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The Prospect Park West Family Bike Ride

On a grey, chilly Sunday, an estimated 750 people, many of them on training wheels and balance bikes, turned out to ride the Prospect Park West bike lane and show their support for the traffic-calming redesign. Since the two-way, separated bike path debuted last summer, it's become indispensable for many parents who use it to take their children to school and get around the neighborhood. On weekends, the lane is full of families heading to the green market at Grand Army Plaza and kids riding to Prospect Park.

The "We Ride the Lanes" event was the brainchild of Mitch Sonies, who rides the PPW bike lane with his six-year-old daughter and wanted to do something positive to highlight how much people appreciate having a much safer street in their neighborhood. "It was a real celebration of this great, safe bike path," said Mitch. "When I first started kicking around the idea of a family ride, I never imagined so many people would want to take part. It's a real testament to the popularity of the lane."

As you can see, the ride was a hit with families and young children, who filled the entire length of the bike lane for more than 40 minutes as they paraded from Grand Army Plaza to Bartel Pritchard Square. The free cupcakes at the end of the ride didn't last long.


Mitch Sonies:  [00:00] So the good news is we got a better turnout than we thought we were going to get and we’re not even actually at the start time.  So that’s fantastic.  Everybody here at the start will go off in groups of about, let’s say, 20.  We’ll leave a buffer of maybe 30 feet, and then the next group will go.  And we’ll just keep doing that as long as people are showing. 

 

[music] 

Paul Steely White:  [00:40] My daughter, Hannah, my wife, Zoe, we love the lane, it’s very important to us as advocates and as residents here, so happy to see hundreds of Brooklynites and other New Yorkers out today saying yes to safety and yes to the future of New York City streets. 

 

[music] 

Brad Lander:  [01:22] What I want to see is who can be louder, the kids or the parents.  Okay?  One, two, three…

 

All:  [01:28] Yield to Pedestrians!

 

Speaker:  [01:31] This is fantastic.  The lane is still full of people coming down. 

 

[music] 

Clarence Eckerson Jr.:  [01:46] Did you all have fun today?

 

Speaker:  [01:47] Yeah, of course.

 

Speaker:  [01:48] Yeah, it was so much fun.

 

Speaker:  [01:50] It was awesome.  Nice ride.

 

Speaker:  [01:53] We love this lane.

 

Speaker:  [01:56] We had an amazing ride, the kids loved it. 

 

Speaker:  [01:58] I see all the orange t-shirts going by.

 

Speaker:  [02:00] I ride the lane. 

 

[music] 

Speaker:  [02:04] We just wanted to show that it’s not a political issue, it’s that we love the lane and it’s great for families and it’s essential for kids and for safety.  It’s just good everybody.  Let everybody know that the support for the, you know, the lane is there and the community and that would be our contribution to the dialogue. 

[music] 

Transcription Sponsored by: Transcript Divas Transcription Services

Clarence Eckerson, Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • jc

    love it. prospect park looks like copenhagen! wish it always looked like that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joanna-Oltman-Smith/524763000 Joanna Oltman Smith

    Thanks to everyone who made today such an amazing success! Keep on riding, Little Ones!

  • http://jqr.posterous.com Jonathan R

    Nice to see so many kids involved in transportation instead of just sitting dumbly in the automobile's back seat staring at a DVD (although they could be watching Streetfilms, for all I know!). Great work, Clarence!

  • NBBLing

    Okay, we're gonna have to organize a "drive-in" one of these days. Get all those kids off their bikes and into their car seats where they belong!!!

  • Mike

    Did Louise Hainline contribute those spy shots from the top of 9 PPW (?)?

  • http://brooklynspoke.wordpress.com Doug G.

    Great work, Clarence!

  • Brooklyn Dad

    I'm glad you got the shot of motor vehicle traffic in there. It seems to be flowing perfectly smoothly. I can't imagine why anyone would think this street needs to be entirely dedicated to cars without any accommodation for cyclists.

  • http://www.streetfilms.org Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Oh I got a montage of footage I am definitely going to post as well showing how the lanes protect the children and families.

  • Ken

    For what other issue or cause in New York City can you reliably get hundreds to turn out, time after time?

