It Took 30 Years, But It Was Worth It! By Tom Meany

It Took 30 Years, But It Was Worth It!

By Tom Meany

PPTC has been engaged in dialogue with the Prospect Park administration around safety issues in the Park for 30 years, even before there was an Alliance.

Our premise has always been that if Park users do not perceive their experience as being safe, then it’s not a good experience.

On Wednesday evening June 23rd, PPTC was asked to present the main agenda item at the Prospect Park Alliance Community Committee meeting; “Development of a Master Plan for Education and Enforcement of Park Rules.”

This was the first time all uniformed Park service personnel (Parks Enforcement Personnel: PEPs, NYPD: 78th & 71st. Pct.’s) were asked to be part of a team in developing a Park safety plan.

All of us have had the experience of witnessing the results of cyclists and/or runners/pedestrians not being aware of or just not complying with Park rules. I’ve been hit three times by cyclists; my wife has been hit twice.

To not address these issues would have been immoral and unethical. We have been knocking on this door for 30 years and now it appears we have a foothold.

An Alliance Community Committee Operations Committee meeting is being scheduled this month to include the uniformed Parks personnel, representatives of the cycling community; Transportation Alternatives (TA), plus representation from the running community; PPTC, to develop a Master Plan.

The preliminary discussion at the 6/23 meeting indicated a need for an ongoing, long term civic educational approach, starting with elementary school children, regarding the rules of the road. It was also agreed that after a period of education and warnings, that enforcement, in the form of ticketing needs to take place.

We all know why the pooper scooper law, as well as the smoking ban in public buildings, has been so effective: violators are ticketed & fined.

I envision the main thrust of our role as one of educating the public and not seeking to punish cyclists or runners/pedestrians. At a fairly recent Club Board meeting, one of our Board members suggested I ask the Alliance about the option of runners invoking” citizens arrest” procedure for cycling violators We have all been frustrated by the daily abuses we witness. The new bike lane on PPW already has its challenges.

I believe our patience and perseverance will pay off in the long run.

We have a great Club that only gets better when you step up and volunteer. I promise your membership will be a more enriching experience when you respond to that arm reaching around you that says; “You’re very special and we need your help? Share your special gifts: The Summer Speed Series, The Club Championship, Marathon activities, The Turkey Trot, The Cherry Tree, Clothing Committee, Technical Committee, Communications Committee, etc.