Guess what? City says its Prospect Park West bike lane is a success!

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Prospect Park West bike lane has aced the city’s first test — though opponents claim that officials cheated.

The Department of Transportation has announced that car traffic along Prospect Park West has slowed, while bike usage has skyrocketed since the controversial bike lane’s construction this spring.

The findings suggest that the lane is passing its first scrutiny with flying colors, since it was designed to calm traffic and encourage cycling.

The study, quietly released on Oct. 19, compared data from this summer to the pre-bike lane days of September, 2009. The results:

• During peak hours, cars are driving at an average speed of 25.8 miles per hour, which is seven miles per hour slower than last year’s speeds, and well below the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit. One in seven cars exceeded the speed limit this year, whereas three in four cars did in 2009.

• The number of weekend cyclists doubled from 2009 levels.

• Weekday cycling tripled.

• The number of bikers who illegally ride on the sidewalk dropped drastically from an average of 33 percent of riders in 2009 to less than 4 percent in 2010.

The traffic calming portion of the study follows an earlier, though hardly independent, August study by the pro–bike lane group, Park Slope Neighbors, which reported a 95-percent reduction in the number of cars going more than 40 miles per hour.

The numbers are good news for bike lane proponents, but opponents say the study may have been falsified, and question whether or not Prospect Park West traffic needed to be calmed in the first place.

“We are calling for an objective analysis,” said Louise Hainlain, president of Neighbors for a Better Bike Lane.

Hainlain believes some of the numbers collected by the department were inaccurate. For example, one section of the study states that over a 12-hour period on Aug. 17, a total of 1,131 cyclists used the bike lane — which translates to an average of nearly 95 bikers an hour.

“We’re not seeing [those numbers] on the bike path,” Hainlain said, adding that the biker data caused her and her group to doubt the veracity of the entire study.

That said, her group claims that the bike lane is unsafe for pedestrians.

Hainlain believes that the department artificially gave the lane a favorable review in order to reach Mayor Bloomberg’s goal of building 1,800 miles of new bike lanes throughout the city.

But city officials said they stand by their numbers, and that they’re only giving residents what they want.

“As far back as 2007, the community board had specifically requested that we address speeding on Prospect Park West, and to implement a protected bike path,” said Department of Transportation spokesman Seth Solomonow. “And we will present further findings to the local community early next year.”

The city is currently conducting a final study, the outcome of which will decide whether the bike lane will become permanent, or be dismantled.

Updated 5:21 pm, July 9, 2018: Includes a comment from the city.
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Reasonable discourse

jackrusso from CG says:
"question whether or not Prospect Park West traffic needed to be calmed in the first place." are you friggin kidding me?
people were doing over 50mph there before...would these idiots rather get creamed by a car or have to watch for an occasional bike when crossing?
Nov. 2, 2010, 7:57 am
reality check says:
At some point, we will find out the real reason for the opposition; their stated reasons just don't make sense, and their claims are so easily falsified. Kind of like tea partiers.
Nov. 2, 2010, 8:12 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
The city and Mayor for Life Mike can't be wrong! They declared it!

The Romans built roads and prospered. Mayor Mike put up an umbrella and benches in the road, created an obstical course and declared it a success.

God Save the King Mayor Mike.
Nov. 2, 2010, 8:20 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
And now?

Bicycle Rule Enforecment Day!

No headphones, a bell, lights after dark, red light running!

Lots of revenue to be collected there Mayor for Life Mike!
Nov. 2, 2010, 8:22 am
fred from park slope says:
One side has facts. The other doesn't. Not much of a debate.
Nov. 2, 2010, 8:48 am
P from Kensington says:
So is the bike lane empty or is it filled with dangerous cyclists? You can't have it both ways, Ms. Hainlain.
Nov. 2, 2010, 9 am
emm from park slope says:
I maintain that this bike lane is not better: FACT cars and trucks double park therefore backing up traffic, intense horn beeping and cars agressivly trying to pass. FACT bikers DO NOT abide by laws, speed through red lights, do not yield for pedestrians. FACT noise and car pollution is horrible because of more idling, horn honking, driviers screaming at each other.

