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Council bike data bill will prove us right — foes and cycle supporters say

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Friends and foes of bike lanes can’t wait for a new city bike-crash data law to take effect — because both sides think it will show they’re right.

Just about everyone in this cycling-obsessed borough is happy that the City Council passed a trio of bills last week that will require officials to gather collision statistics — and release data about two wheel-related fatalities, injuries and infractions.

Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, a group of Park Slopers that is opposed to the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane, thinks that the numbers will vindicate them by proving that the new lane has made the street more dangerous.

“Bikers are now a hazard in their own right,” said Louise Hainline, president of the group. “People don’t feel safe.”

But Noah Budnick, a spokesman for the cycling advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, said his organization is just as jazzed about the legislation, which, he claimed, was inspired by a 2009 report by his group that shows that dangerous drivers are the real problem.

Other Brooklynites battling for street turf may have missed the new legislation, which the City Council quietly passed on Feb. 16.

The three bills would:

• Make the Department of Transportation compile all collision data involving bicycles.

• Make cops report both car and bicycle infractions online every month, along with info about what led to the bang-ups.

Make the Department of Transportation explain — with data to back it up — why it has rejected a request for a traffic light or stop sign. And it needs to show data to back up the decision.

Whatever the collected data show, critics of the Prospect Park West bike lane said the very existence of the legislation is evidence that they aren’t alone in their fight.

“It’s not just a local problem; it’s citywide,” said Lois Carswell of Seniors for Safety, which has long opposed the lane. “There have been a lot of troubling ways the city has constructed these lanes.”

But the city says that its Prospect Park West bike lane has made the neighborhood safer for drivers and for cyclists.

In January, the Department of Transportation said that its data shows that crashes are down 16 percent and those that occur are half as likely to include an injury; cars are much more likely to drive at or below the speed limit; and that no pedestrian injuries or pedestrian-cyclist crashes have occurred since the lane was installed last June.

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Reader Feedback

al pankin from downtown says:
the bikers are a dangerous bunch, they just speed along without any regard for anyone or anything in their way. alot of drivers just don't see them comming.
Feb. 22, 2011, 7:05 am
Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
These new laws are great; anything that can make city government more transparent and our streets safer is a win for all New Yorkers.

But the contention by the so-called "Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes" that these new laws will somehow "vindicate" their misguided efforts to return Prospect Park West to its former three-lane-speedway configuration is pure fantasy.

In case they didn't notice, the city released all of the crash data pertaining to the Prospect Park West redesign on January 20th, and it showed that crashes and injuries of all types have been sharply reduced since the redesign was implemented. And given that the 78th Precinct has only issued a little more than 30 cycling summonses precinct-wide since the start of the year, it's clear that cycling is hardly the menace these people claim it to be.

We supporters of the safer, smarter new PPW -- the vast majority of Park Slope residents -- say bring on the data outlined in these new laws. They'll only add to the mountain of evidence that the PPW redesign has made the street safer for everyone who uses it.
Feb. 22, 2011, 8:59 am
Steve from PPW says:
Louise Hainline is an expert on bikes, bike lanes, and bike "hazard" all over the city now? That's a joke. If they removed the bike lane in front of her apartment, she wouldn't care about bikes anymore. She's a hack, with no understanding of "data" and has no business teaching, much less being a dean at a college.

I don't care how she "feels." That's her issue. The data is clear...more data will show that bikes are not the terrible menace she claims. When will these people give it up and when will the Brooklyn Paper stop quoting them? They are not experts, just NIMBYs and neighborhood pariahs with an axe to grind.

Please, Louise, just stay inside 9 PPW if you are so afraid of shadows.
Feb. 22, 2011, 9:12 am
Resident from PPW says:
To reiterate from my prior posts, yes, the bike lane has made PPW safer. But PPW safety could have been accomplished by speed bumps or staggering the traffic lights (it works on Eastern Parkway).

I remain opposed to the bike lanes because PPW now looks like a parking lot. It used to be a beautiful avenue. Accomondations to the biking public could have been accomplished by upgrading the bike lane to handle two way bike traffic inside Prospect Park (banning cars if necessary).

