The problem with the Prospect Park West bike lane is not the lane, but the bikes.
Generally speaking, the Department of Transportation should be commended for taking an aggressive approach to calming traffic, creating pedestrian plazas, adding bike lanes to spur green commuting and being far more responsive than it has been in years past. But in creating a two-way bike lane on one-way Prospect Park West, the city has caused more problems than it has solved.
In other words, look out for that speeding cyclist!
The city has laid down plenty of bike lanes all over town, and many of them — we’re talking about the ones on Sands Street in Downtown or Kent Avenue in Williamsburg — do a great job of keeping cyclists, cars and pedestrians off each others’ backs.
But in Park Slope, the city removed a lane of car traffic to free up space to give cyclists a protected, two-way lane. The goal, the city said, was not only to give cyclists a break, but to slow down cars.
That hasn’t happened. And, worse, the line of parked cars that protects the cyclists in their lane has tricked the two-wheelers into thinking that they now own the road.
Indeed, cyclists get only a blinking yellow light at crosswalks — meaning that pedestrians crossing Prospect Park West may have the “Walk” sign, but they still have to stop and look both ways for cyclists.
That’s a prescription for disaster on a one-way street where pedestrians are accustomed to looking in only one direction.
Worse, over-empowering cyclists makes them, frankly, rude. We have spent the last few days on the bike lane and simply can’t believe how much venom some speeding cyclists are hurling at pedestrians who have the temerity to cross when they have the light.
Park users are long accustomed to pedal-pushing jerks in their fancy Spandex uniforms who scream at everyone during their weekly “bike races.” But now the city has given these gearheads free reign outside the park, too.
We say, enough. Either bikers get civil, or something bad is going to happen.