Brooklyn Bike Brouhaha

Monday, April 12, 2010

WNYC reporter Andrea Bernstein previews the NYC Department of Transportation's Prospect Park West Traffic Calming and Protected Bicycle Path open house tonight and discusses her recent interview with Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz.

→ Listen to Andrea Bernstein's full interview with borough president Markowitz here.

Comments [94]

Laurie from Brooklyn

I am a die-hard female cyclist, riding even in the snow. Markowitz has attitudes consistent with much of the political leadership of Brooklyn. I discovered this, to my shock, when I attended a community meeting about Brooklyn Greenway and was slammed with hostility from all the representatives for our borough's State and City Council politicos. Every time I opened my mouth I was dismissed as being "from the Heights" -- as if I was a rich brat. And you should all know that our political leaders plan to put a 40,000 square foot supermarket in the southeast corner of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, plus huge parking lot, and then wrap the Greenway around it in a manner that will allow cars to swerve in and slam bikers. When I noted that there was NO SAFE WAY to mix a 40,000 square foot market with a "family friendly bike lane" I was denounced as somebody who wanted to deprive folks in the projects of food! No, I want their children to be able to ride bikes without getting killed by drivers careening into a giant shopping center! Markowitz simply reflects the attitudes of most of our political leaders. Bravo to Bloomberg for building bike lanes, and BOO to our out-of-date loser politicians in the boroughs -- VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE!

Apr. 21 2010 05:16 PM
Nicholas from Kensington

I am a bike commuter from Kensington to the upper west side. I have a vested interest in staying alive. The redo of park circle and the proposed bike lane on PPW - places I ride daily will certainly improve my chances of making to a ripe old age. I cross the bridge and ride the west side unencumbered by cars along the greenway. 0 carbon footprint, better health, and in good mood when I get to work. This we want for all NY'ers, no?

Apr. 13 2010 11:50 PM
HomeExchanger from NYC

Marty claims to be for the "average Joe" commuter? Sorry Marty, s/he takes the MTA, walks or bikes. TA says fewer than 30% of New York City residents commute by car. Most NYC residents don't even own a car. Marty's view of bikes v. cars is foolish, destructive and out-of-touch.

Apr. 13 2010 04:04 PM
Jennifer from Park Slope

I live on the southern end of Park Slope and ride my bike frequently--both in morning rush hour while commuting to Manhattan and recreationally on weekends. I have never felt safe riding south to north on 8th Avenue, which is the most practical route-- just yesterday I was almost sideswiped by a school bus. I have also been hit by an opening car door, breaking a bone, riding north to south on 7th Avenue. A double bike lane along Prospect Park West would improve safety dramatically. And as someone who owned a car in the neighborhood for a number of years, I can say with confidence that it is NOT going to make or break parking and congestion.

Apr. 13 2010 09:15 AM
david from sunset park

Subway fares have gone up. Bus lanes and subway lines have been closed. Yet, we who use public transportation are making the green choice. By using public transport we reduce the city's carbon footprint and help keep auto emissions out of the air. Obviously, bikes are even better for the environemnt and congestion...

SO WHY IS THERE SO MUCH RESISTANCE TO TOLLS FOR DRIVERS, ADDING BIKE LANES OR PARKING GARAGE TAX. Seems to me like it is getting cheaper to drive than to do the right thing. Congestion pricing should be passed and the proceeds should be used to drive DOWN subway fares!
btw- I drive and take the subway. to me it is just a question of what is fair. People doing the right thing are getting squeezed while drivers are capitulated to.

Apr. 13 2010 08:42 AM
Michael in Chelsea from Chelsea

I live in Manhattan and sold my car years ago.
In my neighborhood, Chelsea, I want to remove parking for cars and make a dog walking area where cars used to be. Only park on one side each day and street can be swept of residual dog poop and pee hEVERY day.
This would serve dog owners, who want to curb their dogs but where many sidewalks are narrow and there is little access to the curb. It also satisfies non dog owners, who are tired of having to walk in residual dog poop (left after poop pick-up) and dog pee which runs down the side walk when dogs are not curbed.
There are lots more votes from these two groups than car owners.
Also, if my plumber comes to repair my boiler, he must double park because someone from NJ, Conn, etc has found a parking place on the street, saving the cost of a garage. My plumber then has to pay $100 fine. Apply this to UPS, FEDEX, etc. Are they all suppose to deliver by train or on bicycles?
The car issue is not just about bike lanes. There used to be a law on the books that you could not park a car on the street overnight. Many of the car parkers (NJ, Conn, etc) come from neighborhoods were you cannot park on their street overnight. Let apply that to us also.

