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Friday
May042012

Construction Underway on PPW Pedestrian Islands

Construction on the raised pedestrian medians along Prospect Park West that were first announced last month has begun in earnest.

Prospect Park West has undergone quite a bit of work recently, with the addition of a highly polarizing bike lane, but this permanent addition—there will be nine in total, at intersections including 1st, 5th and 11th Streets—will forever change the character of the street. It makes the bike lanes permanent (and protects them from traffic), lessens the amount of traffic lanes, and makes it easier to cross the road. Proponents of the plan say that it will increase visibility and prevent cars from double-parking, but opponents say that it creates "dangerously inconsistent traffic patterns" and actually decreases visibility. Of course, there are plans to file a lawsuit to get them removed.

And the debate rages on...

                                                                                                  DOT

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    Construction Underway on PPW Pedestrian Islands - HOME - Here's Park Slope.

Reader Comments (37)

Do we know if they are planting trees or plants in those medians or will they be just concrete?

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeanstreet

This mock from that Brooklyn Paper link shows treest:
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/assets/photos/34/39/dtg_bikelanetweaks_2011_9_30_bk01_z.jpg

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStoney Stomp

Just added the rendering.

May 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterHere's Park Slope

The arguments against the bike lanes have been so thoroughly and completely discredited in the course of public debate and the lawsuit that they almost don't merit mention in your piece.

"Dangerously inconsistent traffic patterns" is a wonderfully complex way of saying nothing. If anything, the installation of the bike lanes is cementing (no pun intended) a consistency and predictability in how traffic will (and should) operate on a local street that is crossed thousands of times a day by pedestrians, school groups, and bikes. The previous iteration of PPW WAS demonstrably dangerously inconsistent in its traffic patterns: cars traveling far too fast for the street, bikes given no clear area to travel (meaning they would typically be up on the sidewalks), and pedestrians relegated to running across three lanes of freeway-speed traffic to access one of Brooklyn's premier destinations.

I have no idea how one could argue how it reduces visibility either. If anything, the addition of clearly marked pedestrian islands should greatly improve visibility for vehicles. Same goes for pedestrians.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSoSlo

biggest waste of money EVER.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereddie

eddie: why do you think this is a waste of money? Are you secretly Iris Weinshall pretending to be a man named eddie?

The street operates more safely. I don't think you can (or should) put a price on that. Plus, DOT has done this in a measured and conservative fashion: cheap, quick installation of the first iteration of the bike lane and, now that it's been proven to work, a relatively restrained final design.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSoSlo

Every person I've ever spoken with (under the age of 80) has been so incredibly positive about the new bike lanes. Please don't let a handful of nutjobs continue to cloud this wonderful enhancement of our quality of life. Slower traffic, more pleasurable bike riding, more trees and we have finally caught up with the rest of the civilized world in this corner of Brooklyn with regard to biking. Can't we just ignore the few people who hate this and also think black people and women shouldn't be allowed to vote. They must be one and the same because 99% of people love this and the studies have all proven without a shadow of a doubt that things are improved from the standpoint of speeding AND biking.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeanstreet

Please dont let this become a discussion on bike lane merits.

Im not quite sure I get why money is being expended on these islands. They arent cheap and the perimeter of the park is beautiful without having to add trees to block the view.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJBOB

There are already trees along the park on the sidewalk and have been there for decades. And the park is mostly trees, so how is planting trees blocking a view of more trees?

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeanstreet

Sorry, i am way under 80 and the way they did the bike lanes and all the changes they have made to PPW are outrageous IMO. I'm sorry, people still need to drive cars, businesses still need to drive trucks, this takes away even more parking and makes driving even harder.

Why do we need pedestrian walkways anyway? couldn't this money be better put to use in, oh, let's say, schools who have had their budgets slashed to the bone instead of this nonsense??

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterParkSlopePerson

Oh, and dean street, this is the dumbest comment I have ever read! That people against the bike lanes must also think women and African Americans shouldn't vote, how dare you?

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterParkSlopePerson

It just ticks me off to no end that the city slashes education budgets to nothing, schools are losing more and more, yet, we have plenty of money for this BS!

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterParkSlopePerson

Wow, "Can't we just ignore the few people who hate this and also think black people and women shouldn't be allowed to vote. They must be one and the same because 99% of people love this..." Um, I disagree and so do many people (under the age of 40) with the way these bike lanes were put in. I would love to have a discussion about the merits of the bike lanes but not with someone closed minded enough to equate those that disagree with him/her as both racist and sexist.