  • Mitch Sonies

    More than 750 showed up! (I think over 800, but....)

    Fantastic video, Clarence. Hope you have footage for many more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bikes-4-Haiti/147464765303774 Ed Hall

    Happy to see so many cyclist coming together to "Ride the Lanes"

  • http://www.chickenunderwear.com Chicken Underwear

    We had fun

    http://whatyourdonotknowbecauseyouarenotme.blogspot.com/2011/04/yea-prospect-park-west-bike-lane-then.html

    I wish some of the people who have been convinced it is unsafe would have shown up so we could have shown them how it is easier and safer to cross PPW now.

  • http://www.streetfilms.org Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Things that make you go hmmmmm: why was Streetfilms and Brooklyn 12 cable the only news cameras out there yesterday? Where was CBS? NBC? ABC? And even the usually better then them all NY1?

  • Andy

    Because they don't exist to make news - they exist to bring in advertising money. Since 1/3 of ads are about cars, and the rest are about buying other junk to be used while sitting at home, promoting cycling isn't something they will ever care about.

  • http://www.policyinnovations.org/ policyinnovations

    Great work, guys. As the Colombian bike policy pioneer Enrique Penalosa says, "A bicycle lane that isn't safe for an eight-year-old isn't a bicycle lane."

  • HamTech87

    So inspiring. As the suburbs get more clogged with cars every day, and more dangerous for bicyclists, the city is getting safer. I hope this spreads.

  • HamTech87

    Look at timestamp 2:09. The camera shows how crowded the pedestrian path along PPW is. How can anyone say that bikes should share that path? It is already so crowded with pedestrians! The bike lane is such an obvious safety device for pedestrians.

  • Senna3085

    Nobody says bikes should share the sidewalk. There plenty of room in the Park for a great two-way bike lane, and despite the sound bytes about safety, the dirty little secret is that the DOT's data show that accidents and injuries on PPW have GONE UP since the bike lane was installed. It's a great idea that needs some modification to work. If you think it's safer, then you too have been had by the city and the bike lobby.

  • Andy

    By all means, inform us where that information is.

  • http://www.streetfilms.org Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    And if folks want to see a little more, I put up this montage of footage yesterday specifically keying in on fast-moving traffic and how a protected Class One bike lane is the way to go for these users NOT a painted line on the street Class Two like some of the opposition would claim would be enough. Imagine some of these families riding alongside fast moving traffic like it is on PPW: http://vimeo.com/22223956

  • http://profiles.google.com/philosophicalpapertiger Suzanne Rath

    Beautiful :)

    Clarence, your videos always make me happy. Video prozac! But better!!!

  • Mitch Sonies

    I like the headline: "Massive Show of Support..." from the NY Post!

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/massive_show_of_support_for_prospect_D5TEgNTVY2hxCGGBarRawL

  • Lois Carsbad

    You're right, Senna. The 700 people who showed up yesterday have all "been had" by the nefarious bike lobby and its cronies in City Hall. The 54% of people who support bike lanes and the 3,000 people in the Lander survey who overwhelmingly supported this bike lane drank the DOT's Kool-Aid when it comes to bike lanes. What lemmings! Thanks for revealing the truth!

  • Ken

    Was there a press release to them asking them to come? With all the noise around this, I can't imagine they wouldn't have jumped on that.

  • safetygirl

    I don't understand the logic @Senna3085. No amount of data can replace the experience I had this weekend with my 6 and 8 year old as we were able to ride the span of PPW. It WAS safer, by a long shot then any other trip we have ever had. My children didn't need to negotiate cars, peds or anything.

  • http://www.streetfilms.org Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Folks. There are nearly 400 Streetfilms. Almost 5 years of doing this. 3.5 million plays of our videos in that time. And today at 11 AM was the most-visited hour in Streetfilms history!!! But not to be outdone, looks like it will be topped during the noon hour. This might continue all day, it is gonna be a record day, the press really missed a story here (as usual.)

    Note: Vimeo takes quite a while to transfer the numbers over. We are well over 1,000 plays already.

  • car free nation

    Senna,

    When I see comments like yours, I wonder "Why does this nice person want to kill me and my daughter?" It's as if you feel that an extra parking space, and the right to double park, is more important than the safety of my family.