Apr. 12 2010 02:09 PM





Apr. 12 2010 12:56 PM
Karl from Park Slope

Ride on the sidewalk?? This is Markowitz madness. Regardless of whether Marty believes there is "zero" usage along the park on the Flatbush side, diverting cyclists to the sidewalk creates a safety nightmare. Isn't it bad enough already with the too many Lance Wanna-Be's careening about Prospect Park on the weekends? There's a reason why it's illegal to cycle on the sidewalk, Marty. I know the stretch he refers to, and true, it is not as well used as the PPW side, but it's a sideWALK. I also am a bit suspicious about the suggestion that the sidewalks on the east side, those belonging to the traditionally less-wealthy side of Prospect Park, be opened to cyclists. Not so for the wealthy, privileged and upper-class west side of Prospect Park (where I live). Hmmm. As a runner in Prospect Park since the mid-90s I've noted the west Side has repeatedly been favored with substantial and costly upgrades, whereas the east side has gotten a red-headed stepchild treatment. (New, decorative gaslight-style lampposts on the west side, with the east side relegated to Soviet Era extruded aluminium streetlamps right off the Interstate Highway system; re-paving took place starting at Grand Army Plaza and commenced along the west side, providing a lovely stroller-surface for P Slopers and a ratty, potholed asphalt mess for the east side through most of the project; lawns replaced along the west side yearly where play wears them down, whereas the east side suffers with the same tired grassless stretches year after year). But I digress.

Tell you what, let's just give in and turn Park Slope and Prospect Park over to breeding. Prohibit all automobile traffic, all smoking and permit children in all establishments regardless of their behavior. We might establish stroller lanes throughout the neighborhood (PLEASE get them off the sidewalks!!), and open lactation zones (with free WiFi, of course! and complimentary Lattes to get the ball rolling!). As a many year resident of Park Slope (and a car owner, though lucky enough to garage it, and to be able to afford to garage it) I'm leaving. Though not because of what Markowitz identifies. I'm leaving because of the breeder culture here. I'm up to my ears in toddlers and self-absorbed young parents and their squalling spawn. I yearn for adult culture (not Williamsburg, that's pre-breeding 20s culture).

Good luck all!

Apr. 12 2010 12:05 PM
Mira Kyzyk from Park Slope

The car traffic on Prospect Park West is extensive. Not only does it allow getting through Park Slope relatively easily, it is also a public transportation bus route. Reducing from 3 to 2 lanes means we will be driving with buses as well as much of commercial traffic that wants to avoid congested avenues. I both drive and ride bicycles with my children. However, there already exists a lovely bicycle route within the park perimeter, that we use. To impede the traffic flow for most of us for the limited number of bicyclists is a major setback! How many bicyclists does one see riding on the redesigned Vanderbilt Ave. which was reduced from 2 car lanes to 1 to accommodate a bike lane - rarely! Unfortunately, car traffic on Vanderbilt is now more congested! In addition, the Union Street traffic congestion atarting at 7th Ave., through 8th Ave. approaching Grand Army Plaza, is very intense, particularly during rush hour! This misguided idea will make it so much worse! New traffic congestion on PPW will affect Grand Army Plaza snarling traffic in very unpleasant and I think dangerous ways!

Apr. 12 2010 12:03 PM
Hans Kulleseid from Bronx

I rode to high school in a bike in the 70's, and have used one as my main mode of transportation ever since. I don't see that protected bicycle lanes should be necessary. As a cyclist I find them unduly restrictive (the extra light cycles for left turns on 9th Avenue for example.)
As to motor traffic. The number and size of vehicles on the street are a blight on the city. How is it possible that you can register a 3 ton vehicle that stands 6 feet high as a passenger vehicle. They should be commercial, and restricted to off street overnight parking. Furthermore, there should be restricted access to Manhattan for passenger vehicles with one occupant (similar to the practice right after 9/11.)

Apr. 12 2010 11:57 AM
John from Park Slope

As if the Slope Yuppies are going to start moving out of Brooklyn in droves because they can't use car lanes off PPW! And if they do, let 'em! There will always be younger and richer idiots willing to move in and pay the ridiculous rents.

Marty, please. Stick to ribbon cutting and cholesterol awareness.

Apr. 12 2010 11:56 AM
Henry from now Katonah, formerly Windsor Terrace

I lived in 5 different locations in Brooklyn around Prospect Park between 1978 and 1991. At the time, I could not afford the time and expense of keeping a car. My wife had a car when she lived in Queens; when she moved to Bklyn she felt she had to sell it. And renting a car on a weekend is horribly expensive - - much more than anywhere else in the country.
I only rode my bicycle on the weekends when the park was closed to traffic.
I regretted leaving Brkyn when my landlord kicked us out ( we had a child on the way ), but there is much less aggravation living in central and northern Westchester.

