Reporting Tony Aiello
NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — The dramatic re-shaping of New York City streets is supposed to calm traffic, but it sure inflames passions. Take for example Thursday’s clash over the controversial bike lane in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
It happened on the same day the city promised to crack down on “bike bedlam.”
Critics could be counted by the dozens, while supporters numbered in the hundreds.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports
“Very unsafe, people are afraid to cross the avenue!” opponent Kay McGovern told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
“It’s better for cyclists. It’s better for pedestrians,” said supporter Phil Noise.
The bike lane installed this summer near Prospect Park is like a fault line dividing Park Slope.
“It’s safer to cross the street. The new design has calmed traffic,” Will Sherman said.
“It’s a very safe lane, I ride here with my 6-year-old daughter,” Rich Johnsons of Transportation Alternatives told 1010 WINS’ Papa.
“They’ve destroyed one of the handsomest avenues in New York City!” an opponent added.
What used to be a wide open boulevard has been reshaped, with a travel lane eliminated. There’s a new “floating” parking lane and a two-way bike path. Critics claim facing bikes from both directions is dangerous.
“I think they’ve created a hazard. They never really thought out the consequences!” Roz Cotchman said.
“Anything new is difficult in the beginning and as time goes by people will get more used to it,” Erin Qureshi said.
And the Bloomberg administration says New York City better get used to it.
“We’ve installed 250 miles of on-street bike lanes in the last three years,” Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said.
Sadik-Khan said hundreds of additional bike lane miles are planned.
But faced with criticism the DOT is too pro-bike the agency said it’s getting serious with enforcement.
The city has announced it is stepping up enforcement against so-called “rogue riders.” They’ll face a ticket blitz.
The DOT said the city has spent millions becoming more bike friendly.
“And now it’s time for the cyclists to be friendly to the city, so we’re asking them to adopt a street code that works for all New Yorkers,” Sadik-Khan said.
As for demands that the city rip up this bike lane, the DOT said forget about it.
The bike “ticket blitz” will focus on 10 neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn.