 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Why don't you actually visit Plaza Street and propose something better.
May 18, 2012, 10:32 pm
CB from Plaza St West says:
Why is it that an alternative proposal which solves the same problems the DOT solution does yet arguably addresses a wider range of issues as well is assumed to be the work of "opponents"?
May 19, 2012, 4:59 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, why is a bike lane always needed when all cyclists really need to do is just follow the rules of the road? Is that really hard to do, or do you guys just make it sound hard? BTW, I do remember going to Plaza Street not that long ago as I have to PPW, so I know what it's like there. Still, why should cyclists be allowed to ride the wrong way on a one way street when all other motor vehicles can't? What makes bicycles so different in doing that? I am still waiting for an answer to that question, and you guys continue to dodge that.
May 19, 2012, 5:33 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
It makes sense - the streets are over crowded, and the sidewalks are underutilized.

Besides, bikers don't need much of an excuse to ride on the sidewalk, they do it all the time - they must like riding on the sidewalk!
May 19, 2012, 8:53 pm
Tow that yellow Porsche from the spot in front of the fire hydrant says:
Dolly Williams is the ultimate political hack of the Brooklyn Democratic machine. She is nothing more than a Marty Markowitz crony who parks and double-parks her yellow Porsche wherever she wants.

http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/07/hello-dolly

Why is the Brooklyn Paper providing her with a platform to talk about local transportation and urban planning issues? She's a complete know-nothing.
May 20, 2012, 2:13 pm
Peter from Park Slope says:
Cycling on the sidewalk is illegal. It's funny to see this as a proposed "solution" once people see their precious parking at risk.

Especially given that the impetus for the PPW bike lane was to get people to stop cycling on the sidewalk.
May 20, 2012, 2:47 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
You don't have to tell me that Peter, because that's true. However, many cyclists still go on the cyclists as well as disobey a number traffic lights and signs. As long as there are bike zealots who don't give any respect to the rules, thee will always be a need to crack down on them Unfortunately, there are still cyclists that see both the lanes and all other traffic lights and signs as decorations. That statement made by Or was really out of sarcasm. As for Dolly Williams, I don't condone her for parking next to a fire hydrant when her own property has a driveway for her car, and I say the same for Marty with his double parking. Still, that's not a reason to make personal attacks on them, and that link to Streetsblog is probably biased anyway.
May 20, 2012, 4:38 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- You don't have to write all of the thoughts that enter your head. The beauty of writing is only sharing the ideas that you have thought through. Your streams of consciousness were amusing the first few times.... but one would think you would be improving by now based on the volume of posts.
May 20, 2012, 6:45 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
They must have moved Tal's group therapy sessions farther away than he's willing to drive. That, or the therapist said something positive about bicycles that sent him into a rage. I picture him standing up, hurling his chair into the coffee table, and going outside to turn broadies in the parking lot in his Honda civic while flipping the bird out the window at his erstwhile therapist.

Or maybe his meds ran out. If anyone reading this site lives in or near Pleasantville and can prescribe anti-psychotics, can you please work something out to get Tal his meds?
May 20, 2012, 9:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Perhaps, you guys are the ones that are some kind of medication. After all, you do seem to have egos that you can't seem to keep to yourselves, ty and Scott. Both of you should start getting prescriptions for chill pills, because you really need them. I have nothing against those who like to ride bicycles, it's the attitude you express with them that I am against. Right now, there is more important things where taxpayer dollars should be spent on rather than on bike lanes. Just read the Daily News article about a number of schools in Brooklyn that are about to close, because they are much more important than bike lanes. On a side note, I take offense on that comment, Scott, and you I will have you for slander on that.
May 20, 2012, 10:19 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- For someone who has been floating around in this world for 28 years -- how do you not have a slightly better grasp on reality?

This article from Ha'Aretz must piss you off.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/coming-to-tel-aviv-better-bring-your-bicycle-1.405716

Are you sure you shouldn't move back to Israel to tell your homeland that there are better things to spend money on? Like "hamasing" and such.

Will they let you back in?
May 20, 2012, 11:04 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- For someone who has been floating around in this world for 28 years -- how do you not have a slightly better grasp on reality?

This article from Ha'Aretz must piss you off.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/coming-to-tel-aviv-better-bring-your-bicycle-1.405716

Are you sure you shouldn't move back to Israel to tell your homeland that there are better things to spend money on? Like "hamasing" and such.

Will they let you back in?
May 20, 2012, 11:05 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- For someone who has been floating around in this world for 28 years -- how do you not have a slightly better grasp on reality?

This article from Ha'Aretz must piss you off.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/coming-to-tel-aviv-better-bring-your-bicycle-1.405716

Are you sure you shouldn't move back to Israel to tell your homeland that there are better things to spend money on? Like "hamasing" and such.

Will they let you back in?
May 20, 2012, 11:05 pm
ty from pps says:
OMG Tal -- LOOK What the bike Zealots are doing?! Are you Reading This?!

Have you heard of תל-אופן ??? Oh gawd! They have a huge bikeshare network in Tel Aviv-Jaffa!