Apr. 12 2010 11:45 AM
Canonchet from Brooklyn

Oh Marty, Marty, Marty ... some years back a number of Brooklyn bikers went on a couple of modestly paced but enjoyably kibbitzing local bike tours/chats with Marty, then in his borough-fitness phase. What has happened since? One is the political demonization of cyclists as self-absorbed lycra-clad yuppie/hipsters who think city streets should be their personal exercise space; another is the outer-borough car-user backlash against proposals for bride tolls and congestion pricing and the like. Marty, almost as ubiquitous a Brooklyn fixture as the Bridge, is nothing if not a political animal, though his antennae are generationally and to some extent ethnically skewed. Advocates for the quite sound & logical Prospect Park West 2-way bike-lane proposal should stress its utility for neighborhood bike commuters and schoolkids, as opposed to the peloton culture of the inner park ring lane route.

Apr. 12 2010 11:41 AM
Barry from NYC

I never heard that the comm is a zealot till today That being said its not so much the addition of the bike path as the behavior of many cyclists They DO NOT on the (high) average obey traffic laws or in many instances common courtesy Could this zealot or the mayor do something about that ? While the path is a good idea I think the placement of these paths and displacement to the community not just parking but danger to pedestrians and frankly additional aggression by people, bicyclists,drivers, pedestrians and merchants alike indicates a poorly balanced decision making process Spend some of these funds on driver (both bicyclist and automobiles) training enforcement etc

Apr. 12 2010 11:35 AM
Ryan from Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

I missed the beginning of the segment, so maybe this was addressed, but although I love the idea of more bike lanes on the regular city streets, I would say that it is far more important that we get the cars out of Prospect Park itself. There is really NO good reason for cars there other than for service vehicles and disabled people and setting up for special events. I can't make it to tonight's special meeting, but I would appreciate if someone could argue my point that the important thing is to get the cars out of the park first. Thanks!

Apr. 12 2010 11:35 AM
JP from NJ

The traffic laws are very black and white. Nobody gets special treatment. The problem is nobody knows what the laws are or they refuse to follow them or they just don't care. If NYC police actually aggressively enforced all the traffic laws that already exist, NYC would be a much safer place for people on all sides.

Apr. 12 2010 11:34 AM
Fritz from South Park Slope/Gowanus

PPW is a three-lane freeway in the middle of the city. I have had my life threatened by aggressive drivers MANY times while riding my bike on PPW.
Markowitz is really a demagogue on this issue. He might try riding a bike once in awhile to gain a better perspective. The question is not stigmatizing cars, it's allowing cyclists to ride without risking their lives. Slowing traffic on PPW is also in pedestrians' interest.
Riding on the sidewalk is illegal, Flatbush leads to the entire opposite side of the park, a mile from PPW.
Re parking: the public is paying for the convenience of car owners' free parking.
Re: people moving away. The only reason I don't live in California is that I would have to own a car to live there. Let the car owners move.
Also, the only bike lanes that are effective are ones that are separated from car traffic. In Brooklyn, unseparated bike lanes are used for double parking, loading zones and high-speed passing on the right.

Apr. 12 2010 11:33 AM
Myrna Silverman

Bicycles and pedestrians on a sidewalk are incompatible. There is little that is more terrifying than trying to avoid a collision with a bicycle coming at you - especially at a high speed. My aunt was knocked down on the sidewalk by a bicycle and she never recovered - she entered a downward spiral that ended in her death. I doubt whether any pedestrian - especially the aging population - would feel safe having to share the sidewalk with bicycles, no matter where they lived.

Apr. 12 2010 11:33 AM

I live on the Flatbush Ave side of Prospect Park. I use the park daily. I also drive, bike and walk. Flatbush Ave between Grand Army Plaza and Empire Blvd has the Zoo on one side and the Botanic Gardens on the other. Plenty of pedestrians at times, especially young children. Is this where the bike lane is being proposed? The grand sidewalks are wide.

There is no congestion on PPW that I experience, but plenty of parking is needed here. Baseball games, picnic goers with heavy loads are always searching for parking. Will cutting a lane create congestion? It is a pleasure to drive here now as there is rarely traffic tie ups

Apr. 12 2010 11:32 AM
Andres from Brooklyn

I lived in Cologne, Germany for a while, and it's a great bike city. Most of the major bike lanes there are in fact *on the sidewalks.* They are clearly distinguished from the pedestrian area, and in some cases are separated from this area by a rail or a chain. This seems like a great solution for wide sidewalks like PPW and Flabush Ave. (and I would add 3rd avenue in Brooklyn from Sunset Park to Atlantic). Is anyone considering this as an option?

