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City: PPW Bike Lane Is In Best Location

The city has filed a defense to a lawsuit against the two-way bike lane.

According to the City of New York, the Prospect Park West bike lane is in the perfect place.

In court documents filed earlier this month in Kings County Supreme Court, the city has mounted its first official defense against a by Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Seniors for Safety calling from the removal of the controversial two-way, parking-protected bike lane.

The groups have argued that the lanes are not only dangerous and “arbitrary,” but that the Department of Transportation skewed statistics in the bike path’s favor.

In the 39-page response to the lawsuit, the city claims, among other things, that the lane couldn’t have been located anywhere else in Park Slope, that it was installed based on industry guidelines and that all analysis of the lanes has been correct and sound (see the entire document ).

The document refuted NBBL and SFS’s accusations that the city did not accurately analyze lane data and that the lanes are dangerous.

Furthermore, the defense argues that none of this really matters anyways, because the suit was filed after the statute of limitations on the lanes had run up.

Earlier this month, Councilmember Brad Lander and former Community Board 6 Chairman Richard Bashner filed a supporting the bike path, arguing that the lane’s installation last June was ultimately the result of years of public process.

Proponents of the lane, including the DOT, have maintained that the lane has improved safety on the pretty boulevard. The DOT has even planned to make further to the lane to enhance lane safety and aesthetic even further – which Community Board 6 also approved, unanimously. They argue that it has been continually supported by the community board, civic institutions, and the majority of local residents – as found in twice in separate independent studies by and .

The matter will next hit the courts on Wednesday.

