Park Slope, Brooklyn Becomes Ground Zero Of Protest, SupportBy 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.

Prospect Park Bike Lane Battle

Two women protest the double bike lane in Prospect Park (Photo/Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

“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.

Tony Aiello

Comments (27)
  1. The Gooder Samaritan says:

    Most of these pedestrians jay-walk in and out of traffic and shouldn’t be surprised when they are flattened like squirrels.

    Thus spake the Gooder Samaritan.

  2. The Good Samaritan says:

    Most of these bike riders constantly cut in and out of track and deserved to be slapped by a motorist if they are cut off

    The Good Samaritan has spoken.

  3. HUGO says:

    Just another reason to hate Bloomberg.

  4. Josh says:

    The bike lane is a good idea and the seniors are in no greater danger than before the lane wast established. Bikers by law have to follow the same rules as cars, so when there’s a red light, they must let pedestrians cross. If there’s no signal for pedestrians, then shame on the city, not the bikers. I am also not sure why “speeding (of cars?) is being referred to. Maybe b/c the city took away a lane of car traffic? Could that be it. Great explanation on the part of CBS. Only the Daily Snooze has less accurate reporting.

  5. Peter Engel says:

    I was there too, and ddartley’s completely right. The problem with telling the truth is that is doesn’t always stir up viewers and website traffic.

  6. ddartley says:

    This is a poor article. What actually happened: some locals planned a protest against the bike lane. People who like the lane heard about that and planned a rally in favor of it. 70 or so people showed up to protest against the lane, and about 350 people showed up to support it. Organizers of the pro-bike lane event urged supporters to be nice to the opponents, saying “we love them; they’re our neighbors.” But I did see a small bit of bickering between the groups when they got close. I’m not writing this comment to say that crowd size determines who’s right, but just to present a version of the facts that’s about 1000 times more candid that this article and its totally inaccurate headline.

  7. Peter Engel says:

    That’s PPW and yes, the reporter was there.CBS didn’t use any interviews with the official pro bike lane people, who outnumbered the anti 5 to 1. Judging by the content of Marcia Kramer’s reports and Tony Aiello’s “Bike Bedlam” series, I’m not surprised they didn’t show the disparity.

    As for Marty Markowitz, for one he’s got a point. There probably should be a city-wide standard. How about this? The bike community will push the City Council for developing a standard if Marty will go on a diet and quit giving himself dyspepsia over this issue.

  8. LLS says:

    @Mike – Because this reporter arrived very late – after it was all over and the crowd had gone off to work or wherever. I’m one of the two supporters in the photo – she caught us just as we were leaving.

  9. Jordy Green says:

    The main story this morning was the MASSIVE difference in the sizes of the two groups – the pro bike lane crowd was well into the hundreds, and the anti-lane gathering seemed to be 20 or so – many of the people in the anti area were reporters covering the event (based on the fact they had cameras and microphones in hand).

  10. Mike says:

    Why didn’t you mention that the supporters of the traffic calming + bike lane project outnumbered the opponents by AT LEAST 5 to 1, probably more?

  11. Michael says:

    “Bike Battle Boils Over?” You’ve got to be kidding. This was as good-natured a rally as one could imagine. If by “boils over” you mean one side greatly outnumbering another, so be it. But get a grip on your rhetoric and tell the story as it is.

  12. Doug says:

    If Marty Markowitz thinks any change in Brooklyn should come after review by community boards and votes, why did he not ask for any of those things before letting the Atlantic Yards project be approved? The community was overwhelmingly against it.

  13. CFN says:

    Funny. The picture makes it look like there are two protesters and two people in favor. If you were there, you’d see 500 people in favor of the lanes, and about 40 against.

  14. Eric says:

    maybe they should keep the bike lanes…so these damn people wouldn’t be so FAT!

  15. ParkSlopeVoter says:

    I don’t understand these comments. All pictures are taken in and around Prospect Park. I know! I live two blocks from the park…

  16. Snortley says:

    Notice where those seniors are standing as they claim there is a danger? Right in the bike lane! Yes, that is dangerous. Get on the sidewalk; that’s what it’s there for.

  17. CSI says:

    There goes your picture.

  18. DanTe says:

    Riding bikes are fine. Just follow the Traffic Rules. American bicyclists are T ARDs when it comes to common sense.

  19. CSI says:

    I agree that this picture looks bad. But this article is not about the look of the picture. It is about seniors complaining about their safety. Plus seniors will always think things look ugly when they don’t like something. A person who doesn’t cross BK bridge wouldn’t know where this picture came from.

  20. Suz says:

    The rest of the world encourages their people to ride bikes instead of driving cars, in Amsterdam it is the major mode of transportation, people ride their bikes to the train stations instead of driving their cars. Only in the U.S. are we so fat and lazy that we would be against something that would cut down on pollution and make us more of a fit nation.

    1. Josh says:

      Amsterdam is a tiny city compared to NYC. Amsterdam is comparable to Brooklyn in population, although it’s appx 15 sq miles smaller. You’re comparing apples to oranges.Not everyone is fat and lazy here and not everyone in Amsterdam is thin and fit. Your comments are ignorant at best.

  21. Sam says:

    I fully agree that the generic photos attached to the articles make CBS look minor league. I also thought this was going to be an article about the Bridge bike path.

  22. z z zodiac says:

    They shoulkd build these in every borough.

  23. Mike says:

    You couldn’t find a better bike path picture to represent a park bike path than one from the Brooklyn Bridge? I saw the picture and thought this was an article about the bridge path which I walk on regularly, not Prospect Park, which I never go to. How about getting ALL the facts right?

    1. KPMc says:

      The generic photos this site uses are ridiculous. When someone is sick or attacked, they use a pic of an empty hospital bed. When a NY Post columnist died they used an old masthead that had nothing to do with the journalist.

      Attaching a meaningless picture to an article really doesn’t add anything. If you don’t have a relevant picture don’t add one at all.

      Sometimes it seems children with no common sense run this site.

Leave a Reply