Apr. 12 2010 11:31 AM
Peter Adelman from Brooklyn

As a Park Slope resident, I'm most worried about the increase in car traffic that will be occasioned by the Atlantic Yards project, which will create not only an influx of crowds (and residents and workers, if the towers go up) but will result numerous new parking spaces. I can't help but believe that Mr. Markowitz's opposition to a bike lane is related to his general desire to maintain or increase road space for cars.

Apr. 12 2010 11:31 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Maybe 'Bloomie' gets a kick-back from a parking lot company, I don't know, like KINNEY?
Hey, he needs the money-ha-ha!

Apr. 12 2010 11:31 AM
Joe from Brooklyn

Here is the conundrum, Marty:

- New Yorkers should not be driving unnecessarily. If these people can live "anywhere they want to", these same people can afford a garage.

- Bikers suck. They have the same attitude toward pedestrians that SUV soccer moms have toward Prius drivers.

Put in a Trolley system and stop arguing.

Apr. 12 2010 11:31 AM
John from Lower East Side

No cars should not be stigmatized - those ideas are where we start getting the crazy talk on both sides.

I lived in Tokyo for a few years. I never owned a car, but the system in place made it so easy to live without one. When I say system I don't just mean the transit system (unbelievable - that's another story). The stores there provided delivery service for a nominal fee and the apartments were equipped with delivery lock boxes.

Made life very convenient - and that's the trick friends. If you make life convened for folks then they change their habits. Using Draconian methods only results in things like the Great Leap Forward.....

Apr. 12 2010 11:30 AM
snoop from Brooklyn

I live in Prospect Heights. I don't own a car. I don't miss it. Whenever I need one, I get an hourly rental. I park it at the garage across the street from my house, I don't pay for parking, I don't pay for insurance, I don't pay for gas.

And I don't need to engage in the "excruciating" search for free on street parking... but I subsidize HIS on street parking through my taxes.

Apr. 12 2010 11:29 AM
Chris from Park Slope

I live in Park Slope and am an avid cyclist AND car owner. While I rarely use my car, I cannot see the benefit of having a double bike lane on PPW. The Slope certainly has an enormous amount of cyclists but more bike lanes won't ease the traffic until the fines for driving/parking in them are consistently enforced. Additionally, RAISE the fines to over $250. for violations.

Apr. 12 2010 11:29 AM
Corbin from Amsterdam

My goodness. I am amazed that Markowitz and can disagree with the general policy direction that we should reduce the use of cars. He seems surprised by the question. What a knob.

Apr. 12 2010 11:28 AM
Ed from Manhattan

I hope all the Slope Volvo crowd comes to the meeting and stops this waste of money.

Apr. 12 2010 11:28 AM
Maggie from new york

This guy is a dinosaur. It's like listening to those people who still winge about not being able to smoke in restaurants. And I can't believe an elected official is actively encouraging people to break the law and put more pedestrians at risk by cycling on a sidewalk. To suggest that people would leave NYC because of parking difficulties is incredibly ridiculous. People want to live in a community not in the middle of a Grand Prix. He needs to focus on improving public transit, that's what needed.

Apr. 12 2010 11:28 AM
gideon kendall from kensington

i ride my bike to work, and i ride my 2-yr old everywhere on my bike too. i also own a car, and i moved to kensington from the slope, largely so i could have a driveway for parking. but even though i have a car i believe that the city needs to reign in car usage and increase bike and pedestrian activity even if it means driving becomes more inconvenient to me.

Apr. 12 2010 11:27 AM
Steve from windsor terrace

Can we please talk about the 3rd (and most disfunctional) transportation alternative? The F train is the only accessible train for this part of Brooklyn. Most weekends plans to travel anywhere in the city via the F have to be properly plotted out due to maintenance of the train. Driving and biking are the only alternatives for any type of productive life in this part of Brooklyn.

Apr. 12 2010 11:27 AM
mary from nyc

my husband & I have a business in Manhattan below 14th st. They took away the meters on 8th avenue and put in a bike lane.You can not imagine how infuriated the business owners are. We have every right to use our car - we bring product in our car everyday and now we are forced to use a parking lot. This is wrong - no one will use a bike - and on another note - if they subways were safer I'd use them - but they're not.
So I will continue to use my car.

Apr. 12 2010 11:27 AM
Anna from Brooklyn

I'll give up my car when the NYPD care to find the people who stole, not one, but two of my bikes. Yes, they were locked up with heavy duty chains.

Apr. 12 2010 11:27 AM

I know lots of people who've left Park Slope (or are considering it) for Jersey or upstate. They are growing families who are leaving for more living space and green space at less expense - not because of parking problems.