Peter Kaufman June 17, 2011 at 01:07 AM
@Doug - What are those.. facts? You can prove anything that's remotely true with facts!
Parksloper June 17, 2011 at 01:13 AM
From the Quinnipiac poll "Based on their own observations, only 26 percent of New York City voters think bike lanes are widely used, while 44 percent say they are not widely used and 29 percent don't know. "We sort of like bike lanes but few of us see any sign that they're heavily used," Carroll said. From May 4 - 9, Quinnipiac University surveyed 962 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones. " Proves how ridiculous bike lanes are. Less than 1% of new yorkers use bikes lanes to get to work.
Park Sloperstein June 17, 2011 at 01:29 AM
If the bike lane is redundant then how come, prior to its installation, I was constantly biking on the sidewalk to get me and my family home from the 9th Street playground? Explain that. As for the most beautiful boulevard in Brooklyn: You know what really destroyed the historic aesthetics of PPW? What destroyed the beauty of PPW was the mid-20th century traffic engineering project that got rid of trolley service, narrowed the sidewalks, and turned the street into a one-way, three-lane superhighway zipping automobiles from Grand Army Plaza to Windsor Terrace at 50 mph. Allowing local residents to occupy two entire curbside lanes to park their space-hogging, view-destroying private automobiles is, likewise, ugly and anti-historic. http://brooklynspoke.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/which-historic-charm-pt-4 Put aside your talking points for a minute and read the City's response to Iris Weinshall and Louise Hainline's ridiculous law suit, Loren. There you'll find some remarkably clear and sensible explanations for why PPW is exactly where a two-way protected bike lane belongs. If you bother to look at Brad Lander's amicus brief, you'll also see that this project was not "forced" on anyone. It was requested by many individuals and organizations in the neighborhood and was developed over the course of four years in an open and transparent process.
Peter Kaufman June 17, 2011 at 01:33 AM
@parksloper Let's repeat once again, why the Community Board requested the PPW bike lane: 1) traffic calming of PPW 2) get bikes off of sidewalk You're like that character in "Cuckoo's Nest" played by Danny Devito, the one who keeps saying "Hit me."
Park Sloperstein June 17, 2011 at 01:36 AM
No, Robert. Actually, much of the safety for drivers and everyone else comes from the narrowness of the lanes. http://www.howwedrive.com/2010/12/23/on-bike-lanes-road-widths-and-traffic-safety I know this is a lot to ask -- particularly since NBBL has set the post-Bush Administration gold standard for using data to obscure the truth -- but can bike lane haters please just start backing up their arguments with some semblance of fact or educated opinion?
Park Sloperstein June 17, 2011 at 01:45 AM
You know what's ridiculous? That you think a survey question about people's perception of bike lanes is the same as facts about bike lanes. There is no question that the PPW bike lane is "widely used" and enjoyed by an overwhelming majority of your neighbors. Your 1% figure is also wrong. Lots more than one percent of Park Slope residents use bikes for errands, commuting, school drop-offs, recreation and getting around the neighborhood. Jim Brennan's survey showed a remarkably high percentage of respondents using bikes in the neighborhood.
Judy June 17, 2011 at 02:07 AM
The salient sentence is "Based on their own observations." Thankfully, we have a DOT that bases street design no on random observations but on data and facts. All measurable facts prove that the bike lane is making the street safer. The fact that NBBL chooses not to believe the facts doesn't make the facts less true. Less than 50% of New Yorkers own and use cars to get to work. Should we cut the number of roads in half?
Chicken Underwear June 17, 2011 at 10:51 AM
The problem is that car owners keep using the crosswalks to store their property. http://whatyourdonotknowbecauseyouarenotme.blogspot.com/2011/05/why-we-need-raised-pedestrian-islands.html This makes it almost impossible for cyclist and people crossing the bike lane to see each other.
Kevin Beers June 17, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Hey Peter if Parkaloper is like Danny Devito, you are like Rainman spouting the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over. Except his numbers added up.
Bo June 17, 2011 at 12:37 PM
This City was always a decent place to have bikes, cars, trains, homes. Anything that was once common sense is now something to be litigated, pontificated, taxed & ticketed into the realm of stupidity. There's no reason they can't co-exist. They did for 100 years. Until his eminence. Like everything that he touches - the only winners are the lawyers & politicians . If you do it he'll find a way to tax it. Builds bike lanes, then sends cops to give ticket riders. Speaks of gun control, then arms our cops with lethal bullets and semi-automatic guns. Turn our streets into plazas that create traffic jams, then send cops to give tickets to smokers in the plazas. There have always been lunatic bike riders, drivers, Gun owners, fat or skinny folks, etc who need to be tamed. Our emperor gives with one hand and takes with 2. This bike lane is the least of the problems or needs. There's a 20 foot curb & a park (that is closed to traffic). You can't ride on the side walk. Why not? They did 100 years. Use some common sense. Ride like a human being & leave the lawyers out of it. If someone is really out of control, we have more than enough laws to deal with it. We don't need to make more lanes & more laws that require more cops to enforce. Lets stop all the bull crap & just learn to be civil & live with each other. Cars, Bike, Motorcycle, Black, White, Fat, Skinny, etc. Do we need to pay our elected & their henchmen(Police) to tell us how to do these things? How far have we fallen?
Meredith June 17, 2011 at 12:55 PM
So much for keeping it civil, Kevin.
eveostay June 17, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Tell it to the judge, loren. We're tired of the lies, misinformation and hysteria from bike lane opponents. The street's safer now. It carries the same number of motorized vehicles and many more bicycles. There is no negative.
Parksloper June 17, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Peter Kaufman.... and you're stuck on stupid with your traffic calming BS. Traffic is anything but calming and I walk the Parkside almost every evening. Cars honking constantly. Nobody can drop anyone off without fear of getting run over. It's a nightmare. PPW existed for decades just fine before the anti-car nuts showed up forcing these lanes on people just so a few can use them Gee Meredith, but Peter's comment you had no problem with?
Parksloper June 17, 2011 at 02:28 PM
From Nov. 2010: "Detractors are still mystified by Ms. Sadik-Khan's dedication to bike lanes when less than one-half of one percent of New Yorkers bike to work." http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20101121/FREE/311219981
Chicken Underwear June 17, 2011 at 02:36 PM
I don't ride my bike to work but I ride the bike lane about twice a week. 52 weeks a year.
Meredith June 17, 2011 at 02:39 PM
I'd like everyone to keep it civil, Parksloper. But Kevin commented on a previous thread about how mean pro-bike-lane advocates are. Kevin can't tell people how much he hates the tone of the "debate" but then add to the negative tone himself. Peter's tone is not hypocritical, even if it is uncivil. If you want to make it easier to drop people off, maybe the city could remove a couple of parking spaces every few blocks and create more loading zones? Also, PPW existed for decades just fine before cars showed up. Streets change with the times. http://brooklynspoke.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/which-historic-charm/ http://brooklynspoke.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/which-historic-charm-part-2/
