Streams

The Bike Lanes Wars, in Brooklyn

Monday, April 12, 2010 - 10:57 AM

(Andrea Bernstein, WNYC, New York) Park Slope in Brooklyn is one of those urban neighborhoods where people compost, drive Priuses (when they drive), and hang their laundry to dry. It's home to the oldest food co-operative in the United States. So it's perhaps an unlikely place to find a skirmish in the bike lane wars, but there it is, reorganizing street space is rarely controversy-free, in any neighborhood.

On the one hand cyclists, the City DOT, and the local Community Board are in favor of eliminating a lane of traffic along Frederick Law Olmstead's crown jewel, Prospect Park, to install a two-way, protected bike lane. They say slowing traffic and creating more space for cyclists will improve everyone's safety.

But the borough president, Marty Markowitz, (the kind of guy who puts "leaving Brooklyn, fuggedabout it!" on highway signs) thinks it will create insufferable congestion for motorists.

It's the stated policy of Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reduce automobile use in New York, to cut the city's carbon footprint. Many cities are eying whether parking policy can be used to drive people out of their cars and onto bikes, transit, or into carpools. But as Andrea Bernstein's interview with Borough President Markowitz shows, sparks fly when social goals rub motorists the wrong way.

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