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Markowitz: Advocacy Groups Distorted Bike Lane Data

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz reacted angrily Friday after a study by a Park Slope neighborhood group found a huge numbers discrepancy on the usage of controversial bike lanes in Prospect Park West.

A study by Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes calculated that on an average weekday, 523 people used the two-way bike lane from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. That is in comparison to the 1,087 figure compiled by the Department of Transportation.

"I don't believe a word coming out of that department. Not a word," Markowitz, a noted opponent of the lanes, told CBS 2's Marcia Kramer.

"The Department of Transportation will use any way to justify their action, distort and manipulate anything they have to justify their action," he said.

Markowitz charged that the DOT got higher numbers because bike advocacy groups somehow knew the days they were counting and showed up to pad the numbers.

"It's amazing that suddenly they knew when to use the bicycle path in line with when they took the count," Markowitz said.

The DOT refused to make Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan available for an interview with CBS 2. Her spokesman issued a statement, saying the counts by Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes were "taken from one extreme end of the bike path."

"As you may understand, you can't measure the number of riders on a subway line by how many are still on the train at the last stop," spokesman Seth Solomonow said.

The DOT argued that removing the bike lane would cost three times the amount it did to install.

On Friday, the bike path was not shoveled, leaving some Park West bikers to use the road or sidewalk.

"I walk in the park quite frequently and I rarely see people in the bike lane. Maybe one or two now and then," Park Slope resident Elaine Basinger said.

But others said they loved the bike lanes.

"It's great to have a safe, convenient way to get around by bike so we appreciate it. We also feel like there's a lot less speeding," Aaron Naparstek said.

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