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If Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan got out of her ivory tower in Manhattan and observed the total scope of activity along Prospect Park West, it would be apparent that reducing Prospect Park West to two traffic lanes to accommodate a bicycle lane is a terrible idea.
I have lived on Prospect Park West for 30 years and believe this change will create more dangerous conditions than it purports to alleviate.
The Prospect Park Alliance is really proud that Prospect Park usage has climbed from two million to nine million visitors a year. Guess what — that has brought a lot more vehicular traffic to the neighborhood, and Prospect Park West in particular.
Sadik-Khan must not be reading Tupper Thomas’s press releases. Every weekday afternoon in spring, summer and fall and all day long on Saturday and Sunday, people are being dropped off in cars that often double-park. On holiday weekends and for special events, like Celebrate Brooklyn, the double-parking now reduces the street from three to one traffic lane.
The drop-off zone in front of the Lafayette Monument at Ninth Street is now unusable because local residents with city-issued special parking placards are using that space as a private parking lot all week long. These vehicles should just be towed off to the impound lot.
The normal course of daily life brings a lot of double-parking to Prospect Park West. Access-a-Ride, UPS, Fresh Direct, tradesmen, taxis and school buses all stop in a traffic lane to accomplish their task.
Mr. Softee and other ice-cream trucks double-park in a traffic lane whenever they can get away with it.
Residents just trying to park need a traffic lane to wait and then pull into an empty curbside parking place. It is going to be a hazardous maneuver when Prospect Park West is down to two traffic lanes.
At the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket on Saturdays, customers double-park on the east side of Prospect Park West and ambulatory vehicles double-park in front of the Castle at Prospect Park senior residence on the west side. That does not leave much room for all the vehicles coming around the Plaza off Flatbush and Vanderbilt avenues.
It is unfortunate that the Department of Transportation, Community Board 6 and Councilman Brad Lander have ignored the facts in their single-minded pursuit of installing bike lanes on Prospect Park West. Once the project is completed, they will be free of the consequences and the 78th Precinct and Prospect Park will have all the new problems to deal with.
Roger Melzer has lived on Prospect Park West for 30 years.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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