At the end of the day, it just feels that bike lanes are more about the mayor's legacy, public be damned.
Feb. 22, 2011, 10:21 am
Billy from Greenpoint says:
> the bikers are a dangerous bunch, they just speed along without any regard for anyone or anything in their way. alot of drivers just don't see them comming.

The drivers are a dangerous bunch, they just speed along without any regard for anyone or anything in their way. A lot of pedestrians just don't see them coming.

My favorite is when drivers speed up to chase me out of the intersection when I've got the right-of-way. I mean, hey! I need the exercise!!
Feb. 22, 2011, 10:29 am
Billy from Greenpoint says:
> I remain opposed to the bike lanes because PPW now looks like a parking lot. It used to be a beautiful avenue.

Then you are an idiot, and I hope nobody listens to you.

Also, it does not look like a parking lot, what planet are you living on? It's still a beautiful avenue, and I've got news for you--most of these beautiful Brooklyn boulevards looked a whole lot better before they were choked with automobiles.

In fact, let's cobblestone the street, since beauty is what's important here! I bet you'll love driving a luxury suv down a stone-paved street.
Feb. 22, 2011, 10:34 am
Steve from PPW says:
Put the trolley back on PPW!
Feb. 22, 2011, 10:42 am
mike from GP says:
I'm not sure of the relevancy of Louise Hainline, Lois Carsbad, Normal Steisel or any of the other elitist NIMBYS on PPW are to this article. They are not experts on biking, bike lanes or anything remotely close to the issue.
Feb. 22, 2011, 10:43 am
VLM from Park Slope says:
Hey "resident":

If the street looks like a parking lot, why don't you lobby to eliminate free on-street parking instead? Then, we could have a prettier city without the blight of 2000 pounds of metal sitting empty on the street. What a joke.
Feb. 22, 2011, 10:47 am
mike from GP says:
And another thing.. I am amazed at the persistence of safe PPW opponents in saying that there's a bike lane in Prospect Park that people can use. This "alternative" is simply not an alternative. It doesn't solve the speeding problem on PPW, doesn't reduce sidewalk riding and doesn't increase pedestrian or bicyclist safety on PPW. The lane inside Prospect Park can mean a trip MILES out of the way, only goes in one direction, is unavailable after 1AM, and is often congested with recreational users.

Some safety opponents have even suggested making the Park roads car-free. Great! Glad you're joining the rest of Brooklyn years later. But i guarantee you if this were actually proposed, the same NIMBYS would be up in arms, complaining about their sacred right to drive whereever, when-ever and however they want.

Admit it already, you're just afraid of change, even if it works out better for all. Please resolve your underlying psychological issues before you foist your problems on your neighbors again. This is not a joke.
Feb. 22, 2011, 11:07 am
Bill of Boerum Hill from Boerum Hill says:
Good fair reporting by your reporter Natalie O'Neill.
[No financial inducement or consideration provided nor
family relationship or personal acquaintance involved in
this reader comment]
Feb. 22, 2011, 11:08 am
Steve from PPW says:
Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Seniors for Safety are the same group. Quoting them both makes it seem as if there's twice as much opposition to the PPW bike lane as there really is.

Carswell: “There have been a lot of troubling ways the city has constructed these lanes.”

Why does O'Neill let this claim go unsubstantiated? Can Carswell elaborate? The PPW redesign goes back to 2006 with community input and involvement every step of the way. There have been tons of hearings and meetings about it over five years. NBBL just never paid attention.

This is bad reporting, the least of which results from quoting a group of people who can not tell the truth.
Feb. 22, 2011, 11:25 am
Labann from virtual says:
Motorists are a dangerous bunch; they just speed along without any regard for anyone or anything in their way. A lot of humans just don't see them coming... and die needlessly.

All onus for traffic safety is on motorists and traffic planners, both of whom routinely disregard other legitimate and vulnerable users of roads.

