Where are the PPW Safety Enhancements?
As long as the designated pedestrian-only spaces along Prospect Park West remain level with the car lanes and are protected only by flimsy plastic bollards, these areas will be vulnerable to abuse much in the same way a real island at sea level would be flooded over with each small tidal surge.
As you can see, even an eco-conscious Prius owner can value his own convenience over other people’s safety. Only street design protects against people driving blindly through a cloud of smug:
This temporary loading and unloading was the least of the abuses I saw on Saturday. One example began with a driver who double-parked his car and ran over to the greenmarket to do some shopping, ignoring the open spot right behind him. I don’t know what it says that this guy also drove a Prius:
A driver in a grey pick-up pulled up behind the empty Prius and tried to access the parking spot. He couldn’t nose in, so he backed up about three car lengths, pulled alongside the tan gravel of the pedestrian island, and drove across it onto the bike lane:
I have no idea what the driver would have done had the blocked spot been further down. Would he have driven an entire block to access it, or would he have cut through the next pedestrian island and backed up through the bike lane?
Here’s the driver pulling alongside the open spot. Out of frame, a few cyclists had stopped to avoid this guy. By this point, the Prius driver had come back and moved his double-parked car. Note the rumble strips that are meant to warn cyclists to slow down at pedestrian crossings. They’re not as good at telling drivers not to drive on the bike lane:
The driver then backed into the spot. Thank goodness no other driver had pulled up on the correct side and tried to snag it:
The obvious irony here is that the same NBBL members who complain endlessly about the historic and aesthetic desecration of the once-grand boulevard and warn of the potential dangers of an “experimental” two-way bike lane are now largely responsible for preventing historically appropriate design and safety enhancements from being implemented.
This is precisely why this PPW foolishness needs to end. If it doesn’t, the next time a driver decides to do something reckless, he might hit a senator.