Next Thursday: A Neighborly Rally for the Traffic-Calming PPW Bike Lane

PPW_scene

Bike lane supporters will need to turn out and respectfully make their presence felt next Thursday. A few well-connected opponents can make these projects disappear. Photo of the PPW bike lane: Jeff Prant

Mark next Thursday on your calendars. It’s a critical day for one of the city’s most innovative livable streets projects. If you care about safer streets, it’s going to be an excellent time to respectfully show your support in public.

That morning, at 8:30, opponents of the Prospect Park West bike lane are holding an event at the corner of Carroll Street and PPW to call for its removal. They’re posting flyers around Park Slope and inviting the press to turn up and get the whole thing on camera. Here’s a look at how the bike lane opponents are advertising their event:

Flyer

Bike lane opponents are pasting this flyer around Park Slope.

To coincide with the anti-bike lane demonstration, Park Slope Neighbors, the Park Slope Civic Council, and Transportation Alternatives’ Brooklyn Committee are putting together a show of support for the bike lane and its traffic-calming effect on the street. They’ll be gathering at 8:00 a.m. at Grand Army Plaza.

Neighborhood groups collected more than a thousand signatures in support of this project before DOT implemented it, and more than 1,700 people now belong to the pro-bike lane Facebook group. Next Thursday you can come out and show the press how many people support this traffic-calming improvement to the neighborhood.

The PPW bike path has tamed traffic and made the street safer for everyone. Average speeds are down 25 percent and compliance with the speed limit is up 400 percent since the lane went in, according to data collected by Park Slope Neighbors. Kids and families can bike on PPW now. Older Park Slopers can ride the lane and walk to the park without having to cross three lanes of racing traffic.

But if we’ve learned anything from the recent rash of bike coverage, it’s that a lot of reporters will jump at any opportunity to slag bike lanes or portray cyclists as reckless social misfits. We’ve received word that CBS2′s Marcia Kramer will be there, and there’s every reason to believe that reporters would be more than happy to focus on angry, rude cyclists and conflict. So let’s keep it positive and don’t give them the chance.

Bring your friends, your kids, and your parents. Bring your bike if you want to ride in the lane, or just bring your shoes and stand in support of safer streets. Bring tolerance and mercy for the other side, too. If everyone who uses the new Prospect Park West and wants to see it stay safe shows up, the opponents are sure to be vastly outnumbered.