Apr. 12 2010 11:27 AM
Sarah from Carroll Gardens

One problem with the bike riders and pedestrians in the city is that many of them can't drive cars- they are non-drivers. They have no sense of the danger they put themselves when they stride out into the street, and no sense of which roads and intersections are dangerous and which are truly quiet. More lanes for bikes and pedestrians is fine, but pedestrians and bikers need to be more respectful of the rules of the road and the crossing lanes.

Apr. 12 2010 11:27 AM
Tony from Brooklyn from Brooklyn

No one is mentioning the north-bound route through Prospect Park itself which has a bike lane. Is it closed such that it can not be used instead of PPW? It does seem have a steep hill than the street, but it is still the same climb up to Grand Army Plaza.

Apr. 12 2010 11:26 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

regarding those who say riding on the sidewalks is illegal, it may be but in many cases it's the smartest thing to do. Illegality is a little meaningless when your life is on the line

Apr. 12 2010 11:26 AM
Jeremy from Upper Manhattan

Reducing car usage in the city decreases pollution, green house gases and road congestion. But for people like me who have children, getting around without a car can be quite a hassle. We should not think only of the highly mobile when having these discussions.

Apr. 12 2010 11:26 AM

Why don't bikes have rear view mirrors so they are responsible, along with the cars, to know what's going on around them.
Bike's used to drive in opposite direction of cars but now don't. Wouldn't a rear view mirror be safer for all?

Apr. 12 2010 11:26 AM

What is it about folks like Marty who seem to think that space for cars is infinite? I don't particularly care if people "enjoy their cars" or not. In the 5 boroughs, you simply cannot own 2 cars per person because there is no room!

If you feel you have earned the right to own as many cars as you want, then by all means move to Idaho. I don't think the rest of us will be upset.

Apr. 12 2010 11:25 AM
sandra from park slope

what new york needs more than anything is an increase in cyclist awareness and education –for both drivers and cyclists! if we can cultivate an atmosphere of mutual respect, we can eliminate a lot of problems on a more fundamental level.

Apr. 12 2010 11:25 AM

Public transportation is horrible in Brooklyn. That's why Brooklyn residents have cars!

Apr. 12 2010 11:25 AM
Andrea Glick from Park Slope, Prospect Park West

If the transp. commissioner wants people in Brooklyn to use their cars less, how about improving public transportation in Brooklyn? There are too many places where the subway just doesn't go -- for instance, from my home in Park Slope over to Cobble Hill. The closest subway is 11 blocks away. The buses are incredibly slow. I would love New York to be more bike-friendly but the answer isn't to stigmatize cars, it's to make it much easier to take public transportation. And yes, one less lane on PPW would increase congestion (I live on the block).

Apr. 12 2010 11:25 AM
snoop from Brooklyn

I live in Prospect Heights. I don't own a car. I don't miss it. Whenever I need one, I get an hourly rental. I park it at the garage across the street from my house, I don't pay for parking, I don't pay for insurance, I don't pay for gas.

And I don't need to engage in the "excruciating" search for free on street parking... but I subsidize HIS on street parking through my taxes.

Apr. 12 2010 11:25 AM
michael from brooklyn

geez marty. people move to new york so they don't have to drive, not cause they don't have a parking spot. go move back to 1953 marty.

Apr. 12 2010 11:24 AM
rob from forest hills

On another note.
How can you expect this city to downgrade the amount of car usage when our public transportation is constantly being cut

Apr. 12 2010 11:24 AM
becca from BK

drivers move quickly down PPW and then the road is empty. I do not believe the roads will more congested with less room.
I live between 8th ave and PPW and frequently walk on the sidewalk along the park. Half of the side walk is stone pavers which sucks to bike on. There is a rule throughout the city not to bike on the sidewalk, so lets keep the rule and add at least add a one lane bike way

Apr. 12 2010 11:24 AM
Austin from midtown east

i lived in park slope for 6 years. i moved out due to the skyrocketing rent prices rather than the lack of parking.

Apr. 12 2010 11:24 AM
Jennifer D. from South Slope

I agree with Mr. Markowitz regarding riders going from North to South, just go into the park (but make the park 100% car free all of the time!). Although I'm not sure what the Flatbush stretch has to do with biking in Park Slope. If you live on PPSW you are not going all the way around the park to get to the Park Slope side

As for South to North a bike lane should be put on 8th Avenue (and clean up the car mess with pick-up/drop-offs at the schools on 8th Ave.)

Sidewalks need to remain for pedestrians and children learning how to bike and scooter.

Commuting bikers need a real lane they can have safe access to so they can get where they need to go without having to constantly swerve around drivers or pedestrians.

Apr. 12 2010 11:24 AM
Gary from Brooklyn

Lack of parking in park slope makes me consider getting rid of my car.

