Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Not Just Clownin’ Around On Controversial Bike Lane

Environmental Groups, Cyclists Face Opposition in Williamsburg

A group of “bicycle clowns” showed up on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg yesterday morning to defend their turf — the new two-way, 1.5-mile bike lane the city installed this past fall.

The lane raised the ire of non-cyclists in the community when “No Stopping” signs accompanied the freshly painted paths. There is now no legal curbside parking along a 20-block stretch of the largely industrial waterfront road, a subtraction of approximately 256 parking spaces, according to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) web site.

The colorfully clad demonstrators yesterday were from the environmental group Time’s Up. They say they’re defending the bike lane against threats from a group of vocal opponents, made up at least partially of members of the neighborhood’s Hasidic community, who have reportedly objected to the “immodesty” of the hipster cyclists.

Some opponents have even threatened to block the bike lanes with private school buses, a Time’s Up press release said, which would endanger cyclists by forcing them out into the middle of the road.

But bicycle clown Ben Shepherd reported that yesterday’s theatrical defense of cycling was ... read more

Story by Phoebe Neidl, photo by Clarissa Roudabush

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