Thought the pitched battle over the Prospect Park West bike lane war was settled now that the DOT has finished installing the beautiful two-lane dedicated bike path along the park? It has only begun. Earlier this week, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz—who previously called DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan a pro-biking "zealot" for putting in the bike lane—attended an anti-bike lane meeting at the residence of avid cyclist Senator Chuck Schumer, who resides in Park Slope. Has Schumer gone over to the dark, four-wheel side?!
A Schumer staffer denies it, responding to an inquiry about the meeting by saying, "That is a very bizarre rumor and there is no truth to it whatsoever. As I’m sure you are aware, the Senator is an avid biker and would never be involved with something like this especially before the final analysis has been completed." But his wife and adult daughters have joined the Facebook group No Bike Lane on Prospect Park West, and a source tells the Daily News that Schumer's wife, who just so happens to be former NYC DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall, "is strongly opposed" to the bike lane.
Opponents say the protected bike lane, which is separated from traffic on Prospect Park West by a nice lane of parked cars, has created traffic problems on the boulevard, which lost a lane of car traffic as a result of the change. They also maintain that pedestrians are endangered by reckless cyclists blasting through intersections on the bike lane. (Many of these cyclists previously pedaled on the wide sidewalk along the park.) And furthermore, why can't they just ride their bikes inside the park, which sometimes doesn't have any cars zooming through it?
But Sadik-Khan isn't backing down (yet) under pressure from her predecessor. "These are no longer the days of the wild Prospect Park West, a street where 70% of cars used to speed and 46% of bicyclists cycled on the sidewalk," she said in a statement. "The paint on this community-proposed project is barely dry, yet it has already calmed traffic, made bike traffic more predictable and made it safer to reach Prospect Park." And in an editorial, the Brooklyn Paper cheered the current commish, saying:
For all the hysteria in its first two weeks, the Prospect Park West bike lane has already solved many problems: it has gotten cyclists off the sidewalk, it has slowed down cars, it has turned Prospect Park West back into a neighborhood street instead of a thruway, and it has strengthened the connection between the park itself and the roadway that frames its western border.
We call that a win for everyone—except drivers, who have had it too good for too long.
And to lock horns with the anti-bike lane Facebook page, there's a pro-bike lane Facebook page! Which is great, but with such a horrific war raging, how much longer can Foursquare remain silent?