The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Get the Cars Outa the Park

It's time.

In this well-written petition, the pandering to cars has got to end. Y'all get free parking. Y'all get free access to Manhattan over the bridges. Y'all get to double-park, and pollute our air, and honk your asses off anytime you like, and mow us down in the crosswalks. Now vamoose from the parks. I ride my bike, with child no less, every weekday to her school. There are very, very few cars that use the entrance at Coney Island Avenue, the only one that's open any more. Maybe a few hundred a morning. And for this we have to be wary of traffic, which often seems oblivious to the rules - one lane for runner/walkers, one for bikes, one for cars. It's hard enough dodging the would-be Lance Armstrongs.

I've been shocked at the Community Board by how pro-car everyone around here is. They FLIP OUT everytime someone suggests creating bike lanes, or dedicated MTA bus lanes, or even slow zones. SLOW ZONES FOR CHRISAKES! Like on interior streets. Are you effing kidding me? No to slow zones?

Hey, I love cars. I love taxis and car service. I like renting them to get out of town. I want them to be able to get around quickly, just like everybody else. But cars in parks? What in heavens are we thinking, here? Does Robert Moses still work for the City? People get all nuts when we talk about new regs for cars, like we're taking away their baby bottle. It's embarrassing. Keep your car, but save your bitching.

Sign the petition. I know, I know, another stupid petition. But maybe it'll make you feel better. I know it made me feel great about myself for about three seconds. Someone tells me Brad Lander has an interest in this. Seems like his kinda thang. Here's the text:

As the neighborhoods surrounding Prospect Park have become more developed and more heavily populated, use of the park by pedestrians, cyclists, runners and other residents has increased. Although the reduction in car traffic in the park has been a positive development, it is becoming clear that even limited access to the park by passenger vehicles is a disaster waiting to happen.
There is no evidence that re-routing traffic through the surrounding neighborhoods will cause any negative impacts. It is time to completely close Prospect and Central Parks to traffic.
Sooner or later someone is going to get killed. A little kid or a senior citizen is going to get mowed down by someone who thinks they're saving 5 minutes by racing through a park. Then we'll stop rush hour traffic and everyone will remember their name. Mayor de Blasio, stop this unneeded rush hour traffic in the parks now and we will remember your name as the person who saved lives. 
These roads are closed for 158 out of 168 hours a week.  Can we just end this confusing and dangerous situation and let our parks be parks and not shortcuts.


Michael Ring said...

thanks for sharing

ryan said...

I agree 100%. Allowing private vehicles to drive through busy parks during rush hour is just bonkers. The small benefit to a few drivers is far outweighed by the threat posed to kids and people using the parks.

roxv said...

the sheer vitriol directed at people on bicycles in this city is mind boggling. everyone (begrudgingly) agrees cars shouldn't mow down pedestrians, but cyclists? they had it comin' to them! the only thing i liked about Bloomberg is that he seemed to love bike lanes. the cars in the park have got to go!

Mr plg said...

Signed sealed delivered!

Anonymous said...

Agreed, surviving the dollar vans and general reckless drivers on Flatbush is bad enough, would love to have to not worry about cars in the park.

Anonymous said...

Just signed it, but haven't PPA just finished installing a massive car park smack bang in the middle of Prospect Park ?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 7:35: Unless things have changed (always possible), that new parking lot is only open in winter when the ice skating rink is open.

Alex said...

The parking lot in the middle of the park is intended for events at the Lakeside only, and only during the winter. That is what they said at the outset, at least.

Michael Ring said...

Anon @ 7:35:And it's not that big.

Paul Galloway said...

Hey not all us drivers are like that. I have a car but 100% support a car-free park, even though that will mean an uptick in the already bad traffic on my street, Ocean Ave. Totally worth it in my view.

I, as do many drivers, also support the Move NY plan to toll the East River bridges:
Sign this petition too while you're at it.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Those cars in prospect park are super annoying every morning.

diak said...

At the risk of getting pelted with abuse and garbage, I'm going to admit to being a car owner and daily driver. But you know what else? I agree with you. It's time the "car privilege" was rolled back. Maybe way back. In addition to no cars in Prospect Park, I'd add tolls, congestion pricing, bus and bike lanes, slower speeds, and most importantly enforcement, enforcement, and more enforcement of traffic laws. (Hey, trust me, it's no fun sharing the road with some of these idiots). If I were the emperor, I'd enforce EVERYTHING. From unnecessary honking to DWI. And especially the now-ubiquitous driving while looking at a phone... hey, you're commanding a heavily motorized ton and a half of steel and glass on a public street—at least PAY ATTENTION!

Of course I'd like to see better enforcement on the bikes as well. (roxv: after a few near-collisions with bikes running lights going the wrong way on a one-way street, you'd understand why the anger at cyclists.)
To Anon 7:35: the Park's parking lot—yes, only open seasonally—isn't "massive." It's about a couple of acres in a park that's more than 600 acres. It's located on a site that was formerly storage for the Parks Dept's extra dirt and gravel. It's a big help for people who aren't as fortunate as we are to live so close to the park. Drive in, park, drive out—all can be accomplished without using the park drive loop.

