Community Survey Results on Prospect Park West Reconfiguration
Councilmembers Brad Lander and Stephen Levin and Brooklyn Community Board 6 released the findings of their community survey on the new traffic configuration and two-way bike lane on Prospect Park West.
Councilmembers Lander, Levin, Brooklyn Community Board 6 Release Community Survey Results on Prospect Park West Reconfiguration
- Broad support for PPW bike lanes among 3,000+ respondents
- Roughly even split among nearly 300 respondents living on PPW
- Concerns and potential modifications identified to improve safety, aesthetics, parking/loading, enforcement
Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY – Councilmembers Brad Lander and Stephen Levin and Brooklyn Community Board 6 released the findings of their community survey on the new traffic configuration and two-way bike lane on Prospect Park West.
The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) installed a parking-protected, two-way bike lane on Prospect Park West in June, 2010, reducing the number of travel lanes from three to two, with the conditional support of Brooklyn’s Community Board 6. Through the end of 2010, DOT is collecting data on vehicle and cycling volumes, speeding, illegal cycling behavior, accidents and crash injury rates.
Councilmembers Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, and Brooklyn’s Community Board 6 collaborated to develop and administer a community survey, in order to provide as many members of the public as possible with an additional opportunity for input on this issue.
The 13-question survey was collected online and in-person October 15 – 30, 2010. It was not a randomly-sampled public opinion poll, nor was it intended as a referendum on the project. While it was used as an organizing tool for active supporters and opponents of the project, responses reached far beyond organized advocacy networks. The survey was completed by 3,150 Brooklyn residents (828 living on Prospect Park West or the blocks immediately adjacent to the street; 1,137 elsewhere in Park Slope; 1,185 elsewhere in Brooklyn). The responses show deep interest in the project, with over 2,000 respondents answering open-ended questions (in addition to the multiple-choice questions), and over 1,000 respondents voluntarily providing contact information.
Levels of Support:
Among the 3,150 respondents overall, there is broad support for the project:
- 54% (1,522 respondents) wish to keep the configuration as-is
- 24% (688 respondents) wish to keep the configuration, with some changes
- 22% (633 respondents) wish to go back to the previous configuration
Among all respondents living in Park Slope (2,210 respondents):
- 49% (888 respondents) wish to keep the configuration as-is
- 22% (408 respondents) wish to keep the configuration, with some changes
- 29% (530 respondents) wish to go back to the previous configuration
Among the 272 respondents living on PPW, there is a roughly even split between those wishing to keep the bike lanes and those wishing to go back to the previous configuration:
- 31% (85 respondents) wish to keep the configuration as-is
- 18% (50 respondents) wish to keep the configuration, with some changes
- 50% (137 respondents) wish to go back to the previous configuration
Project Goals and Safety Perceptions:
DOT’s stated goals for the project were to reduce speeding on Prospect Park West, and to create a safe space for biking. Most respondents feel the project has met these goals:
- 85% of survey respondents feel that the project has very much or somewhat met the goal of reducing speeding.
- 91% feel it has very much or somewhat met the goal of creating a safer space for biking.
70% also feel that the project has very much or somewhat made Prospect Park West easier to cross, although pedestrian safety (especially crossing the bike lane) remains a concern for many respondents.
- Overall, respondents reported feeling safer walking and biking on PPW. Bikers feel much safer with a physically-separated lane. Many provided anecdotes that they are comfortable cycling with their families and children now that the protected bike lane is in place.
- Respondents reported feeling little change in safety while driving.
- Respondents reported feeling less safe while parking.
- Survey respondents perceive that there are fewer unsafe behaviors such as bicyclists riding on the sidewalk or riding against traffic in moving lanes.
The survey identified many important concerns about the project, especially around pedestrian/bike interactions, as well as parking, design aesthetics, and enforcement.
- Many pedestrians reported feeling unsafe crossing the bike lanes. A majority (53%) of respondents felt more needs to be done to insure that cyclists yield to pedestrians.
- People feel vulnerable parking and exiting their cars.
- Nearby residents expressed opinions that the design of the bike lanes does not match the design and character of Prospect Park West.
- Many respondents spoke of the need for more enforcement of bike rules, double-parking, and other infractions.
A number of potential modifications were identified to some of the most pressing concerns:
- Redesigning the pedestrian crossings to better insure that cyclists yield to those on foot (e.g. signals, bike rumble strips, better signage).
- Implementing raised pedestrian islands at signalized intersections.
- Altering the design to better reflect the character of Prospect Park West (e.g. make pedestrian refuge islands compatible to the design of Prospect Park West).
- Widening the parking lanes where possible to make those parking safer.
- Finding opportunities to replace lost parking spots.
- Adding or improving the function of loading and drop-off zones at congestion hotspots.
“There are deep and passionate feelings about the changes to Prospect Park West – but this survey of more than 3,000 residents reveals strong overall support from community residents,” said Councilmember Brad Lander. “Thanks to the extensive response, we have a clearer sense of the concerns, and a set of potential modifications that address them.”
“I was very pleased to see not only a large number of returned surveys, but also a large number of very thoughtful responses to the open-ended questions. Councilmember Lander, Community Board 6, and I have been pouring over the results for weeks and we believe that they will provide key feedback and even might influence the Department of Transportation’s next phase of the Prospect Park West bike lane to modify the lanes in a way that will address the concerns of the community,” Councilmember Levin said.
“We have never seen a response like this to a community survey before,” said Brooklyn Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman. “The information we received is invaluable and gives us a deep sense of what many residents think and feel about the new configuration. Above all, it shows us that our communities are thoughtful, engaged and eager to be heard by the powers that be.”
While the survey was not a randomly-sampled public opinion poll, substantial efforts were taken to promote broad participation and ensure the integrity of responses. The Councilmembers and Community Board conducted broad, neutral outreach, online and in person on Prospect Park West. Both supporters and opponents were encouraged to spread the word about the survey. The survey was covered in TV, print, and online media. More than 3,000 people responded, with the percent of residents on or near PPW responding to the survey (approximately 8%) much higher than percent of resident of Park Slope responding to the survey (3-4%). Nearly 2,300 people filled in at least one of the three open-ended questions (beyond the multiple-choice questions), generating 4,263 open-ended comments, all of which were read and coded. Over 1,000 respondents voluntarily provided name and/or address information, providing the ability to conduct strong integrity tests of the results. The responses of 227 non-Brooklyn respondents were removed from the analysis. Duplicate IP addresses/names and the consistency of addresses given were investigated, leading to the removal of an additional 93 suspicious, duplicate and/or inconsistent responses from the analysis. The results were cross-checked against a wide range of subsamples (respondents who gave their name/address, who gave comments, with all duplicate IP addresses removed, etc). A total of 3,150 responses were included in the final analysis.
The survey will be presented at a public meeting of the Community Board 6 Transportation Committee on Thursday, December 16th at 6:30pm at New York Methodist Hospital Auditorium, 506, 6th Street in Park Slope. Copies will also be available at the City Council’s hearing on Cycling in New York City on Thursday, December 9th, at 250 Broadway, 10am.
What does your neighborhood need? An improved park? Safer streets? New school technology? In participatory budgeting, you give your ideas and City Councilmember Brad Lander has set aside $1 million to fund them. And your votes will decide which projects get funded.