Chicken Underwear June 17, 2011 at 02:43 PM
First I don't think we should build streets to make it easy to double park. But if someone is going to double park to drop someone off, I think it would be safer for everyone if traffic is going slower. If I have to stop and block a lane of traffic I would be safer to do it on 8th Ave than on The Belt Parkway.
Meredith June 17, 2011 at 02:52 PM
I don't bike to work. I bike my kids to school and to soccer practice. Do I count?
Park Sloperstein June 17, 2011 at 02:54 PM
The 1% figure is wrong and irrelevant. Crain's has a beef with Janette Sadik-Khan and their reporting has been awful on this stuff. JSK is a visionary female leader trying to make significant change in NYC. Some of the changes she wants to make don't appear to benefit wealthy corporate business people who ride around the city in black cars all day. Crain's, like the folks who live in the mansions on PPW, doesn't like transportation policy aimed at the non-black car riding elite. So be it. You remember Assemblyman Jim Brennan's survey from a few months back? Maybe not. He released it late on a Friday because he hates the PPW bike lane but his survey showed that most of the community disagrees with him. One of the more astounding facts to come out of Brennan's survey was that 30% -- 30%! -- of respondents "ride a bicycle on a regular basis in Brooklyn." More than a quarter of respondents had ridden on the PPW lane. New Yorkers are using bikes for a lot more than just commuting to work. In the the Slope, people are using bikes to take their kids to school, see a movie at BAM, pick up groceries, get some exercise, go to dinner on 5th Avenue and to deliver your Thai food in a timely fashion.
Peter Kaufman June 17, 2011 at 03:13 PM
>Forcing these lanes on people? That would be the Community Board, voting over a period of years, over and over again, in support of the lanes. You have not one scintilla of evidence - not an iotoa! It's pathetic, and when NBBL gets bounced out of court next week, hopefully that will be that. If you don't like honking, etc. then call on the cops to enforce the law about double-parking, and car-honking for that matter. What I suspect really galls Steisel/Weinshall, et al, is that they haven't been able to game this, as they normally could. If the bike lane were 'unprotected', and just a can of paint designated it, do you think a single one of them would ever get a ticket for parking in it? But now, if they double-park, as is their wont, traffic backs up. Life sure is tough. And what. .I can't double park or race at 50+mph down the street just so some lousy kids won't get killed? The NERVE of some people.
Kevin Beers June 17, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Meredith, really? That was an uncivil remark? Peter compared someone to Danny Devito and I Responed with my own comparison. This really is not in a league with previous comments such as opponents are old and should be in old folks homes or dead. Or that the pro bono lawyer should be disbarred. Or that opponents had no eight to voice their complaints and should just shut up. Or worst of all that if you oppose you're a Republican. I'm afraid that your concern with civility is a bit disingenuous.
Frank June 17, 2011 at 03:34 PM
Kevin, I thought you were removing yourself from the debate because it got so uncivil? Anyway, maybe it will be more civil if we all go offline. Would you like to meet to talk about some of this stuff in person? I could meet anywhere in the Slope when it's convenient to you. I sincerely believe if a few of us met in person we'd be able to listen better and with more respect.
Park Sloperstein June 17, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Kevin, Jim Walden should be disbarred. His law suit is a complete piece of junk. It's made-for-media and has virtually no merit from a legal standpoint. He has used the law suit to go on TV and slander members of our community, smear the Community Board and our City Councilman, and overtly call on really good civil servants at DOT to get fired from their jobs. For about four years, from the time when CB6 first formally requested DOT study the possibility of a two-way protected bike path on PPW, we had a very healthy, transparent, democratic and CIVIL public process and discussion of problems and solutions on PPW. Civility broke down only when a group of remarkably patronizing and entitled mansion- and penthouse-owners on PPW decided that they were going to try to circumvent our local democratic process by hiring high-powered attorneys, public relation firms and political consultants to subvert the will of the community and smear and demean their neighbors in the process -- just to get rid of a bike lane. If the tone of this comment comes across to you as un-civil, I'm sorry. But the amount of time, energy and resources you people have wasted over this issue is virtually criminal. This is the comments section of a blog. If you want more civil conversation, try showing up to a Community Board or Civic Council meeting. Try participating in your neighborhood political process rather than suing your community and behaving like a bully.
Park Sloperstein June 17, 2011 at 05:58 PM
And yet again, a debate over the "controversial" PPW redesign project ends with opponents whining about people being mean in the comments section of a blog. This is, apparently, the crux of their case. It's their best argument. Pathetic.
Annie Paulsen June 17, 2011 at 07:50 PM
The park isn't an option for bicycle commuters. Traffic only goes one way. And if you really are a serious commuter, getting home in order to make dinner, help kids with homework, etc., doesn't lend itself to a leisurely wending and winding through the park. To make it easier and safer for people to commute on bikes in this city benefits all. In my 10-mile commute to the UWS, that stretch on PPW used to be the most dangerous (or rivaled Chambers coming off the bridge). It is now safe. The biggest pain in the neck are pedestrians oblivious to the bikers -- walking blindly into the crosswalks. Together we will all learn to adjust to a more biker friendly New York City. (And traffice on PPW before the bike lanes was just too damn fast.)
Amy June 17, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Kevin, maybe you should have taken the high road and not responded. The "but they started it!" defense is something I'm teaching my six-year-old to outgrow. If you want the debate to remain civil, don't engage with people who aren't civil. Stick to the facts. But then again, you have none, so I understand why you sink to the level of name calling.
Peter Kaufman June 17, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Frank, That is a good idea. We can grab lawn chairs and we sit out there - pro and cons alike, and the cons can point out how the lane is ruining life itself. I will bring coffee.
eveostay June 21, 2011 at 04:05 PM
The anti-bike lane people are trying to actively cause harm to their neighbors. (That's what removing proven safety improvements does.) Why wouldn't that make people say mean things?
Parksloper June 21, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Yes, we've been actively harming our neighbors for decades.
eveostay June 22, 2011 at 01:50 PM
You'll have to tell me about all of the other proven safety enhancements you've worked to undo. I only know about your current efforts.

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