Bicycle Lanes removed, then put back, arrests and now a protest ride

So there has been an ongoing war for space in South Williamsburg Brooklyn. The battle seems to be waged over an over abundance of mini vans from the Hasidic community who feel a privileged right to the neighborhood they predominately inhabit and need a place to put their rides…so much for car pooling and what kind of Mini Van would Moses drive anyway? They are not happy with the amount of bike lanes put in by the city and what has recently happened with Kent Ave.

The other urban bike culture blogger had something to say about this:
“This is exactly what’s happening now in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where the young, newly-minted urbanites known as “Hipsters” and the religious sect known as “Hasidim” have been living side-by-side somewhat uncomfortably for the past decade or so. Recently, this discomfort has manifest itself in the form of squabbles over bike lanes. “Hipsters” want them, and “Hasidim” don’t. The city, of course, is Mom and Dad, and when parents seem to favor one crying child over the other you can bet the spurned one is going to throw a tantrum.”

So the saga goes like this:

Tuesday, December 1st, Streets blog reported that the DOT removed 14 blocks of bike lanes on Bedford Ave.

Then Monday, December 7th, a group of concerned citizens and one Baruch Herzfeld, a local bike-shop operator and member of the Hasidic community to matters into their own hands and repainted the lanes, once again, according to
They also took news into their own hands and made a video about it:

which has over 34,000 views on Youtube.

This spread to lots of news agencies and blogs including:
the NY Post
and Gothamist

Then, Tuesday December 8th, those who were re-painting the lanes got charged with Criminal Mischief in this story from Streetsblog.

This Sunday, December 13th, there will be a political action by Time’s Up,

Time’s Up! Bicycle “Funeral Procession” & Vigil for Bedford Ave Bike Lane
Sunday, December 13, 2009
2pm – Meet on the Brooklyn side entrance of the Williamsburg Bridge
3pm – Ride will end at a Vigil for the bike lane at Bedford Ave & Wallabout St

Join Time’s Up! Bicycle Clown Brigade in a New Orleans-style bicycle “funeral procession” as we mourn the removal of 14 blocks from our beloved Bedford Avenue bike that was ripped out from under us.

Well meet at 2pm at the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge and ride through the Williamsburg bike lanes, ending 3:00 pm at a vigil for the Bedford Ave bike lane at the corner of Wallabout Street & Bedford Avenue.
Non-cyclists, bike lane supporters are encouraged to join us at 3:00 pm at the vigil to draw attention to the danger cyclists face without safe, protected bike lanes.

Harnessing the power of the cycling community & supporters, we will end the vigil with a mock ceremony to resurrect a section of the missing bike lane between Flushing & Division avenues in South Williamsburg.

Mayor Bloomberg is pandering to motorists who prefer free parking over safe bikes lanes for Williamsburg’s large cycling community and back peddling on his promise to green the city. We need to join together to tell him bike lanes need to improved, not removed!

Dressing for the occasion is optional but strongly encouraged.

For more information go to:
Time’s Up

Seems really ironic and sad. The entire world is gathered in Copenhagen for a massive climate change summit to come to some kind of an agreement on reducing carbon emissions and carry out the work of the Kyoto protocol, and meanwhile in NYC we are squabbling over 14 blocks of bike lanes and how inconvenient it is for motorists to have to give a little room for the zero cabon emitting bicycle. Wahhhhhhhh. Hey lets have a cleaner planet, but don’t take away the parking of a supposedly pious religious group who feels the need to drive everywhere (badly)

8 comments to Bicycle Lanes removed, then put back, arrests and now a protest ride

  • It’s backpedaling, not peddling. Let’s not perpetuate the myth of the dumb jock :)

    Dressing for the occasion in December with very cold weather predicted means (unfortunately) being covered from head to toe. But if the Satmars continue to cause trouble, there should be a protest walk/run/ride of pretty women in bikinis and muscular dudes in shorts and sleeveless tops. These people must be given to understand that they do NOT own Bedford Ave. It is a PUBLIC THOROUGHFARE and anybody can use it dressed as he or she pleases.

  • JT

    A mock Christian style funeral in a hisidic neighborhood? Im for the lanes but this makes me cringe a little.

  • SK

    I believe the New Orleans-style funeral procession is based upon a Pagan ritual, not Christian.

  • […] Williamsburg bike lane controversy is not going away, with a protest ride planned for this weekend. [Bike Blog […]

  • Outfuckingraged

    I’ve never been a big supporter of the hipsters but good for them! Who wants bicycle lanes to be removed from urban areas? Hateful, spiteful, vindictive people, in this case the Hasids. They don’t own Williamsburg, Brooklyn or NYC. Bloomberg should be ashamed of himself for giving into these freaks. When another cyclist is killed in this area that person’s blood will be on their hands. Where were the public hearings? Since when does one religious group get to dictate policy? There are a lot of things I don’t like but I don’t try to have things that serve the greater good removed. This is like trying to get a park removed because you don’t like kids. It’s hateful, unjust and unwarranted. You don’t like girls riding in revealing outfits, don’t fucking look you sick freaks. Hell awaits you for this.

  • […] the bike lanes were removed. Then some citizens decided to paint them back. Then they got busted for criminal mischief. Then […]

  • […] Williamsburg neighborhood, reputedly because the local Hassidic community was offended by the scantily clad cyclists who used […]