Tuesday, March 8, 2011

'Wealthy, Politically Connected Group' Files Lawsuit Against Prospect Bark West Bike Lane

 Days before a major Prospect Park West bike lane public hearing to be held on Thursday, March 10, a "wealthy and politically connected group" has filed a lawsuit against the bike lane. According to the New York Times, the lawsuit was filed by a group with close ties to Iris Weinshall -- the wife of Senator Charles E. Schumer.

It accuses the Transportation Department of "misleading residents about the benefits of the lane, cherry-picking statistics on safety improvements and collaborating with bicycle activists to quash community opposition." According to Transportation Nation, the group wants a moratorium on all bike lane installation in the city.

According to Park Slope Patch, bike lane opponents claim that the “configuration requires pedestrians to walk across inconsistent traffic patterns with limited visibility.”

The Dept. of Transportation, however, provides statistics showing the bike lane is a success: speeding is down dramatically, crashes are down, injuries are down and bike ridership has doubled on weekends and tripled on weekdays.

Some interesting statistics from DOT's report: Before the bike lane, three out of four vehicles on Prospect Park West broke the speed limit. After the bike lane, only one out of five broke the speed limit. Additionally, crashes are down 16 percent, and crashes that cause injuries are down 63 percent.

According to Brooklyn Spoke, what’s on the table at Thursday's meeting are discussions about “modifications” to the bike lane. Apparently, those opposed to the lane want to either get rid of it altogether, change it from a protected lane to a painted Class II green lane running alongside traffic (handy for double parking!) or make it one way and move the other direction to another block.

Public Hearing Details: Thursday, March 10, 6:30 PM, John Jay High School Auditorium, 237 7th Ave, Between 4th and 5th Streets, Brooklyn.  (F train at 7th Avenue is the closest subway stop.)

Photo courtesy DOT

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