Updated 10/21/2010 05:18 PM
Dueling Rallies Held Over Bike Lanes At Prospect Park West
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Rallies were held Thursday for and against bike lanes at Prospect Park West in Brooklyn.
Opponents argue that the lanes actually make streets more dangerous, with cyclists going in both directions. They recommend putting the lanes in the park.
"It's causing a lot of crowding, making the cars go into two lanes,” said one protester.
That, opponents say, causes congestion, especially when there are concerts in the park, and on weekends when cars stop to drop people off. Plus, they think it ruins the look of historic, picturesque Prospect Park West.
"This has been one of the most beautiful streets," said Louise Hainline of the group Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes. "It's a landmarked district and people can't change the color of sidewalks without permission, and here we are on this incredibly ugly, green, pillared bike lane."
Opponents say the Department of Transportation installed the lanes without gauging public opinion. The DOT says it's studying how much safer the bike lanes make the streets and how much use they get since they were put in place over the summer.
But people who favor the lanes say they already know the answers.
"It adds so much more order to the street,” said one cyclist. “The bike traffic on the street makes it very dangerous when the cars come speeding through. It's just a really common sense idea for a high bike traffic area."
"I would either go in the sidewalk here and, you know, that would impede pedestrians or I would have to go into the park,” said another resident in favor of the bike lanes. “Now with this bike lane, it's great."
"It's a complete difference, weaving in and out of traffic versus this," said a third.
Borough President Marty Markowitz was not at the rally, but released a statement calling the bike paths a dangerous eyesore and saying the DOT used traffic as an excuse to complete their vision of more bike lanes.
The DOT says speeding is down and biking is up and it's still studying the numbers. There is no word on whether the lanes will be a permanent.