Thursday, January 20, 2011

Don't Tell Marty Markowitz, But the Prospect Park West Bike Lane Is Working Wonders

Posted By on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Prospect Park West Bike Lane

The Brooklyn Paper got a sneak peek at a report that the city's Department of Transportation will be presenting to Community Board 6 this evening (which is also available as a PDF here), which reveals the results of a study to gauge the effects of the six-months-old, seniors-protested, borough president-detested Prospect Park West bike lane on accidents and injuries along the strip. We'd say that this'll shut Marty up, but he doesn't seem like the quiet type.

The report is full of stats that show the new two-way lanes' tremendous benefits, not only for cyclists, but also for pedestrians and motorists. Among them:

- weekday cycling along Prospect Park West has tripled.
- the percentage of PPW cyclists riding on the sidewalk has fallen from 46 percent to 3 percent (and 32 percent of that 3 percent is kids under 12 who are legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk).
- weekend cycling along PPW has doubled.
- before the bike lanes were installed, when there were 3 lanes for cars, 3 of every 4 motorists broke the speed limit along PPW; now, with the number of lanes reduced to 2, only 1 of every 5 drivers goes over the speed limit on PPW.
- PPW actually handles more commuters now that the number of car lanes has been reduced: 13 percent more in the morning, and 9 percent more in the evening.
- the total number of crashes on PPW is down 16 percent: crashes are down 15.7 percent; accidents with injuries are down from an average of 5.3 in a six month period before the bike lane, to just 2 in the six months since the bike lane opened.
- there have been no pedestrian injuries on PPW since the bike lanes were installed; there have been no injuries from cyclist-pedestrian accidents since the lanes were installed.

In response to community feedback (including, presumably, the reactionary NIMBY type of "feedback") the DoT closes the report with a few proposals for further improvements to the PPW streetscape: landscaped pedestrian islands such as those on Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Manhattan; "rumble strips," or the bicycle equivalent of speed bumps, to keep cyclists from achieving dangerous speeds and warn them about upcoming intersections; narrowing the parking buffer near Grand Army Plaza to make entry into that clusterfuck of a traffic disaster a little less terrifying; improved loading area design for the intersection of 9th Street and PPW. In summary, bike lanes are good for everyone's quality of life, not just that of cyclists. More bike lanes, please. (Gothamist, Streetsblog, BKPaper, photo)

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