Our old pal the Prospect Park West Bike lane is still blowing up the news like the crazed tweets of Martin Sheen’s son, well maybe not that popular. (Charlie Sheen does have 3,141,447 followers on twitter.)
WNYC’s Brian Lehrer couldn’t resist the opportunity since the cover spread in NY Magazine. Yesterday he hosted a 20 minute segment called: “Bike Lane Brouhaha,” featuring lawyer Jim Walden who’s taken on the Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes case to sue the DOT for “not doing their job.”
Seems kind of ridiculous that a 1,000 dollar a hour lawyer would work pro bono to sue a city agency for accountability especially since the DOT has been working on this bike lane in complete transparency since 2007. Luckily, Michael called in the show who works for Councilman Brad Lander to set the record straight about how the local community board asked for this bike lane and 70% of local residents approved and felt safer.
Part 2 is on today’s show with Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson calling in to praise the bike lane. He recently wrote an article in the Huffington Post saying, bike lanes serve a simple purpose in NYC, “to help provide all New Yorkers with more diverse transportation choices.” He also pointed out a recent Quinnipiac poll which illustrates how “City residents give bike lanes the nod by 15 points, 54-39.” Read more here.
I dunno, maybe I have it all wrong about supporting this bike lane. Perhaps we should base safety improvements and a less auto centric direction of the city on the convinces of a few people who happen to live on one of the widest streets in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, things have elevated to a major case of the ridiculous in Central Park. What started as a massive NYPD ticket blitz against cyclists for not stopping at red lights has now turned to speeding. That’s right the cops are giving cyclists tickets for breaking the speed limit designed for automobiles. Of course their setting up their sting operation on the downhill part of the park around 110th st.
I recieved this email from a bikeblog reader:
“Unfortunately, I have some frustrating news regarding to the cycling situation in Central Park.
As you know, many cyclists spoke out against the crackdown on cyclists in Central Park at the community board meeting. They expressed reasonable opinions and criticism to the police and asked for the ticketing – which Boro President Stringer called “harassment” – to stop.
The police have responded by ramping things up: this morning, as early as 6:00AM, the police set up a RADAR speed trap on the West Side of Central Park. It was placed at the bottom of a hill, with two black unmarked police cars and approximately six police officers in the roadway, blocking off more than a full lane.
At about 6:10AM, I passed the officers. It was dark, the officers were dressed in their dark uniforms and their black cars had no lights on. Their cars were difficult to see.
To express that their position was unsafe, I said to the officers “cars in the middle of the road? really?”
One of the officers responded “you got a problem with that?”
When police set up speed traps for cars – they do not park their police cars blocking half the roadway.
Clearly, their goal is not safety – tickets are the goal.
In addition, I saw a few cyclists get pulled over for running red lights *directly in front of the officers.* It’s clear that these people had no idea that they were supposed to stop at the lights – otherwise, why break the law in front of a police officer.
Our petition currently has 1,586 online signatures + more handwritten.
The NYCC petition currently has 586 online signatures + more handwritten.”
Here is more about this from Gothamist. and here is video from one rider in which the NYPD tries to explain why cyclists shouldn’t go more than 15 m.p.h.
Read more here.
Meanwhile two city council members Brooklyn’s Brad Lander and Manhattan’s Ydanis Rodriguez have introduced a flashing yellow bill to change the stop lights in Central Park to cater to cyclists.
More on this in NYvelocity.com
Here is a story that just about made me faint. The NYPD had to apologize for giving speeding tickets to cyclists in Central Park.
Police Apologize in Person for Cyclistâ€™s Ticket in Park
By JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN
Published: March 22, 2011
David Regen was sitting down to dinner Tuesday night when two police officers appeared at his home under circumstances that will instantly evoke envy from any New Yorker who has ever been issued a ticket.
The officers had come over to apologize for a ticket issued to him earlier that day.
â€œThey said, â€˜Weâ€™re here because weâ€™re withdrawing your ticket because we feel you were treated unfairly,â€™ â€ Mr. Regen recalled about an hour later in a telephone interview.
The ticket was for speeding through Central Park on a bicycle some 13 hours earlier. Mr. Regen, who lives on West End Avenue at 103rd Street, was one of 10 cyclists caught Tuesday morning on a police speed gun, a rarity during the early-morning hours in Central Park, when cars are not allowed on most of the roads.
Read the article here.
Meanwhile, City Councilwoman Gale Brewer has a better idea for dealing with Central Park, she is introducing a bill that will completely eliminate motor vehicles from both Central Park and Prosepect Park.
Way to go Gale!
Read more from NY1.