New Park Slope Bike Lane Project Shelved for Fear of Another Lawsuit

11/02/2011 3:52 PM |

John McClane hates bike lanes.
  • John McClane hates bike lanes.

Remember that minor kerfuffle over a mile of green paint and reduced speeding rates along Prospect Park West when a two-way protect bike lanes was installed there last year? Yeah, well, that little legal scuffle was enough, the Brooklyn Paper alleges, to cause the city’s Department of Transportation to shelve plans for a similarly buffered two-way connector lane on Plaza Street West, the curving road that circles Grand Army Plaza and currently has a one-way lane.

The lane in question, which was part of the broader redesign of Grand Army Plaza that the DOT put forth in April of 2010, would offer a much-needed connection to the hugely successful Prospect Park West lane, and a convenient way of getting around scary Grand Army Plaza.

The DOT says the decision to postpone installing the new lane has nothing to do with the cranks who made a mess of the Prospect Park West lane.

Department of Transportation spokesman Seth Solomonow said that the agency will not install the new lane this year due to “the scope” of a bigger Grand Army Plaza project, which includes a new stop light and an expansion of the farmer’s market area.

But residents and cycling advocates say the negative press from the PPW lane fight, and letters from members of the group that opposed that lane threatening to fight this new one, dissuaded the city agency from going ahead with the project. “They’ve stopped because of the push back [from bike lane opponents],” offers bike advocate Eric McClure.

It would undoubtedly be a shame for this bike lane connector to not get built, as any plan to make Grand Army Plaza more intelligible to its most vulnerable users is worth a shot. But if the DOT gives into the terrorists bike lane opponents—if that’s indeed what’s happening here—the agency is just letting them win.