Worst case will be in the winter when it snows, they plow, leaving ONE lane for cars. HORRIBLE concept. Maybe they need to figure out that during the winter they shift the cars back to the left lane and do away with the bike lane. otherwise PPW will be one lane accomodating 1000's of cars, buses, trucks...god help anyone who will need a assistance if there is an emergency. Good luck getting a firetruck or ambulance there in time. critical...
Nov. 2, 2010, 9:33 am
kevin from flatbush says:
Why is 95 cyclists and hour so unbelievable?
Thats only 1 every 37 seconds.

Is it really that hard to cross a bike lane in which there is only 1 biker every 37 seconds? And if it actually is less than 95/hour, as they claim - it is even easier to cross.

The bike lane opponents are just a bunch of obnoxious NIMYs with far too much time on their hands, afraid of the slightest change. Show them facts that dispute their anecdotal claims and they dismiss the facts, or invent different, unsupportable claims.

Not all of the new bike lanes are ideal, including this one. But the answer is to modify the signaling on this lane (adding red lights for cyclists at major pedestrian crossings), not scrap it completely.
Nov. 2, 2010, 9:35 am
David from Reality says:
“We’re not seeing [those numbers] on the bike path.”

Yeah! I too don't see numbers of things I don't measure!
Nov. 2, 2010, 9:46 am
boof from brooklyn says:
I've been biking every weekday in this lane to take my kid to school. Maybe I should just buy a car and keep it parked on PPW instead.

I'm tired of these morons who can't see beyond their windshield to see that sometimes a removed traffic lane is better for everyone, even drivers.
Nov. 2, 2010, 9:54 am
Jacob from Clinton Hill says:
How can you possibly argue that crossing 50mph car traffic is safer for pedestrians? Seriously, the logic escapes me.
Nov. 2, 2010, 10:13 am
Lolcat from Park Slope says:


That your attack on cyclists references an illegal driver act just serves to point out the cognitive dissonance that anti cyclist drivers refuse to acknowledge.

How is it ok for stop your 3,000lb vehicle, and force everyone to go around you but it is not ok for me, a 160lb bicycle/person to not treat red lights like stop signs? Not only is my action less egregious to the people around me, but is often significantly safer for every street user.

Don't even get me started on the speeding, failure to yield, lack of signaling, running red lights or any of the other ways i see drivers consistently break the law and make the street LESS safe for everyone every day.

Get a grip lame-o's. Bikes are awesome!
Nov. 2, 2010, 10:30 am
Brooklyn from Kensington says:
FACT double parking occurs because people are selfish and they should be ticketed - I don't care if you're eight months pregnant or you're dropping off grandpa.

FACT there are no red lights along this bike path for bike riders, only flashing yellows - I've had no problem yielding for pedestrians as there's more than enough room; I ride carefully but I don't stop. I have to do a lot more than tap a gas pedal.

FACT I have yet to read about "an emergency" that was, in fact, "obstructed" by a narrowed street - if Squad 1 fire trucks can somehow get up and down Union Street, they can get down PPW. Yeah, we may live in a so-called age of terror and all, but give me a break.

FACT you're not supposed to sound your horn unless it's an emergency, which should mean almost never. People who act like animals shouldn't be surprised when they feel like they live in a zoo.

FACT the simple solution to parked cars obstructing during a snow emergency is to eliminate parking during that snow emergency - just like countless communities do.

I don't care that you overpaid for two tons of steel and are now desperate to have someplace free to store it. Go to Rockaway Parkway today and look at the blood on the pavement, and then tell me that some wide-open street that people treat like a race track is safer for anybody.
Nov. 2, 2010, 10:37 am
Doug from Park Slope says:
Something tells me that even if there was an "objective" data collection, measuring things such as speeding, number of bikes, etc., that the opponents of this bike lane would still be against it.