Worldwide each year, 1.3 million die in traffic accidents, half of whom aren't motorists.
Feb. 22, 2011, 11:59 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Impeach Putz Schumer!
Feb. 22, 2011, 2:20 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Why am I not surprised to hear even more personal attacks on those that oppose the bike lanes especially when they get interviewed. You guys and Noah Budnick had your say on this, so why can't others such as us and Louise Hainline have ours'? As for the claim about making PPW a parking lot, Marica Kramer, who I know some of you are wishing to be dead, interviewed people who live right there and saw it out of their own window. Truthfully, I won't be surprised if JSK skews data as she does have a history of doing that. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that cyclists will be flouting more traffic laws than motorists do especially when they tend to claim that the rules don't apply to them, which is what gives them opponents in the first place.
Feb. 22, 2011, 5:50 pm
mike from GP says:
Tal, your acting skills are amazing. You almost had me convinced that you believe the stuff you write. But then I realized that nobody could actually believe the stream of ridiculous, fact-challenged and slanderous garbage you continually spout.
Feb. 22, 2011, 6:59 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I can say the same thing about you and your friends over on Streetsblog, mike
Feb. 22, 2011, 7:26 pm
Resident from PPW says:
To Billy from Greenpoint, please let me respond to each point you raise:

a) Then you are an idiot, and I hope nobody listens to you.

Response: Wow Billy, is this how you argue a point? I get a sense from your anger that you didn't learn how to share and play nice when you were younger.

Whether we agree or disagree, in the original post I presented my opinion and yet I was able to to do that without being insulting, calling anyone names or mocking their opinion.

b) Also, it does not look like a parking lot, what planet are you living on? It's still a beautiful avenue, and I've got news for you--most of these beautiful Brooklyn boulevards looked a whole lot better before they were choked with automobiles.

Response: Billy I am not that old that I remember a time where there were no cars on the street. I was born and raised in Brooklyn and always remember automobiles parked on the street. But maybe you have a point, I guess our mail, Fed Ex, UPS, Fresh Direct, moving trucks, etc... wouldn't be able to make their deliveries to the residents of Park Slope and Prospect Park West. And all the families that use their automobiles who live in the Park Slope should be car-less also? Sorry, automobiles are a way of life, even in Park Slope and Prospect Park West.

c) In fact, let's cobblestone the street, since beauty is what's important here! I bet you'll love driving a luxury suv down a stone-paved street.

Billy, as a matter of fact I recently purchased an SUV (for a multitude of practical reasons). However, I love driving on cobblestone. In Tribeca there are some streets that are cobblestoned and I will tell you, I slow down when I drive. Mmmm, another way to slow down the vehicles on PPW. Thanks, I didn't think of that alternative.

Now can't we agree to disagree? However, if we can't disagree, then the best way to end this post is, "Then you are an idiot, and I hope nobody listens to you.".
Feb. 22, 2011, 8:32 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I have reporter all of the previous imposters.
Feb. 22, 2011, 8:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
For the record, I was not even on the computer after 7:26 as I was having dinner, and didn't come back until 7:55. Those three posts after 7:26 are not done by me as is the one done at 8:38 as I had to go to the train station to pick up my father who was comming home from work. I wouldn't be surprised if this was mike doing the impersonation seeing how much he attacks me so much for disagreeing with him on the bike lanes and realized that just using his name was not enough, so he downplays it by using impersonations such as making fun of my name, which I have faced so long enough just because I am not American-born, but Israeli-born, and people have always insulted me on that. This will be my last post of the night, so anything after this will mostly like be some imposter pretending to be me.
Feb. 22, 2011, 9:14 pm
Mike says:
My God, Tal, your father rides the train? How can you allow that in your household?