The only thing I disagree with in the petition is that banning cars from the park will have no impact. Those cars gotta go somewhere. But if the DOT didn't have its head up its butt, it could mitigate the impact. Two ideas off the top of my head:
• Change the timing of the traffic light in front of the Library at GAP so that more than 8 or 9 cars can pass through on every green. This short timing often leads to big backups on Flatbush in the morning. Timing could be reversed in the afternoon to allow for more outbound flow.
• Install "push to cross" buttons for pedestrians at traffic lights that are not at car intersections such as at the zoo entrance on Flatbush. I have to stop there nearly every morning but I'd estimate I see maybe one pedestrian a month. And on those nice summer weekend afternoons when the zoo is crowded, it would also help pedestrians by affording more and safer opportunities to cross.

Driving a car in Brooklyn is expensive, frustrating, aggravating and occasionally terrifying. Or in other words, heaven on earth compared to relying on the 41 bus.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

No question bikers need to learn some etiquette. They've been taught to be reckless by...the drivers.

The B41? The best bus in the WORLD! Gets me all kinds of places I need to go, and if you ride the express it kicks butt.

My kids love the B41. I love the B41. We all scream for ice scream.

And guess what? I don't have to PARK it. Can you imagine finding a space for that thing?

roxv said...

diak: do you mean collisions with cyclists while in a car or on foot? if you mean on foot, i've been hit by several bikes while on foot in my time (ALL delivery men) and while it sucks, i walked away with the nastiest bruises in my life in the worst case, and that's it. if you mean collisions while in a car, keep in mind that's a LOT more dangerous for the guy on the bike, 100% of the time. so no i don't understand the ire towards cyclists.

except those delivery guys. those guys can really suck sometimes and are often a danger to other cyclists too, as well as everyone else

diak said...

roxv: I mean a situation where I was driving, bike was going the wrong way through and the red light. Yes, the bike rider is in more bodily peril, but I don't see how that justifies the behavior. Oddly enough, I don't want to hit anyone with my car. And I don't want to have to make evasive maneuvers that can endanger me, my passengers, other vehicles or nearby pedestrians.
Cyclists in a bike lane, generally following the law (hey, I know a bike is going to coast through an empty intersection) I got no problem (or anger issues) with. It's their street too. But people attempting suicide should find a method that doesn't involve or endanger other people.

diak said...

"The B41? The best bus in the WORLD!"

Wow, Mr CF. You've said many things on this blog that I don't agree with but this might be the first time I've doubted your sanity. ;-)
Well, at least you have the good sense not to put your kids in a dollar van (I hope)!

Anonymous said...

I have love/hate relationship with the B41. However, it's one of the closest routes; it takes me to many of the places where I'd want to go in Brooklyn, and since I don't own a car, I have to endure a LTR with it.

I still dream of a B41 SBS though.

Why are cars allowed to drive through the park at all?

babs said...

The B41 is useful, however, it is, like most city buses, a mess - you wait for twenty minutes and three come at the same time, etc.. Repeated winner of the slowest bus in Brooklyn:

A great bus? That would be the B44 SBS, which get me from Rogers and Empire to Bed-Stuy in 10 minutes. It's reliable (comes about every ten minutes, almost like clockwork) and fast. I just wish they would all go to the end of the line at the Williamsburg bus terminal instead of dumping everyone at Flushing Ave.

Anonymous said...

Trains are fine here. B41 is fine. Dollar vans are fine. Car service cars are easy to be had. Why do so many in our neighborhood drive everywhere? It is not faster than public transport and good lord, the parking factor.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is this much anger toward bikers who dont follow traffic laws and pedestrians hmmm...

I don't own a car but I drive a Zipcar and rent on occasions and I share the frustration of drivers in the city. Look we have a TRAFFIC problem, congestion is a huge stick in the mud. I'm sorry after being stuck in traffic for 30 min when I get clear road sorry I am speeding to make up for it. And please don't give me this crock about public transportation its not that much better so let's stop, with its constant delays and slowness of its own.

Instead of trying to penalize drivers which there will be, we can't stop that how about better traffic flow and control, implement tech to find ways to move it along better. I can speak to some intersections the light synchronization just sucks. How about pedestrians learning to cross, how about bikers obeying the law, I don't know that may help. All are to blame in this madness not drivers alone.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Not buying it Anon. Fewer cars, less congestion, less road rage, less idling double-parkers, less defensive posturing by drivers clinging to their right to do something that's harmful to all.

Like I said, I'm fine with people keeping their cars because that's where we're at. But look to the makes no sense.

And all these people pissed at pedestrian and bike behavior...yes, they're being stupid. But they're not slowing you down. That's traffic. And the reason you're so pissed at them is because you bothered to drive at all.

I used to be pissed all the time as a car owner. My days and nights are much less stressed now that I'm not. I hate the traffic too...but it's the perfectly healthy drivers, one to a car, that are to blame.

Paul Galloway said...

re: Anon 7:12
I can assure you that a great many people who have and drive cars ALSO make use of mass transit regularly. It doesn't have to be strictly either/or.

And if you've never done it, try driving in Manhattan on an early Sunday morning. It's joyous and free! Park anywhere!

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Sunday morning is about the only time. I'm pleased that you are able to drive your family to church. Or Dim Sum. Which is like church for agnostics.

Did I forget to mention drunk drivers?

Like I said, keep your car. As in, keep it out of the park.

Paul Galloway said...

We are agreed.

But I reserve the right to scream at anyone over the age of 11 riding their bike on the sidewalk.

I'll be a good driver and pedestrian, you be a good cyclist - capisce?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Fine. Except on Sunday mornings, when you're driving anyway.

Michael Ring said...

Paul, I will never deny anyone the right to scream at wherever they want. but I believe legally you can ride your bike on the sidewalk and up until your 13 years old.