Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rally for Prospect Park Bike Lane Draws Hundreds

Hundreds of Brooklynites gathered this morning at Grand Army Plaza to show their support for the redesigned Prospect Park West. They made a statement that should be hard for elected officials and the press to miss. Most people who live in the neighborhoods near PPW like biking and walking on the new, traffic-calmed street and don’t want to see those changes taken away.

The crowd size was estimated at about 300 supporters. The rally was organized by Park Slope Neighbors, the Park Slope Civic Council, and Transportation Alternatives in response to an anti-bike lane demonstration that took place on PPW and Carroll Street. After massing at GAP, most of the pro-bike lane crowd walked down PPW to declare their love for the safer street to the gathering of about 70 or so opponents, while a large contingent rode up and down the two-way bike path.

The defining moment of the morning, came when Carlo Scissura, chief of staff to Borough President Marty Markowitz, rallied the bike lane opponents by telling them the PPW redesign was the vision of “one person” — Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. The large mass of bike lane supporters were standing just a few feet away when he said it. Scissura’s remark reportedly elicited a hearty round of booing on a morning that otherwise was largely free of overt confrontation.

It is great to see that grass root advocacy can grow to a large enough contingency to get real results on the ground. Prospect Park is a beautiful park for citizens of Brooklyn, and the bike lane projects on either side of it help the citizens of the area access the park easier. It also provides a great connection across the city for commuters. Keep up the good work!

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