Even though the data and data collection methods have been made available to those against the bike lane, they still reject its claims. I think Prospect Park Neighbors, CB6, and the DOT should agree to an independent, "objective analysis." It will probably show even more benefits now that more time has transpired and more people are used to the redesign. It will be yet another validation of the traffic calming measures on PPW and will expose pponents for what they are: NIMBYs who are afraid of change that has benefited a wide array of people from all over Brooklyn who use PPW.

Be careful what you ask for, Ms. Hainlain. Will you accept the outcome of an objective analysis or cling to fear and anecdotes?

As for the "speeding through red lights" claim in the comments, yes, bikers do that on a lot of streets in this city. But due to the redesign of PPW, bikers do not have to stop for red lights while on the bike lane. They have to yield or stop for pedestrians crossing at intersections.

And when it snows? Guess what? Plenty of streets in Park Slope and throughout the borough have two or even - gasp - one lane! The DOT and Sanitation dept. somehow manage to clear those lanes and to my knowlege the fire department is able to respond to emergencies on all of Park Slope's side streets. If anything, it will be the bike lane that remains covered with snow, not the automobile lanes.

Logic is such a strange concept to some, especially when they have no data to support their claims and look at very selective evidence.
Nov. 2, 2010, 10:38 am
Scottilla from Midwood says:
"FACT cars and trucks double park therefore backing up traffic, intense horn beeping and cars agressivly trying to pass"

And bicycles are the ones not obeying the law?
Nov. 2, 2010, 10:48 am
Ryan Lee from Greenpoint says:
Bike lane opponents might also not understand what the rules are for cyclists along PPW.

During the rally, I had a conversation with a anti-lane protester who claimed cyclists were required to stop at the crosswalks when the cars had a red light. This isn't so. Along this route, in both directions of travel, cyclists have a flashing yellow light. They are supposed to yield to pedestrians. That's the rule.

According to his erroneous understanding, one would come to the conclusion that most cyclists are breaking the law when they actually aren't. I explained the rules of the road to him a couple of times, but he didn't really want to listen.
Nov. 2, 2010, 11:37 am
David from Prospect Park West says:
When Lander and Levin release the results of their survey we are going to find that the majority of the community -- and a rather substantial number of Prospect Park West and Park Slope residents -- very much approve of PPW redesign. We will find that Mrs. Hainlain and friends represent a minority opinion on this matter.

At that point, will Mrs. Hainlain and her 25 wealthy, politically-influential NIMBY associates accept that result? Of course not. They'll claim that the survey result is fraudulent and irrelevant, just as they now claim the city and PSN's data is tainted.

By the way: Have the Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes every supported any bike lane anywhere? Do they have any particular expertise in bike lane design? What does a "better bike" lane look like aside from it not being on the street that they live on?
Nov. 2, 2010, 12:04 pm
Aaron from Slope says:
It's kind of like Stockholm Syndrome with these traffic-calming opponents. They're held hostage by the sociopathic and illegal behavior of Brooklyn drivers and yet they're response is basically: "The cars are double-parked and honking and spewing exhaust -- we'd better give them another lane and make it impossible for our non-honking, non-space-hogging, non-exhaust-spewing neighbors to ride a bike here!"
Nov. 2, 2010, 12:10 pm
Jess from CG says:
Will anyone think of the poor cars?!?!
Nov. 2, 2010, 12:43 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
We can't cross the street because there are too many cyclists -- except for when DOT reports that there are a lot of cyclists.

First Park Slope Neighbors lied, now DOT is lying.

Proponents and the agency responsible for New York City's streets have presented data, and we have no data, but we're telling the truth.

These people are too much. Time to give it up. Viva the new PPW.
Nov. 2, 2010, 2:13 pm
Justin from Park Slope says:
1) How can you say a bike is more dangerous than a car? I would rather be hit by a bicycle at top speed than a car driving on PPW.