Apr. 12 2010 11:24 AM

Paul from Upper West Side criticizes anti bike lane advocates as whiners and then whines that streets are unsafe for bikers. I hear that from bikers all the time- the streets are unsafe because of cars. Well how about the fact that the sidewalks are unsafe for pedestrians due to bikers. And walking is as green as riding a bike isn't it? So you do have the moral high ground there? Use the park drive since the bikers already own that.

Apr. 12 2010 11:24 AM
Ed from Manhattan

The disdain for marty is similiar to the distain the cyclists have for the rest of the world. Can't the cyclist hipsters just move to Williamburg where they belong?

Apr. 12 2010 11:23 AM
Amy from a 'neighborhood' in Brooklyn

The statistics about speeding are atrocious. People live on that road. Seriously, slow down. Please.

Apr. 12 2010 11:23 AM
joey from nyc

please stress!
it is illegal for bikes to ride on the sidewalk unless you are a child.
for markowitz to suggest doing this just shows how out of touch he is.

Apr. 12 2010 11:22 AM
brennan cavanaugh from lower east side

* Drivers are at fault in almost 90% of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.
* Automobiles kill more than twice as many elderly New Yorkers than murderers do.
* Aggressive turning through crosswalks is the single biggest known cause of pedestrian deaths. Drunken driving (New York Mayor Giuliani’s latest target) ranks 12th.
* In over 90% of pedestrian fatalities, the driver is male.
* Dangerous driving does not discriminate: members of all the broad ethnic categories in NYC are equally likely to be killed by cars.

Apr. 12 2010 11:21 AM

I live in CT and I ALWAYS drive in to the city especuially if I am headded to BKLYN because parking is free. I would much rather take metro north but its too expensive! I wish that was a way to encourage weekend commuter to 'train-it-in.'

Apr. 12 2010 11:21 AM
Margaret Stix from Prospect heights

I live one block from Grand Army Plaza and I bike several times a week. BP Markowitz's recommendations are not feasible. I have biked on the sidewalk on Flatbush Avenue, as he advises, and the sidewalk is very poorly maintained. I have also biked on the sidewalk on PPW and there are indeed too many pedestrians, particularly with strollers to do so safely.

Apr. 12 2010 11:20 AM
Sean from Prospect heights.

I think a bike lane here would work very well.
People do not feel safe biking through the park at night. It would be better to have an additional bike lane. This has been already well established and proven to work on nearby Vanderbilt avenue, where a lane of traffic was taken away on either side, central medians installed, and bike lanes placed on either side. This has served to slow and calm traffic(as it was designed to do) and has been very effective.
I would be in very ardent support for bike lanes here.
Traffic calming is sorely needed here-people drive along these roads around the park like nuts- a place where many many pedestrians cross all day.
I am a cyclist and driver.

Apr. 12 2010 11:20 AM
Kevin from Windsor Terrace

Why is this even an issue? I can't remember the last time I either rode or drove down Prospect Park West and all three lanes actually available to anyone other than those blocking bus stops and unloading groceries, etc.

Apr. 12 2010 11:19 AM
Dan from Brooklyn

Someone explain why we need 3 lanes of car traffic on PPW? Will 2 lanes significantly slow things down there?

Apr. 12 2010 11:19 AM

I thought April Fools day had come and gone until I heard Marty's comments this morning.. what a looney idea...surely if bike lanes are encouraged it will benefit all of us.. maybe there will be fewer cars on the road.. and I am an unashamed motorist

Apr. 12 2010 11:19 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Bernie from BK, The state runs the MTA, not the City... they City is at the mercy of the state on the subways.

Apr. 12 2010 11:19 AM
Josh Goldstein

there is actually very little traffic on prospect park west. there is a small rush every 2 or 3 minutes when the light turns green, but overall it seems to me very underutilized by car traffic. And because of that the cars go very fast there.

Apr. 12 2010 11:18 AM

Encouraging bicycles to ride on the street is foolish! Once riders feel comfortable riding on the street they will continue to do this everywhere even in places that have a lot of pedestrians. Markowitz sounds idiotic. He's also probably against taxing soft drinks!

Apr. 12 2010 11:18 AM
Joseph Nicholas from Williamsburg

Markowitz says he doesn't want car owners to feel victimized, and that bikes should be ridden on the sidewalk along Flatbush Ave, but when you are driving along Flatbush Ave the number of cars that are double parked on the road with the flashers on are phenomenal. There needs to be a prescence there to prevent vehicles from creating logjams. The vehicles and their brazen neglect for traffic rules create the problems, not the pedestrians or the bikers.

Apr. 12 2010 11:17 AM
dan from park slope

why do i have to pay to use the subway, but drivers don't have to pay to use the roads and bridges in NYC?

