The change in infrastructure, especially catering to one self-serving and benign like the bicycle, never comes easy. Especially when an orthodox set of religious jews are involved who want things to change about as much as Andy Rooney wants to find some relevant material. But you ever notice that such a pious and old-world sect as the Yiddish-speaking Satmar Hassidim, with their 1920’s apparel have no problem embracing the modern world of real-estate, Lexus mini-vans and an often dangerous habit of illegally talking on one’s cell phone while driving? This is all making for a destructive mix with new bicycle lanes in Williamsburg Brooklyn, that’s enough to make you say: “Im hatimtoon haya tippa, ata hayita okianoos!” (If dumbness were a drop, you would have been an ocean)
I myself had one of my two accidents involving a motor vehicle in Williamsburg, where a older jewish man was driving off asking if I was alright, as he made an illegal u-turn and plowed into me. OYE!
Here is a description of things heating described by a Gothamist reader involving a strange game of chicken…which doesn’t sound very Glatt Kosher.
“Things have gotten pretty terrible in the saga of the Kent Ave. bike lane, at least for me. Today I had to ride between North Williamsburg and Fort Greene. On my way there, an older Hasidic man stepped right off the empty sidewalk and into the bike lane right in front of me as I was riding by Shaffaer’s Landing. He seriously tried to play a game of chicken with me and stepped in that lane when I was a good 10 yards back so I would have to swerve around him.
On my way back around 4 p.m. things got a bit worse. As I was making a left from Wallabout onto Kent to go under the BQE (not the best route, I know, but I wanted to get home quickly) a bus drive by a Hasidic man (no other people on it) sped up to make the right onto Kent in front of me even though there was no room for him to make the turn. I know this is hard to explain in an email, but he made it impossible for me to access the far right side of the street. I had to turn in between two lanes of traffic. There was no space for me to get over until I got closer to the light, which had by that time changed. I tried to pull up into the gas station on that corner, but a huge truck with a crane started backing out. I had to swerve back into traffic where I hit a huge crack and bit it. My head almost got run over by a car. Fortunately, I got away with a scraped knee and the creeps.
Of course, by the time I finally made it back to the start of the bike lane again on the other side of the BQE there was a guy driving his minivan down it…IN REVERSE! Can’t wait to bring this up at the Community Board meeting.”
Delancey street is one of the most direct bike routes to the Williamsburg Bridge. Some could argue it is in desperate need of a bike lane.
December 10th, Manhattan Community Board #3 Transportation Committee will Discuss this issue.
Please join Transportation Alternatives and the Adopt a Bike Lane Initiative for
the Manhattan Community Board #3 Transportation Committee Meeting to discuss Bike Lanes On Delancey Street!
Community Board #3, Manhattan
Transportation & Public Safety / Environment Committees
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 – 6:30pm
Confucius Plaza Community Room
33 Bowery (at Bayard St)
**Note: The Delancey Street bike lane proposal is the 2nd Item on the agenda.
One of the biggest barriers to increasing ridership in New York City has been an aggressive and often infantile building policy against the bicycle. Often a UPS delivery person can bring into a building a stack of boxes weighted town precariously, on a hand truck but the minute a doorman sees a bicycle…OH NO! People want to ride their bikes to work but are often met with this kind of behavior and don’t want to leave their modes of transportation out on the street.
Tomorrow, Monday-December 8th, 2008 the City Council’s Transportation Committee will take up this important issue and hopefully sign it into effect.
From Streetsblog reporter Ben Fried,
On Monday afternoon the City Council’s transportation committee will take up the Bikes in Buildings Bill, which addresses a major obstacle to bike commuting. The legislation would give people who work in commercial buildings the right to bring their bikes inside the workplace, if they have the consent of their employer. Transportation Alternatives director Paul White calls it “one of the easiest ways to enable much greener travel in New York City.” The bill’s prospects look promising: Bloomberg reports that it enjoys the active support of the mayor, and most of the City Council is expected to sign on.
The public can testify at Monday’s hearing, scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. in the main council chamber at City Hall.
One good thing to come out of the bailout was a tax benefit for people who bicycle to work.
Here is some information on that in California from the East Bay Bicycle Coalition.
Well, Jon Kessler isn’t going to wait around for this to get implemented, like waiting for banks to come clean on how they spent our money, so he has introduced: bikebux.com
Jon created this website to make it as simple as possible for people to get cash for biking to work.
From the site:
“Bike Bux are the new tax incentive for anyone who rides a bike to work. If you or your employees travel by bicycle for a substantial part of the commute, then Bike Bux are for you.
Beginning in January 2009, cyclists throughout the United States can get up to $240 per year in Bike Bux tax-free to help cover the costs of riding to work. Bike Bux are redeemable at bike and sporting goods stores nationwide for bikes, bike-related gear and supplies, repairs and even bike storage.
Bike Bux come in three sizes: $20, $60 and $240 cards.
To get Bike Bux tax-free you must get them through your employer. Employers of all sizes can offer Bike Bux. In fact, if your employees do not love Bike Bux we will give you a 110% refund.”