2) The way bicyclists follow the law is a total separate issue, which i agree, should be better enforced in some way. But this can't be your argument if cars are violating laws as well. If you're going faster than 30 mph in the city, you are violating a law. and thats only one example.

3) This study smells fishy. I've ridden my bike on that lane a few times and saw few cyclists using it. They need more sampling time to have concrete evidence of this lanes effects.
Nov. 2, 2010, 2:31 pm
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:

You're exactly right. Ask them how many car lanes should be given to bikes, anywhere in the city, and their answer would be 'zero'.
Nov. 2, 2010, 2:34 pm
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
I use the bike lane to travel to and from work. There have always been other riders in sight when I do.
Nov. 2, 2010, 2:37 pm
Doug from Park Slope says:
Opponents need to get their stories straight:

1. No one uses the bike lane, so it's not necessary.
2. There are too many cyclists, making crossing dangerous for pedestrians.

Well, which is it? It's either a ghost town or it's too crowded to cross safely. Please pick one.

Yeah, it might be quiet on a weekday when most people are at work or school, but then again, so are some roads for cars. I was just up at PPW and there was only very light automobile traffic, since it's not rush hour. By opponents logic, can we please get rid of another traffic lane since there are times of day when very few people are driving on PPW?
Nov. 2, 2010, 2:43 pm
Mike from Nearby says:
To average 95 bikes per hour, you only need one rider to go each direction, for any distance, every minute and twenty seconds.

If the cranky lady thinks the city is faking the data, she should do her own study.
Nov. 2, 2010, 2:53 pm
StedyRock from Park Sleazy says:
The beauty of 95 bicyclists an hour is that it doesn't look like 95 automobiles. Don't blame the old bag, she just doesn't understand how so many people can take up such little room and still move quickly and efficiently.
Nov. 2, 2010, 3:04 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
Based on Google Street View, PPW traffic only requires one lane: 4th St, Brooklyn, Kings, New York 11215&ll=40.668351,-73.973715&spn=0.010449,0.022616&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=40.668155,-73.973883&panoid=NCpnWjHAi7Cln3be5EwWZA&cbp=12,203.11,,0,9.66
Nov. 2, 2010, 3:13 pm
j mork from prospect heights says:
I rode the lane this morning (8:04 - 8:07) from GAP to 8th street today, and saw 11 cyclists (including myself) in three minutes.

That works out to 220 an hour or 2,640 in a 12-hour period. So maybe the counts have gone up since the August.

According to the DOT the a.m. motor vehicle peak hour was 365 vehicles per lane in 2009. It won't take much more to have more bicycles per lane than motor vehicles per lane on PPW.

(But opponents will probably still have a feeling that no one is using the bike lane.)
Nov. 3, 2010, 9:36 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
"Neighbors for a Better Bike Lane?" Really? Segregating car and bike traffic is about the best possible kind of bike lane to have--safer for the cyclists and less nerve-wracking for the drivers who otherwise have to avoid hitting them.

Even putting the question of the bike lane's design and utility aside, I love how much it's calmed the traffic on PPW. I no longer fear for my kids' lives when they cross the street to play in the park every day.

If the Neighbors for a "Better" Bike Lane hate bikes so much, there is a simple solution: move to New Jersey where they hate bikes and worship cars too.
Nov. 3, 2010, 11:19 am
Aaron from Park Slope says:
I live on PPW and do not object to the new bike lane, but wish it could have been accomplished on the underutilized extremely wide sidewalk and not take away a lane of traffic. The revamp has undoubtedly had a traffic "calming" effect on PPW, at the cost of increased congestion due to the inevitable double parked cars/delivery trucks/etc. There is no perfect solution, only compromise. If people are driving so fast, why doesn't the cop that sits at the park entrance on 3rd st. ever pull any of them over? I also am curious what will happen when the snow comes and how many cars will be hit and run by the snow plows. Someone told me a good idea, if NYC foots the bill for these bike lanes, and we pay to register our cars (to NYS in theory to cover upkeep on our roads), why aren't bicycles registered? Safety inspection (lights/reflectors/bells)? All car owners seem to get the short end of the stick on these forums, but they foot the bill for the roads for all the bicyclists too. Just an idea.
Nov. 3, 2010, 1:24 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Why is it that the antis use disinformation as tactic so frequently?

