28 October 2010

the rally

image via the NYTimes

That's right. In New York City you have to rally to keep bikes lanes!

It was one week ago when the early-morning rally to SAVE Prospect Park West's two-way protected bike lanes took place. The event garnered a lot of media attention and with camera crews/photographers abound it didn't occur to me at the time to take pictures myself and therefore only have the image above to share. The turn out of supporters was really great -- the NYTimes reported 150-200 came to support keeping the bike lane and that 50-70 came to protest it. (This estimate may be low since it took place from 8am-9am which is prime work commute time and many people stopped by in support but seemingly had to leave just as we encountered the group of protesters.) The thought that people would oppose the following effects that the new street design which removed one lane of car traffic in just a few months (illustrated below by StreetFilms.org) baffles me:
IRONICALLY - and I'm not sure how many people heard about this - but DURING the rally there was a terrible car accident around the corner at the intersection of Grand Army Plaza and Flatbush caused by none other then A SPEEDING CAR. The accident sent seven people to the hospital. Terribly sad.

While the saga of the little protected bike lane along Prospect Park West continues... the dreamer in me can't help but picture the day the issue being but to rest. Just imagine everyone respecting for each others safety and following the DOT's advice:

Those bright green (temporary foam core-backed) signs above were placed along Prospect Park West earlier this month in anticipation of thousands of people coming to the park due to a big event. They were are all up for just that one weekend. But due to the education needed to reform people's habits -- perhaps the DOT should make more (more permanent) signs!

Also, if you are a New Yorker take a few minutes and voice your opinion on the Prospect Park West bike lane in THIS SURVEY organized by Brooklyn Community Board , Councilmembers Brad Lander and Councilmember Stephen Levin.


  1. I actually did comment when I took that survey re the lack of appropriate signage on the bike lane and the loading areas. You can't just tell people "loading areas are this color" with an 8.5x11 sign and call it a day. They need to be a different color with LOADING AREA written right ON them.

    Same thing with the signs you posted - the first time I was on the lane I had to ask my bf if the light there meant I had to stop. I really had no idea if the pedestrians or the bikers had the right of way because I had no idea if the stoplight was new for the bikes and intended for the bikes on a bike path or if it was there for the cars already and then null if there was a bike path over it.

    I also had no idea until he told me that the right way to double-park on a road that has a bike lane is to double-park next to the bike lane, not IN the bike lane. I am sure NONE of my friends who drive know this.

    Anyway, I ended up getting to the rally about 15 mins late so I caught the end of it before we moved over to the other protest.

  2. Thanks for your comment Jesse.

    There is no doubt that the cycling infurstructure in NYC can be enhanced. While it has come along way in recent years - there are many areas where cyclists are left wondering how best (and legally) to navigate -- including some new bike lanes. (...how about that bike lane that goes up onto the sidewalk on Kent South of Division Street?!?)

    I so agree that it is not clear to cyclists on the new PPW (especially those North bound) where pedestrian crosswalks are and that cyclists need to give the right of way to pedestrians. And even though those yellow flashing lights are in both directions -- they installed them so high up the poles that it took me weeks to realize they there to warn cycists of the crossing. They should add a bike icon to those yellow lights to make it clearer!

    What I find pretty remarkable is that even in that StreetFilms video I posted on the 19th - you see cyclists weaving through people in the crosswalk! Totally mixed messages.

    I personally aim to make eye contact, ring my bell when approaching if they don't see me, and slowing down if anyone is already in the crosswalk. I usually get reactions of confusion by pedestrians when I stop and give then right of way which leads me believe that they are not used to it.

    Also, regarding those DOT green signs - they were atleast 24" wide. Pretty large in my option. Still don't think that they wouldn't hurt to have around.


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