April 1, 2011
BROOKLYN, NY- A heated controversy about bike lanes near Prospect Park ended today with a surprise announcement from the Mayor's Office, City Planning Commission and NYCDOT that the contested street, Prospect Park West, will be excavated and transformed into a 25 foot deep waterway as part of Vision 2020: The NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan.
While the announcement brings an end to months of fighting between pro- and anti-bike factions, a new set of debates lies ahead. Already, local interest groups are arguing over the possible uses of the waterway. NYCDOT will begin working with local stakeholders in May to develop plans for specialized lanes in the canals, including ones for jet skis, kayaks, sailboats, swimmers, and cruise ships.
The waterway will be constructed in two phases, ultimately cutting across 9th Street in Brooklyn and linking up with the Gowanus Canal, which is currently being cleansed of pollutants after being declared a Superfund site last year by the EPA. The Prospect Park West/9th Street Waterway will be the largest and most forward-thinking infrastructural project in New York City since the creation of Central Park in the mid-19th Century. It will generate roughly 8,000 jobs over the next 9 years.