Apr. 12 2010 11:17 AM

"Flatbush Ave. is dead to pedestrians anyway..."

what about the future?

Remind me not to lease a business on Flatbush Ave.!

Apr. 12 2010 11:17 AM
Gary from Brooklyn

I live on PPW drive and bike. Proposal to use Flatbush sidewalk is a non-sequester. It may have some use on the other side of the park, but it provides no northbound bike route for Park Slope. The Sidewalk on PPW is used by a lot of pedestrians.
Eighth avenue is a nightmare on a bicycle.
The bike lane and traffic calming (the ulterior motive) would be great.

Apr. 12 2010 11:17 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Susan, bikers may be a bit of a hassle for drivers wanting to speed to their destination and I think bikers should follow all laws, but bikers are legally required to ride on the street (as dangerous as that is for bikers), it is illegal and dangerous for pedestrians for bikers to bike on the sidewalk. Also, sidewalks are dangerous for bikers because of meandering pedestrians, sidewalk furniture, sidewalk trees, curb cuts, garbage, dogs on illegal (longer than 6’) leashes and the list goes on.

Apr. 12 2010 11:17 AM
rtg from williamsburg, brooklyn

it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk so marty needs to think a bit more before he advocates this plan. as far as cars, right now they are so subsidized it is ridiculous! prospect park west is full of speeding cars that dont follow the law, something should be done to calm the traffic and a two way bike lane seems great

Apr. 12 2010 11:16 AM

sound like marry is representing car drivers.

why do car drivers get special rights?

Apr. 12 2010 11:16 AM
judith in park slope from park slope

The bike riders who really want to ride shouldn't be asked use the a pedestrian I have been nearly knocked over, run over, numerous times by delivery people and by people just trying to go to their schools or jobs. it is a ticketed offense, too.
The bikers in the park ( serious speed bikers) are actually dangerous...just saying...

Apr. 12 2010 11:16 AM
bernie from bklyn

the transportation commissioner should concentrate her attention on making the mta run efficiently. i , for one, would not drive as much if the subways weren't constantly inconsistent and useless if you're on any kind of schedule.

Apr. 12 2010 11:15 AM
Jamie Silverstein

Marty is a dope on this issue. I live in the neighborhood and ride my bike daily. The traffic on PPW can be BAD and it constantly speeds. I ride home to Windsor Terrace from the PS coop in fear of getting killed. Additionally, the police donot encourage using the sidewalks. Neither do devoted cyclists.

Apr. 12 2010 11:15 AM

Markowitz is a throwback and out of touch.

Cars don't need to be stigmatized, the just need to no longer be subsidized.

Apr. 12 2010 11:15 AM
keith from hell's kitchen

I'm pretty sure it is ILLEAGAL to ride your bike on the sidewalk.

Apr. 12 2010 11:15 AM
Scott from Windsor terrace

Yea Marty sounded like an idiot this morning. I have been ticketed going in the wrong direction in the park and had to go to Redhook courts to fight it. Bike on the sidewalk-illegal. PPW is a speeding death trap and this plan adressed that beautifully. Look at 8th Ave in Manhattan- works great!
the idea of biking on Flatbush is absurd- it's even more dangeorus and bikes sharing the sidewalk would make it absolutely crazy!

Apr. 12 2010 11:14 AM

Bikers are often aggressive and disdainful of pedestrians. Adding a bike lane will just make it more difficult for people trying to cross PPW. At least the drivers have to respect traffic rules. Do bikers follow red lights and walk signs? Of course not. Bikers feel like they have the moral highground for ecological reasons and it gives them free reign. The other day a biker almost knocked me down on the 9th street sidewalk. And that was about 5 feet from the dedicated bike lane. Try walking in Prospect Park when packs of spandex clad bikers storm by. And regarding his quote-Marty Markowitz is an idiot. He's just a silly showman who spends all his time involved in self promotion.

Apr. 12 2010 11:14 AM

what about the bike lane shut down on bedford ave in bkln?

Apr. 12 2010 11:13 AM
Niall from Park Slope

Let's not forget that cyclists are helping to relieve congestion. Marty and motorists should be thanking and encouraging them.

Apr. 12 2010 11:13 AM

I've always been under the impression that riding on the sidewalk is illegal. I remember being stopped by police in Queens as a kid whenever I would ride on the sidewalk.

Apr. 12 2010 11:13 AM
Adele Cohen from Brighton Beach Brooklyn

I don’t always agree with Marty Markowitz, but he is right on the mark here.

This parking and bike lane issue does not only affect Park Slope. I represented the 46th Assembly District for 9 years. In that period no one ever complained about not being able to ride a bike, but we received multiple complaints about parking and parking tickets.