Also: Persecution complex much?
Feb. 22, 2011, 11:55 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, you sound like a good suspect to being that imposter. You have a grudge on me whenever I state my views and make personal attacks on it. Also, you tend to be in denial of what happened. All of that does lead to you being the imposter. The only reason I made that comment was to prove what was really posted by me and what wasn't. Just come clean and admit that it was you doing that, which is really low even for you. Those comments are only gone because I reported them and they got deleted as a result.
Feb. 23, 2011, 5:56 pm
mike from GP says:
(BTW, I'm not the "Mike" above). Tal, if anything, you are a never-ending source of amusement. You may be wrong 99.9% of the time, but I for one hope you keep your schtick up.
Feb. 23, 2011, 5:59 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just quit the lying and admit that you impersonated me, mike from GP, because you do fit the description and suspicions very well.
Feb. 23, 2011, 7:13 pm
mike from GP says:
Hehe, ok, whatever dude!
Feb. 23, 2011, 8:17 pm
JAY from PSLOPE says:
Mike......REALLY????. I see you on here all the time and all you do is call someone names if they don't like the bike lane. Calling someone a name does not make you right, and proclaiming that you are right also does not make it so.
I am guessing you are one of those guys riding a 3 thousand dollar bike in the park with spandex pants and a race jersey of some team yelling at people to get out of your way when they are in the cross walks and have the light. If not, you sure act like it on this board.
I think I saw a survey on this site that said 22% of the people who live on PPW hate this thing. Thats not a majority but its not a small cadre of NIMBYs (as you love to bleet) either.

Feb. 23, 2011, 10:57 pm
mike from GP says:
JAY: Yes, really. You've got me confused with another "Mike".

And no, I don't ride a $3000 bike, not that that's relevant in any way. I can't stand those guys in CP that pull that —— you describe.
Feb. 23, 2011, 11:30 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
To add to what JAY mentioned on stats, I think some should read what James Madison said in Federalist No 51 when he wrote this. He was against the idea of majority tryanny in which the minority should be thrown out. Also, he didn't like the idea of having just over half either. His whole idea was to allow for the minority to have a say even if their numbers were smaller. Tyranny has been know to create class warfares that lead to revolutions just for always being outvoted no matter what they belived in. There is a good reason why so many decisions through administrations are not done by popularity contests either, but rather the input of those who are concerned about the issues. How it relates to this is basically that despite the fact that under a quarter opposes, they are still granted as much of a say to this as if they were part of the majority. Keep in mind that politicians need to represent everyone they are considered part of them be it a district, city, county, state, or even country, not just a certain group.
Feb. 23, 2011, 11:47 pm
Mike says:
So basically you want to keep talking about this forever? That doesn't make any sense. The project is a success. A small but vocal minority oppose it. Fine. That's their right. But it doesn't mean it should be removed. End of story.
Feb. 24, 2011, 12:43 am
CITIZEN JAY from PSLOP says:
wrong again mike, people are free to complain about it as long as they want, and to petition the government to address it, and build support for their point of view, its protected under the First Amendment. You don't get to decide that everyone has to shut up now. That is just straight up fascist.
It is precisely this kind of display on your part that makes so many people in this town angry with the bicycle cabal.
Feb. 24, 2011, 8:57 pm
mike from GP says:
CITIZEN JAY: Now that's silly.
Feb. 24, 2011, 9:08 pm
Mike says:
Of course they have the right to complain. Unfortunately, they also have the right to waste millions of our tax dollars with a doomed lawsuit that has no chance of prevailing, and is more a political statement than an actual attempt to change the situation. Ironic that a group so ostensibly concerned with the public purse would force a defense of a crazy lawsuit.
Feb. 24, 2011, 11:32 pm
CITIZENJAY from PSLOPE says:
Oh you mean wasting money like bike protests, who ride down the street blocking everyone and everything an requiring millions of police overtime? You mean wasting money like that Mike?
Are you a lawyer mike? Are you qualified to comment on the merits of a lawsuit? Did you go to law school and pass a bar exam or are you just attempting to practice law without a license?
Feb. 25, 2011, 11:03 pm
Mike says:
Jay, you're just as crazy as Tal, but you're not as much fun to argue with. You might want to work on that.
Feb. 25, 2011, 11:22 pm
Labann from elsewhere says:
Thank God for the bicycle cabal, whatever that is. Devil take the vocal minority, which is a handful of uber-rich who've routinely plow under mass opinion. The clock is ticking on Peak Oil. In about 20 years, these arguments won't matter, because everyone will be biking and walking on otherwise empty streets and none will own computers to costly to ship from China.
April 3, 2011, 3:01 pm

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