Didn't they hear that all bikeshare programs are failures? Didn't you tell them?! Oh man, Tal, Israel is falling apart without you. Talk about 'hamasing'!! Bike lanes, bikeshare, uuuugh!
May 20, 2012, 11:12 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal, by the way, Do you have a private entrance at your parents house?
May 20, 2012, 11:18 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Come visit Plaza Street. Any time of day. There is usually a car double parked in the bike lane or it is being used as a "passing lane" on a one lane road.

That is why a protected bike lane is needed, so cyclists can follow the rules of the road.
May 21, 2012, 5:38 am
ty from pps says:
Maybe Tel Aviv should call its bikeshare program טל-אופן !
May 21, 2012, 9:58 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, even with the protected bike lanes, they still don't follow the rules. What will make this any different? Unfortunately, you rely too much on wish full thinking. Seriously, how many times where cyclists given the benefit of the doubt and it turned out that they act as if they are above all the laws? It sort of reminds me of the number of appeasements Israel gave for the hope of peace with the Palestinians when that didn't happen in the end. I just give these mice anymore cookies, because they will just want more, and I mean that in a bad way. To answer ty, as long as the cyclists over in Tel Aviv are following the rules of the road, I have nothing against that bike share program, and at least it's not given a corporate brand name like here, but I take it you didn't read the related article saying that even there, it was found to see these bicycles with stolen parts as a blogger pointed out.
May 21, 2012, 2:12 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Sort of reminds me how motorists speed, run red lights and fail to yield in crosswalks, Tal.
May 21, 2012, 2:17 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- Now you have a problem when something *doesn't* cost the city money?!?

The city shouldn't do X because they should be spending their resources on Y. OK, fine. Now, the city has found a way to provide services AND produce revenue for the city coffers... that's bad too? Jesus H. Christmas. (And you probably wonder why your dad doesn't want you to work for him.)

Hey Tal, by the way, did you know cars get stolen? That is sure proof that automotive transportation is a complete failure.... right?

Also, how do you know cyclists are following the law in Tel Aviv?!? Shouldn't you be monitoring this?! Down with טל-אופן !!
May 21, 2012, 2:30 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, please explain to me why bike lanes are much more important than public schools? I am still waiting to hear why you believe that bike lanes outweigh the need for public schools. Why should the city spend more on lanes that hardly get used when there are many public schools in Brooklyn alone that are being threatened to close due to lack of funding or the claim that they are failing but are used far more? BTW, most of the NYC metro area voted in favor their school districts' budgets, not against, but I take it you went up against them. Also, the children are our future, and denying them the education will come back to haunt us. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised that you probably voted to keep Bloomberg in for a third term that he doesn't deserve, because you like the fact that he sides with you when it comes to bike lanes.
May 21, 2012, 6:48 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- Why do you keep saying "lanes that hardly get used"? Hmm? Why? What is your evidence? Oh, right, comments by NBBL and their lawyer? Or was it anonymous comments in the Daily News?

Why do we spend money on non-arterial roads? The side street I live on should probably be ignored and money spent on schools right? Cuz a city should only spend money on what Tal thinks is the priority.

What other infrastructure do you disagree with? Damn parks are a waste of money. Uggh, and those underused sidewalks. I was just outside and there were only like 2 people on the sidewalk outside my apartment. Couldn't this be parking? Or somehow converted into a school?
May 21, 2012, 7:39 pm
pps says:
And Tal -- You never answered me. Do you have a private entrance at your parents' house? You're a big boy now, right?
May 21, 2012, 7:44 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, much of what you mentioned is used a lot more than just about all the bike lanes combined. Perhaps, you should ask that NBBL member who has a camera that looks at that bike lane 24-7 for a copy of what she recorded, because she does have evidence on how much usage is there compared to every skewed remark from Streetsblog. Whatever you say about my claim that the letters to the editor on the Post or Daily News, I can say the same thing about the comments on Streetsblog, and I know that Mark Gorton has his way of fudging numbers as well. You still didn't answer why bike lanes deserve more than schools do in terms of funding especially the number of them that could be facing closing in Brooklyn alone. I guess you don't care about the children like I do, because you probably think that it's a communist plot to help them or a ploy by the UFT that you so despise. On a side note, that question about my parent's home is not relevant nor is it any of your business, which really shows how low you can go.
May 21, 2012, 9:36 pm
ty from pps says:
Hey Tal. Do you know what my evidence is for the bike lanes ALL OVER the city being used a lot? By actually LOOKING. Not reading wacky comments on the internet. I use them with my bike and see many other bikes. I drive my car and see bicycles. I walk on the sidewalk and see lots of bikes.

You should try this. It's not that hard.... well, you do have to leave your house in pleasantville.

How many golf balls have hit you in the head? Is that the problem... long-term concussion?
May 21, 2012, 9:46 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Who thinks that "bike lanes deserve more than schools"?
May 22, 2012, 5:30 am
boof from brooklyn says:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikemain.shtml

"New York City doubled bicycle commuting between 2007 and 2011, and aims to triple it by 2017. In New York City, 10% of auto trips are under one-half mile, 22% are under 1 mile and 56% are under 3 miles – distances readily served by bicycle. DOT has completed the City's ambitious goal of building 200 bike-lane miles in all five boroughs in just three years, nearly doubling the citywide on-street bike network while reshaping the city's streets to make them safer for everyone who uses them."
May 22, 2012, 11:13 am

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