The rendition makes it look like they are just taking away parking spaces, which already provided a buffer between bikes and traffic. This seems like a huge waste of money

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPSBK

"Im not quite sure I get why money is being expended on these islands. They arent cheap and the perimeter of the park is beautiful without having to add trees to block the view."

First off: trees blocking the view of... a park? I don't get it.

Second: the traffic islands aren't that expensive. Saying that you could take away the bike lane and save a bunch of teachers assumes that the money is fungible like that (I doubt it is). Plus, you really think that a few traffic islands are bankrupting the school system? You think we need to choose between pedestrian/bike safety and schools? It's a disingenuous argument.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSoSlo

FWIW I'm a PPW resident and most people I've spoken to about the bike lane here are in favor of it. I think these islands will look nice. I just think they need to make sure that any tree branches start high enough that people's view of the street or lane (depending on which way you're crossing) isn't obscured.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterilovebrooklyn

"The rendition makes it look like they are just taking away parking spaces, which already provided a buffer between bikes and traffic. This seems like a huge waste of money"

There WAS no accommodation for bikes in the previous design (bikes rode on the sidewalk), so the only thing the parking spaces did was separate a heavily-used sidewalk along the park from 3 lanes of freeway-speed traffic. As the parent of two small children, a row of parked cars isn't enough buffer when people are speeding at 50 mph down PPW. Now there's a double buffer, bikes are finally off the sidewalk, and the two lanes of traffic move at NORMAL speeds. I'm a driver too and I regularly drive PPW to take the kids to school. I have NEVER seen a traffic problem since the introduction of the bike lanes, other than the fact that cars no longer drive 50 mph.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSoSlo

Its a park not a forest. The trees theyre planting will block views of the park entrances which include more than just trees-the perimeter of the park is part of its design.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJBOB

I regularly bike, drive a car, and cross PPW several times a day on foot and I love the bike lanes. I am not against adding more trees to the city, but I do wonder how necessary these islands are. The rate that the massive crews are moving at (I guess it's hard to get much done when 50% or more of the crew spends most of the day sitting on the park benches) I imagine that the price tage for these is rather high.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSloper

SoSlo, I'm not talking about a previous design, I was referring to the rendition. if you open your eyes and look at the rendition, there's side walk, a bike lane, and then parked cars, so a buffer. And if you are one of the people who don't bother to control their kids on the sidewalk, that's your problem.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPSBK

Don't even bother with the whackos. They will think of any asinine reason to oppose this. Now it's because trees will block the view of the park. What the hell? And they'll even try to tell you that their lack of parenting skills are not the reason for their unruly children, but that their rugrats act like animals BECAUSE of this bike lane.

Really though, drivers are a greedy and selfish bunch. They would like every road to have 16 lanes so they can fly at 60 mph. Oh and they need gas to cost $1.00 a gallon. It never stops...more more more. They need more parking and MORE lanes so they can pollute MORE and increase the asthma rate MORE and continue to pave over every surface of the country with asphalt. I mean really, there are people saying they'd rather have more concrete than more trees. What kind of person says that?

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeanstreet

I really dont get this drivers v bikers thing maybe because I ahve both Im just confused. I like the lane , Im not against it, what exactly does that have to do with having an opinion on these new islands

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJBOB

There is a problem at the intersections of PPW and the bike lanes. The medians create a further barrier of protection for pedestrian, bicyclist and vehicular traffic. In for a penny, in for a pound.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYukonGold

PBSK: If you open your eyes, you'd see that the image is a "rendering" or, more briefly, a "render". A rendition is the transfer of someone or something from one entity to another.

That said, there are a number of flaws in the current version of the bike lane layout. The pedestrian islands as currently implemented are pretty ugly and don't provide the kind of psychological impression of safety that makes people comfortable standing next to two lanes full of drivers like you. As you can see in the RENDERING, the crosswalk lights are also moved into the pedestrian islands, making crossing easier and safer.

As to my control of my children, you apparently have never had twin toddlers. God himself would have trouble corralling them. It says nothing about me as a parent. Thankfully, the only thing more persistent and annoying than Park Slope parents are the whiny shrews that crow about them.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSoSlo

This is why we need raised island.

http://whatyourdonotknowbecauseyouarenotme.blogspot.com/2011/05/why-we-need-raised-pedestrian-islands.html

Because some people think they can put their cars where ever they want.

May 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChicken Underwear

God himself? Talk about making someone elses case for them

May 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjbob
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