CB6 to Prospect Park West cyclists — slow down!

CB6 to Prospect Park West cyclists — slow down!
Photo by Tom Callan

The Prospect Park West bike lane — installed last year to slow down car traffic on the wide boulevard — now apparently needs speed bumps to slow down the cyclists, too.

On Thursday night, a Community Board 6 committee demanded that the city to install “rumble strips” to create a cobblestone-like effect a various places along the controversial two-way cycle path.

The panel also asked for the installation of raised islands — similar to those on Ninth Avenue between West 23rd and West 31st streets in Manhattan — to create safe zones for pedestrians.

“The board thinks [the changes] make a good thing even better,” said Craig Hammerman, district manager of the board.

The unanimous vote comes after months of generally favorable marks for the bike lane — but bitter opposition from some residents who say that the two-way bike lane turns the one-way roadway into a war zone for pedestrians. Two groups, Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Seniors for Safety, have sued the city — and neither is satisfied with the CB6 fix.

“It’s window dressing,” said Lois Carswell, president of Seniors for Safety. “It does not begin to solve the ethical issues — or the real safety problems.”

Under the new resolution, the board also requests that the city give special attention to the character of the street, examine double-parking and track crash data over the next three years.

The tweaks come from a community survey undertaken by his Councilman Brad Lander’s office last year.

The city will likely implement the recommendations, given that the Department of Transportation proposed the rumble strips after opponents raised objections to the lane. Despite some continuing opposition, the city hails the lane a success, both in slowing down cars on Prospect Park West and reducing cycling accidents and bicycling on the sidewalk.

But even some cyclists think that the strips will be hindrance — especially on a path that’s meant to empower bikers.

“They’re trying to corral and control us,” said David Dixon, owner of Dixon’s Bicycle Shop, adding there is little evidence that accidents are a problem. “What’s next, spikes shooting up at an intersection?”

The recommended changes could look like this.
Courtesy NYC DOT

Community Board 6 will take up the issue at its full board meeting at the Prospect Park Residence [1 Prospect Park West at Union Street in Park Slope, (718) 622-8400] on April 13 at 6:30 pm.