Today’s news:

CB6 rolls with PPW bike path plan

Community Board 6 this week made formal its sentiment regarding a controversial city plan for a bicycle path along Prospect Park West.

At the board’s May 13 general meeting, members voted 18−9 with three abstentions to conditionally approve the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plan to reduce driving lanes from three to two and install two−way bicycle lanes in the parking lane with a painted median on the eastside of Prospect Park West between Union Street and Bartel Pritchard Square.

The matter was the subject of hot debate. Those in favor said the roadway would be made safer, while critics called the scheme an ill−conceived one that could potentially endanger cyclists and pedestrians.

In the letter, the board told DOT Borough Commissioner Joseph Palmieri that in addition to installing the bicycle lanes, “a separate set of traffic signals should be installed to control the southbound and northbound bicycle traffic, particularly the northbound traffic that would not otherwise have any visible traffic signals.”

The board asked the agency to study traffic on Prospect Park West, so that the proposed changes are “implemented in a manner which does not result in a doubling−up of vehicles that block traffic and constricts moving traffic to just one lane,” the letter reads. The board also said that a raised median to physically separate cyclists from the east side parking lane should replace the proposed striped median intended to separate the two−way bicycle traffic from the east side parking lane as soon as possible.

“Ultimately, it is our belief that motorized vehicles, non−motorized vehicles and pedestrians all will be safest if there is a raised median separating the bicycle lanes from the parking lane,” the board stated.

The DOT has yet to respond to the board’s letter, dated July 13.

At the May meeting, the board also voted 16−14 to urge the agency to delay the installation of the lanes until September 2009. The all−volunteer body now awaits the agency’s response to questions regarding maintenance of the lanes, water drainage, and signage.

“This just puts the resolution on paper,” said CB 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman. “Most people want to see something work.”

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