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Mark Your Calendars: Thursday, March 10

March 4, 2011

Community Board 6 is holding a public hearing on Thursday, March 10 and it’s important that all those who support the traffic calming project show up in big numbers.

The details:

Thursday, March 10, 6:30 PM, John Jay High School Auditorium, 237 7th Ave, Between 4th and 5th Streets, Brooklyn.  (F train at 7th Avenue is the closest subway stop.)

Here’s the agenda for the evening.

– Review and discussion of (i) proposed modifications to the Prospect Park West bike lane configuration; (ii) other modifications that were suggested in responses to the community survey by Council Members Lander and Levin and Brooklyn CB6, and; (iii) other issues concerning existing or proposed bike lanes within the Brooklyn CB6 district.

I’m told there will be an opportunity for public input, so get there early in case there’s a sign-up list.

Here’s an important distinction between previous meetings and this one: what’s on the table are discussions about “modifications” to the bike lane, including those that were suggested in the Lander/Levin survey.  The issue of moving the lane or changing the protective nature of its design does not seem to be a matter for discussion, although it will come up.  Remember, the survey did not find a significant number of people who wanted to move the bike lane into the park or turn it into two painted lines running next to car traffic.  The whole point was traffic calming, which has been achieved with outstanding results on PPW, but can not be achieved by a lane in the park or lines of paint on the street.

However, that seems to be precisely what Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes wants.  Here’s Louise Hainline in the Brooklyn Paper:

…we support moving the two-way bike lane to the “green-way” already on the West Drive of adjacent Prospect Park. In the alternative, the city could follow its own Master Bicycle Plan, approved by Community Board 6 in 2007, by changing the current configuration into a simple “Class II,” one-way southbound lane on Prospect Park West paired with a northbound lane on Avenue.

In case you’re wondering what a Class II bike lane is, here’s a picture:

Hainline needs to know that this is not safe.  It does nothing to stop cars from speeding, it does not protect pedestrians and cyclists, and it is simply not what the overwhelming majority of the community wants.  It’s also not what we should be talking about anymore.  As Brad Lander said at the last CB6 meeting on the subject, the data clearly “shows the project is working to me and that we should keep it and move forward.”

Also note that the agenda includes something about discussing “existing or proposed bike lanes” within CB6.  NBBL is already taking credit for the chilling effect their actions may have had on other bike lanes in the neighborhood with Norman Steisel boasting to the Brooklyn Paper, “We have opened up a debate [and] a lot of people are questioning the process by which lanes are put in.”  My guess is that they want to keep that debate going for a long, long time and are happy to see it spill over to every neighborhood in the city as long as it helps them at home.

That’s why it’s important for you to be there.  I know that activism fatigue can set in.  I felt it after the last CB6 meeting, especially when Lois Carswell, after getting an explanation from Ryan Russo on why NBBL’s data differed from the DOT’s, said, “I disagree with your logic.”  I even feel it as I write this post.

Logic would tell us that it’s time to move on, to get to the real problems of the neighborhood, to expand bike lanes in areas where they could have a similar life-saving and community-enhancing effect.  But NBBL has exhibited time and again that logic is not a factor in this debate, at least not for them.  They’ll dismiss DOT studies as incomplete or dishonest, use the threat of lawsuits, biased media reports, a sympathetic borough president, and the influence of a certain U.S. senator to help them achieve their goals, but then cry foul that a well-organized group of bike advocates are advancing their agenda on unsuspecting neighborhood residents.

The new PPW makes everyone safer, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike, and the only thing that can preserve it is a good turnout at this meeting.

See you there.

  1. March 4, 2011 11:32 am

    So the agenda is to consider proposed changes? How about the “good guys” answer with fire by bringing their own proposed changes, such as WIDENING the two lanes in the bikeway?

  2. March 4, 2011 1:05 pm

    I think sticking to the changes that have already been discussed — raised concrete pedestrian islands, better signage, etc. — should be enough ammo for the good guys here. We should really focus on how we can make the interactions between pedestrians and cyclists as safe and effective as possible.

    If there are chances for cyclists to show that they are on the side of pedestrian safety and not just in it for themselves, that can only reap positive results.

  3. Real Brooklyn permalink
    March 7, 2011 8:57 am

    Real Brooklynites will be there, not hipsters. You’ll be outnumbered and your precious bike lane will be gone by summer.

    • Real_New_Yorker permalink
      March 7, 2011 6:45 pm

      Actually “real brooklyn” most of us who use the bike lane are not “hipsters’. And if you think that your snide remarks have an effect on people who bike on a regular basis, you’re wrong. But then again my opinion doesn’t matter to you does it now? All you care about is having more room to drive your oversized SUV to the food co-op. Guess what? I drive too on a daily basis but unlike most drivers, i am aware of others around me including bikers and pedestrians. I don’t go above 30mph on city streets, unless I’m on my bike and it’s a downhill ;). I wonder if you have ever been hit by a car moving at 40mph while in another car. I wonder if you have ever been sideswiped by a car going 50mph while on a bicycle. Both have happened to me. Let’s keep the lane and get rid of Marty Mark-of-witch

    • Joan Hutcheson permalink
      March 9, 2011 1:31 pm

      In my experience, the bikers seem to be mostly commuters going to/from work, families going to/from the park, and delivery guys… not really overrun with the neighborhood’s “hipsters”. Honestly, why does that even make a difference? The street is now safer for everyone! I don’t understand what’s so threatening about that.
      All of our taxes pay for these streets. All “real Brooklynites” (which, like it or not, includes those DREADED hipsters) deserve to be able to walk, ride, or drive down them SAFELY.

  4. ACS permalink
    March 7, 2011 9:16 am

    it’s an important meeting but unfortunately I won’t be able to make it. it’s a great asset to the community and I hope we can move beyond it to look at other lanes in CB6 to make things safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

    And just one note of clarification for the last commenter, but the primary users of this bike lane are NOT hipsters… I ride it regularly and have to say that from my completely unscientific sample of people passing by, the vast majority are parents with children or middle aged commuters. It’s fairly shameful that “NBBL” wants to take away such a great family amenity to the community. Maybe bike advocates should stop talking about cyclists and take about this as who is for/against families in the neighborhood. That will bring park slopers out in force.

    • Byron permalink
      March 10, 2011 1:19 pm

      I can’t make it either, but I’m sure that plenty of cyclists will be there, trying to ensure our continued safety despite the ongoing opposition.

  5. March 7, 2011 8:33 pm

    I don’t know how one defines hipster precisely, but if it can be defined as a 37-year-old married, working father of one, then yes, I’m a hipster.

    Thank you for reading.


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