    I think if you look deep in your heart, you'll realize that the heart of your complaint is not safety, but your convenience. Or if it is safety, it's safety for a narrowly defined set of people.

    In any case, please, so you can live with a good conscious, give up the fight. Because if this bike lane goes away, and someone else like my friend John, who was killed by a car on 8th avenue while riding in an unprotected lane (before the ppw lane), dies, it's going to be on your head.

  • Ty

    I'd love to see this data... because it doesn't exist.

  • Mr Bad Example

    Clarence--
    The real kicker was that Brooklyn Cable 12's headline was 'dozens of bikers take to the streets'. I watched in horror as they kept repeating this and showing one or two cyclists at a time on the path.

  • http://www.chickenunderwear.com Chicken Underwear

    What a terrible way to report the news

    http://www.news12.com/articleDetail.jsp?articleId=278744&position=1&news_type=news

    What is a bike run?

  • Guest

    @Car Free Nation,

    Double-parking is not Senna's problem. He share's a PPW driveway with Lois Carswell. He appears to have been had by the sue-the-safety, sue-your-neighbor, sue-the-kids lobby. Either that, or he's part of it.

  • Driver

    The pot parade to Washington SQ?

  • http://wbwc.org Karen Moorhead

    Love it from Ann Arbor, MI. Where can you get the t shirts?

  • Anonymous

    >the bike lobby

    LOL

  • Anonymous

    I want to interview the opposition. and we'll give them a choice..

    Their kids can ride in a class 1 lane on PPW, or a painted line on Eighth avenue.

  • http://www.chickenunderwear.com Chicken Underwear

    The opposition does not have kids.

  • Eric McClure

    By the way, Brad Lander is a Livable Streets hero. Where were all the other electeds?

  • HamTech87

    Allowing an 8 year old to ride on a Class Two bike lane would likely lead to a child protection worker visit to the family.

  • dporpentine

    Gah! Where's the Times article on this? I gave them extra day and everything . . . but, no, they ignored it since, I mean, let's face it, in New York you can get 750 people show up to demonstrate in favor of something every . . . ten years or so.

  • http://pleasetellmeyouarejoking.com/ johanna

    Did you see Chris Owens and his son? He was present and enthusiastic to boot.

  • http://pleasetellmeyouarejoking.com/ johanna

    it seems like the only sure way to get in the Times is to make sure the NY1 is there. They have email and tip lines -- did anyone reach out to them?

  • MO

    I use my bike to commute. Shifting the bike lane into the park isn't the answer. I definitely would NOT feel safe riding through Prospect Park at 9:00 pm in the dark to get home for a variety of reasons! As a regular user of the PPW bike lane I've witnessed the traffic calming effects and am in complete favor of it. But if I am really missing something, I'd like to be aware of it. Senna, what is your source for the information that the PPW bike lane is increasing accidents and injuries?

    But also, now that you mention it, maybe utilizing the sidewalk space would be a good idea. That sidewalk is so wide that there is ample room to have a regular sized sidewalk hugging the park, then carve out the 2-way bike lane from the rest of the sidewalk.

  • Mostaza2002

    Can anyone tell me what the name brand of the tandem bicycle at 1:54 is. I would love to know because I already have a Bike Friday, but my wife cannot see past me sitting at the rear, and she does not feel comfortable riding a bike of her own.

  • Markchapman

    I think it is a Kidztandem from http://www.browncycles.com/

  • Anonymous

    The arguments about the safety, traffic, and configuration of the bike lane just go around and around indefinitely. None of these things are what the lane opponents are really concerned about. By any objective measure or logical reasoning, the lane is a net benefit to the community, and is supported accordingly. This has almost nothing to do with transportation, or bikes.

    The real issue is an existential fear of change: young families moving to the neighborhood from outside, loss of long standing cultural identities, economic uncertainty, demographic and political shifts, and a passing of political clout from the patrician old guard to a new generation. None of these things can be resisted or stopped, but the bike lane is a tangible symbol of the future that can be opposed in attempt to freeze time and cling to the "good old days." The city has been changing since the Dutch got here, and it will continue to change. If it can happen in a way that makes it more enjoyable, cleaner, and sustainable, then so much the better.