User fees do not pay for the roads.

Since bicycling creates less wear-and-tear on the roads, bicyclists receive less road subsidy than drivers. Drivers also receive a huge the subsidy in the form of free on-street parking. No wonder car owners get the short end of the stick on these forums. They get the most and then complain the most when one lane on a street which was way under capacity is removed.

Also, motor vehicles require registration and insurance while bicycles do not because motor vehicles are several orders of magnitude more dangerous that bicycles.
Nov. 3, 2010, 2:24 pm
common sense from bay ridge says:
It wont be long until they start putting e-z pass tolls on these bike lanes, after they gouge everyone for registration and licensing of bikes.

Never underestimate how much Emperor Bloomberg desires to take more money from everyone. If it makes you feel better, free parking for cars is on its way out too. That might take until his 5th term though.
Nov. 3, 2010, 5:53 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Look around common sense, the city is a bit remiss with bike racks, and will cut chains and seize bikes on subways, lamp posts etc.

BUT - Mayor for life Mike has made it possible to park your bike for $8 - $10 per day in parking lots!

Who got the kickback for that???
Nov. 4, 2010, 12:10 pm
Mike from GP says:
“We’re not seeing [those numbers] on the bike path,” Hainlain [sic] said, adding that the biker data caused her and her group to doubt the veracity of the entire study.

In other words, "the studies contradict my biased, anecdotal observations." And Hainlaine is supposedly a scientist! How embarrassing for her.
Nov. 5, 2010, 7:44 am
Freddy from Flatbush says:
I have a solution to the arguement: Leave the bike lane as is, and re-open the southbound Park Drive to cars 24/7. That way, all non-local traffic will be re-routed away from PPW, reducing congestion and allow the bike lane to continue undisturbed.

Oh, I forgot: the bikers want the bike lane and the Park Drive. Even though they are parallel and right next to each other.
Nov. 6, 2010, 1:03 am
Pete from Park Slope says:
The best way to fix the latest traffic problems is to police the double parking in front of medical center at PPW and Union at GAP .

Car service vehicles double park, vans that should be carrying seniors safely abuse every traffic law, and food trucks park in front of the hydrants right on the corner.

Saturdays with the farmers market bring lots of folks to the area (which is good) but they don't behave and place the cars all over further clogging traffic. I love organic eggs and homemade donuts too but they cause all sorts of traffic congestion. (despite No Parking signs)
Nov. 6, 2010, 2:20 pm
Howard from Park Slope says:
When I was a kid...admittedly a very long time mother taught me to look both ways before crossing. As I've gotten older, she's gotten smarter (even though she's been dead a long time). So someone please explain to me why this isn't a good idea today...on ANY street.

Also, kindly tell me why it's harder for a senior citizen or mother with stroller to cross two lanes of slower traffic, and then be able to wait to cross the bike lane if necessary, then it is to cross three lanes of fast moving traffic.

I guess we shouldn't confuse the issue with facts.
Nov. 12, 2010, 12:54 pm
Bazooka Joe from Park Slope says:
Fact!I walk around the park every day, The bike lane is always empty. Saw 2 bikes in 2 hours the other day.
Why don't you learn how to "look both ways" when your riding your bikes. (just like those that grew up here have been doing forever!) and stop trying to have everyone conform to your demands?
Did the bogus study count how many of the riders were dressed like clowns and had beards like Shaggy from Scooby Doo? Because FACT, lifelong Brooklyn resident's really just want those useless Tools to die!
Dec. 22, 2010, 12:41 pm

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