City Council Member Brad Lander and Brooklyn Community Board 6 member Richard Bashner have filed an amicus brief in support of the Prospect Park West redesign carried out by NYC DOT. The brief recounts the extensive public process that preceded the installation of the bike lane in 2010 and DOT’s ongoing engagement with the community board as the agency has refined the project and measured its impact. The next hearing on the PPW lawsuit is scheduled for June 22.
In a statement, Lander, who served on CB6 when the board first discussed and voted on the redesign, and Bashner, who chaired the board at that time, rebut the central argument made by Gibson Dunn attorney Jim Walden  on behalf of the bike lane opponents suing the city: that DOT’s installation of the PPW redesign was “arbitrary and capricious.” Citing public workshops going back to 2007, Lander and Bashner puncture the plaintiffs’ contention that the PPW project was imposed by DOT without broad community support .
“The process surrounding the installation of the Prospect Park West bike path has been inclusive, transparent, collaborative, and democratic,” said Lander. “The vast majority of Park Slope residents support the path, believe it makes the community safer, and want it to remain.”
Bashner joined the brief as a private citizen, not as a representative of CB6. He provided the following statement:
I am proud of the extensive democratic process that took place here. Community Board 6, heeding the calls of the community, requested traffic calming on Prospect Park West to eliminate dangerous speeding. At our specific request, DOT studied the question of whether a two-way protected bicycle path could be installed on Prospect Park West, and developed a plan for implementation. We approved the concept, provided extensive opportunities for residents to make their opinions heard at many public meetings, suggested changes to the design, and worked with DOT on modifications before and after its implementation. DOT should be lauded for its collaborative community process, rather than being accused of making an ‘arbitrary and capricious’ decision. Thanks to this process, Prospect Park West – the street where I live – is much safer today. Traffic is now much closer to the 30 mph legal speed limit, bicycles and cars are separated, and pedestrians have an easier time crossing the street because they now have to cross only two lanes of car traffic instead of three.
After the jump, read the full timeline of the Prospect Park West public process that Lander and Bashner compiled:
- March, 2007: At a Park Slope community meeting attended by hundreds, concerns about speeding and safety on Prospect Park West are raised, noting that cars exceed 60 MPH, and that many cars substantially exceed the speed limit.
- June, 2007: CB6 sends a letter to DOT, requesting study of a protected, two-way bike path on Prospect Park West as a way to reduce speeding and improve safety.
- April, 2009: DOT presents initial plan for parking-separated path to CB6 Transportation Committee, which unanimously voted to approve the plan.
- May, 2009: The full CB6 board votes to approve the plan, 18 – 9, with suggested modifications.
- April, 2010: CB6, Lander, DOT sponsor an open house, attended by hundreds, showing design plan for additional public comment.
- April, 2010: DOT presents the modified design (addressing many issues raised by CB6 and community residents) to CB6.
- June, 2010: Prospect Park West parking-protected, two-way bike path is installed.
- Summer, 2010: Lander meets with bike path opponents and supporters.
- July, 2010: Lander requests that DOT commit to provide data to community, after the path has been in operation for several months, on how the path is working.
- August, 2010: DOT commits to provide data, and report back to the community in early 2011.
- October, 2010: Lander, Councilmember Steve Levin, and CB6 conduct a detailed survey on the path, completed by over 3,000 Brooklynites, which reveals significant support for the path, and suggests some additional modifications.
- October, 2010: DOT releases first round of data, showing dramatic reductions in speeding and sidewalk cycling, and significant increases in cycling.
- January, 2011: DOT presents data to CB6 (at a meeting attended by hundreds) on the first six months of the path’s operation, showing speeding, accidents, and injuries are down, travel time remains constant, sidewalk riding is down, cycling is up. DOT also proposes additional design modifications in response to community requests, including raised pedestrian islands and bike rumble-strips to improve bike/pedestrian interactions.
- March, 2011: CB6 holds public hearing (attended by hundreds), at which the significant majority of community residents present favor the bike path.
- April, 2011: CB6 votes unanimously to approve the raised pedestrian islands, bike rumble strips, and other design modifications proposed by DOT (requesting that the design of the islands be contextual with Prospect Park West).