Markowitz Clarifies His Bike Lane Position

Lots of ripples from our Marty Markowitz interview yesterday. Commenters to our original post alternately cheer the BP's stance and mock his recommendation to ride on the sidewalks. "Stephen" was typical, who referred to "the elephant in the room -- biking on the sidewalks is illegal."

Markowitz has a comment of his own. He sends in this response, which we cut and paste in its entirety:

"Like our DOT Commissioner, whose professionalism I respect, I too support cycling in this city and have not only supported bike lanes like the ones on 9th Street in Park Slope and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, but have also been a major proponent of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a 14-mile on-and-off street bike lane that connects Greenpoint to Sunset Park. Without my office’s support and advocacy the Greenway would not be happening. What I am opposed to is bike lanes on Prospect Park West, which will both take away needed parking for residents and park-goers and interrupt access of pedestrians to the park during peak usage in summer and on weekends. There are better options to explore that would meet everyone’s needs—such as adding traffic lights to calm traffic, and adding another bike lane to the park itself. By the way, as borough president I advocate for bikers, and also for those who do not live near public transportation, those who cannot bike for various reasons, and yes, those families and residents who chose to own a car in this borough.

Also, to clear up an apparently ambiguous statement from my original WNYC interview, I in no way advocate for cyclists to break the law and ride illegally on the city's sidewalks. My comment about utilizing excess sidewalk space on Prospect Park West and Flatbush Avenue off Prospect Park stems from the fact that, given low usage and wide widths, these sidewalks can potentially safely accommodate the creation of new off street bike lanes. I think that such a proposal should be explored since it would avoid removing a lane from Prospect Park West."

— Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz