Saturday, May 19, 2007

9th Street Bike Lanes Gain Support in Park Slope

Community Board 6's Transportation Committee voted unanimously on Thursday night to support the Department of Transportation's plan to install bike lanes and pursue other traffic calming measures on Ninth Street in Park Slope. It had previously voted to support the plan, but the issue was sent back to the committee for further discussion.

Dalila Hall of the Department of Transportation told the audience that "we plan on implementing these measures in July." While the Department will consider future refinements and things like "curbside management" to alleviate problems, those measures will likely come after the bike lanes. Ms. Hall explained that the plan was developed because DOT had "heard concerns for years" about safety issues and other problems on Ninth Street and believes the plan will address the problems. While the plan has significant support in the community and among bicyclists (with a significant number of the latter turning out for the meeting), there has been vocal opposition from some Ninth Street residents. Both Streetsblog and I'm Seeing Green have rundowns of the meeting and of the plan.

"This project is about safety" for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, said DOT's Chris Hrones.

Opponents again voiced concern about the bicycle lanes. "It's going to be the most inconvenient thing to have a bike lane and to reduce our driving lanes," one resident said. "It's like a nightmare already, and you're going to add bike lanes." One resident complained that "bikes want to take control of the street."

"We're not against the bikers," said Bob Levine, a Ninth Street resident who has led opposition to the bike lines. "We're looking for a way to work out the problems between the bikers, the residents and the businesses."

The new commander of the 78th Precinct, John Argenziano, tried to reassure residents that there would be no ticketing blitz against cars that stop in the new bike lanes. "My officers are not going to be lined up waiting for you to discharge your elderly parents," he said.

While the meeting was contentious, it maintained a relatively civil tone until Ms. Hall noted that the bike lanes were part of master plan drafted in 1997. "You had a master plan and so did Hitler," a resident shouted.

A pro-bike lane resident said that he was "a little surprised by the hostility I sense against cyclists." Park Slope Civic Council Trustee Lauri Schindler said that she found the Ninth Street plan "a refreshing approach."

"We expect this plan to be a success," said DOT's Mr. Hrones. "You will see and experience a very different Ninth Street.

The CB6 Committee asked DOT to work on directing bicyclists from Ninth Street to the 15th Street entrance to Prospect Park and also called on DOT to study traffic calming measures for Prospect Park West.

Related Posts:
Ninth Street Bike Lanes Provoke Anger

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