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

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 [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.