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Markowitz Questions City Study of Prospect Park West Bike Lanes

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz questions the validity of the DOT's recent bike lane data.

The city has called the Prospect Park West Bike lane , but Borough President Marty Markowitz isn’t buying it.

At a Thursday Community Board 6 meeting, the Department of Transportation revealed new data showing that the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane has successfully decreased speeding on the avenue, decreased accidents and injuries and increased bicycle use, among other things.

Markowitz, however, questions the findings.

“The DOT has to justify the Prospect Park West bike lane, so I question the validity of any data coming from the very agency that installed the lane,” Markowitz told Park Slope Patch via E-mail. “As I have said all along, we need an outside study—not one conducted by the DOT but perhaps by the NYPD—to get an impartial analysis of the Prospect Park West reconfiguration.”

Markowitz has long been an opponent of the bike lane. At a New York City Council hearing on the city’s growing bicycle network in December, Markowitz called the parking-protected, two-way bike lane a This year, the Borough President’s Christmas card was even a playful jab at the lane.

“The DOT’s own numbers show increases in daytime travel times along another southbound thoroughfare, Seventh Avenue,” said Markowitz. “Among the questions that could be answered by an independent study is whether the changes to Prospect Park West are negatively impacting Seventh Avenue and other thoroughfares in the neighborhood.”

Markowitz has not been the first to question the DOT findings.

At the Thursday Community Board 6 presentation, a representative for Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes stood up and said that her group had also monitored bike lane use, sometimes on the same days as the DOT studies, but found numbers that were drastically lower than the numbers the DOT presented at the hearing

The DOT representative, Ryan Russo, was quick to offer a simple solution: Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes had monitored a different section of Prospect Park West, a section with less bike traffic.

On Friday, Markowitz told CBS that the DOT got higher numbers than Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes because bike advocacy groups had somehow known the days the DOT was counting bikers and showed up to bolster the numbers.

At the Community Board 6 presentation, however, the representative for Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes charged they had found discrepancies in the numbers even on the days that their monitoring of the lanes coincided with the DOT’s study.

“Until there is an independent assessment of these changes,” Markowitz said, “these biased DOT studies will continue to ‘prove’ what they want us to believe.”

Though there have been a vocal group of naysayers in support of the lane’s removal, the bike lane also has many supporters, both in local residents and politicians.

“I think the data is very encouraging. I think we should keep at it and I think we should move forward.” said Councilmember Brad Lander at Thursday’s DOT presentation, who found much support for the lane in last year.

If the DOT does eventually decide to remove the lane, rather than make the pilot project permanent, the agency said its removal would cost three times as much as its installation.

Parksloper January 26, 2011 at 02:09 AM
Very good. Profit doesn't always equal monetary value. Just keep repeating data provided by the same people who are pro-bike lanes. "Time to give the angry, put-upon multimillionaire act a rest." What?
NiBBLerWatch January 26, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Right, "profit" can mean "to benefit from." And we all, including DOT, benefit from streets made safer. So I guess you nailed them. And you should just keep repeating the crazy conspiracy theories and ignoring the facts. 'Cause we know the anti-safety lobby is so much more credible.
Parksloper January 26, 2011 at 03:29 PM
Still waiting for those "facts" er "responsive data" to become available. Also still waiting for an explanation about the "put-upon multimillionaire".
NiBBLerWatch January 26, 2011 at 03:56 PM
First, let's be clear that this isn't about data at all. So when you get the data, you're going to get a spreadsheet listing bicyclists counted by hour, and the numbers are going to be higher, because DOT counted in the middle of the bike path, near where the PPW path intersects with connector lanes at 2nd and 3rd Street, and you counted from 9 PPW or 14 PPW, and missed a lot of the people who get on or off farther down the avenue. And then you're going to say, well, we still don't believe the data. And you'll insist that NYPD is on the fix with their crash data. And then yadda yadda yadda, science be damned, Barack Obama wasn't born in Hawaii, greenhouse gases don't cause global warming, yadda yadda yadda. And we all know that opposition to the safety improvements is concentrated among a handful of multimillionaire mansion and luxury coop owners on PPW, who don't like the way the street looks, and the safety and security of everyone else be damned.
Parksloper January 26, 2011 at 05:24 PM
You're right in comparing the data to greenhouse gases and "global warming", both are BS. I also didn't see where all the people who are opposed to the bike lanes all live in multimillionaire mansions and or luxury coops. I must be in the wrong house then. Do you have to fill that out on a form somewhere? People want to see data provided by an independent source who has no interest/ beneficial gain one way or the other in the outcome. Is that too hard to ask.

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