Some of these bike lanes here is Southern Brooklyn are in totally absurd places such as the one on Cropsey Avenue that directly affects the operation of the car repair businesses there.

I firmly believe that the Mayor’s poor showing in the recent election was among other reasons a result of the City’s punitive attitude toward the driver’s of motor vehicles.

I, who have great emotional ties to this neighborhood and City am threatening to move should I get one more parking ticket or spend another long evening driving around looking for parking.

Adele Cohen, former Assemblywoman

Apr. 12 2010 11:13 AM
Jen from Prospect park

marty is dumb, this shows it
flatbush no one walks?

Apr. 12 2010 11:11 AM
jenn from UES

It's illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk!! How can he just say that? The sidewalk has to be actually converted to a bike lane if that is to work.

Apr. 12 2010 11:11 AM
michael from brooklyn

marty is a fool. seriously. build the bike lanes, have give marty a reality tv show and stop re-electing him.

Apr. 12 2010 11:11 AM
benie from bklyn

unless there are isolated bike lanes with barriers, bike lanes will never really work in nyc.
and what is she talking about? bikes can go through the park to go north/south

Apr. 12 2010 11:10 AM
Ron from Park Slope

Marty Markowitz is a buffoon. He was not elected and doesn't speak for anyone but the moneyed interests. (See Atlantic Yards debacle) The "interview" with Andrea Bernstein proves my point. He had his answers prepared beforehand.

There are too many cars and too many dangerous intersections and not enough enforcement of traffic laws.

Apr. 12 2010 11:09 AM
JP from NJ

I’ve been driving for 25 years, biking for 36 years and walking for over 40 years. I’ve seen it from all angles. The problem is that every one of all modes of travel have no idea what the traffic laws are and everyone wrongfully thinks they always have the right of way. Nobody is innocent here. To make the problem worse, NYC police only enforces parking laws. If they actually enforced the traffic laws for drivers, bikers and pedestrians, you’d have much safer streets for all in NYC.

Apr. 12 2010 11:09 AM
Paul from Upper West Side

The anti bike lane advocates remind me of those argue against affirmative action by whining about discrimination against whites.

Cars have long dominated our streets. Traffic and streets cater primarily to cars. So, asking them to give up some convenience for the sake of those who have historically been crowded off the road – and who are more likely in physical danger when they share the roads – is hardly an unreasonable imposition.

And the argument that there is not a huge population of bikers is self-serving. The streets are unfriendly to bikes, which is why there aren’t more bike commuters. It doesn’t make sense to say there aren’t huge numbers of bikers, so let’s keep things unfriendly and unsafe to ensure that they remain a small group!

I’m not going to cry for the powerful majority being asked to yield a few feet for the benefit of the long-suffering minority (who are offering a greener, less polluting, and healthier option in the bargain).

Apr. 12 2010 11:07 AM

In many places in Brooklyn, bike lanes crowd the available space for cars and buses. Some streets don't have bike lanes, but bikers bike in the street anyway even though there are parallel streets have them. Bikers ride two or three across without regard to the vehicle traffic behind them. Bike lanes don't work.

Apr. 12 2010 11:06 AM
Joseph from Brooklyn

Bikes should use the sidewalk as an alternative to using a bike lane? That's a *terrible* idea. What has Marty been smoking?

Apr. 12 2010 11:04 AM
Martin from Brooklyn, NY (Downtown)

Pedestrians are being shortchanged: bicyclists are still riding on sidewalks, it's more dangerous to cross the street as bicyclists ride in both directions, even on one-way streets. More needs to be done to educate everyone (including pedestrians) on the rules of the road.

Apr. 12 2010 10:54 AM
nat from Brooklyn

This is not about bicycles versus cars, its primarily about pedestrian safety. The lack of through streets, due to the park, three wide car lanes, and generally low amounts of traffic causes drivers to treat that stretch like a highway, and constantly drive well above the speed limit.

On the other hand, thousands of people, many of whom are children, cross Prospect Park West every year as they enter and exit the park. Sit on any corner of PPW on a warm weekend and you will see streams of families going to enjoy Brooklyn's back yard. Due to quickly changing lights designed to move cars down PPW, the crossing can be down right harrowing if you get caught in the middle.

The point of these changes is to reduce driver speeds back down to the speed limit, and to shorten the distance that pedestrians have to travel on short lights. The bike lane is just a way to slim lanes and shorten those distances. I am a cyclist who would certainly welcome a two way protected bike lane on Prospect Park West, but the real win in this proposal is about pedestrian safety.

Apr. 12 2010 10:49 AM
Jim Byrne from Brooklyn

Lets build elevated bike lanes.

Apr. 12 2010 10:13 AM

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