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Williamsburg, NY - City Removing 14 Blocks Of Bike Lanes On Bedford Ave.

Published on: December 1, 2009 10:37 AM
By:  Gothamist
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Bike lanes on Bedford being removed Photo: VIN NewsBike lanes on Bedford being removed Photo: VIN News

Williamsburg, NY - Just when it seemed like the hoopla over bike lanes in Williamsburg had come to a close, Gothamist has learned that the Department of Transportation is planning to remove a 14-block section of the Bedford Avenue cycling route.

A spokesman said that the agency will remove the “small portion” of the bike lane between Flushing and Division avenues in South Williamsburg “as part of ongoing bike network adjustments in the area.” The agency will install new signage directing bikers two blocks west to the bike lane on Kent Avenue, which earlier this year became an issue of contention particularly in South Williamsburg’s Hasidic community.

Some Williamsburg residents protested the Kent Avenue lane over concerns it took away parking spaces, hurt local businesses, and was used by badly-behaving bikers who purportedly fail to yield to stopped school buses. The city then reconfigured Kent Avenue, prompting complaints about truck traffic being diverted onto residential streets.

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While the dispute over the cycling route on Kent Avenue turned heated, the bike path on Bedford Avenue has been relatively noncontroversial — though some have called for its removal due to the number of “schools, stores and religious institutions” on the street. The Bedford Avenue lane was also one of the cycling paths where scantily clad cyclists were first spotted.

Bike lanes on Bedford being removed Photo: VIN NewsBike lanes on Bedford being removed Photo: VIN News













The Department of Transportation’s decision to eliminate a section of bike lane from the borough’s longest street is a surprising move, considering the agency’s recent efforts to bolster the city’s cycling network under the leadership of bike-loving Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.


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Read Comments (37)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 01, 2009 at 10:48 AM Anonymous Says:

This is great news...for some reason, the bikers on Bedford Avenue typically dress in the most revealing clothing and raise really serious tzinius issues....moving them away to Kent will be a real gift to those of us who really don't want to see this trashy dress, especially when walking to and from shul on shabbos...

2

 Dec 01, 2009 at 10:56 AM Anonymous Says:

Makes sense. Kent Av is much better suited for the bike route. Bedford Av is a very busy , congested roadway, with school buses, trucks, and pedestrians. The bike lane added to the chaos ( and danger), especially since cyclists were often making their merry way upstream-in the WRONG direction.

3

 Dec 01, 2009 at 10:57 AM David Says:

Lets be realistic the Bike lane is not going to remove complete its going to be a shared lane like a portion on Wythe Ave. bikers are still going to use Bedford Ave. Mayor Bloomberg
Is just playing games with you Hasids that’s all politics don’t you get it!! Thanks but no thanks…." The agency will install new signage directing bikers two blocks west to the bike lane on Kent Avenue, is this kind of a joke?

4

 Dec 01, 2009 at 11:01 AM Anonymous Says:

B"H tefilla oseh mechtzah

5

 Dec 01, 2009 at 11:32 AM Anonymous Says:

This will not happen, I assure you. A small, hysterical, car- loving minority will not be allowed to jeopardize safety of street users.

6

 Dec 01, 2009 at 11:35 AM Anonymous Says:

Moving the bikers to kent takes them away from the chassideshe and heimeshe communities...

7

 Dec 01, 2009 at 11:40 AM Anonymous Says:

This is a shame for the community and for living together in harmony. This was a direct bike connection from the south to the Bridge, and removing it will not remove cyclists from this street or make any meaningful difference otherwise. The proposed detour is silly (there is no actual bike lane on Kent Ave between the BQE and Clymer St), unsafe and indirect. Shame on whoever sold out cyclists' safety for no real improvement for anyone else.

8

 Dec 01, 2009 at 11:50 AM Anonymous Says:

I live elsewhere but work at Natan Borlam's. To me the issue is not how the cyclists dress it is safety. Cyclists have no license plates and refuse to stop for pedestrians at the corner, kids getting off school busses and other safety related situations. NYC acted correctly for these reasons.

9

 Dec 01, 2009 at 11:50 AM Anonymous Says:

"and was used by badly-behaving bikers who purportedly fail to yield to stopped school buses"
i have personally witnessed more than one case of this occuring.
Williamsburg is a community that is ke"h blessed with an abundance of children so bus safety should be a priority...
and in this case, where bikers couldn't care less of safety but only focus on getting past the bus.. i am happy that they are being outed!

10

 Dec 01, 2009 at 12:04 PM Aryeh Says:

B"H but when do they fix Kent Avenue already? This really is a problem when getting to the BQE from the WB Bridge.

11

 Dec 01, 2009 at 12:37 PM fiscal responsibility NOW Says:

Wasn't this bike lane recently created? How much did it cost? I know, to you & me, painting a line costs bobkes but for the city....?

So they pull down the signs, erase the line (re-tarmac?) & move them to Kent...I'd love to know the cost of this. Why didn't they do some kind of a feasibility study before they wasted our tax dollars on this farce.

12

 Dec 01, 2009 at 01:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

This is a shame for the community and for living together in harmony. This was a direct bike connection from the south to the Bridge, and removing it will not remove cyclists from this street or make any meaningful difference otherwise. The proposed detour is silly (there is no actual bike lane on Kent Ave between the BQE and Clymer St), unsafe and indirect. Shame on whoever sold out cyclists' safety for no real improvement for anyone else.

Although many bikers behaved nice and obeyed traffic laws, there were many on the other hand that abused their rights and passed school buses with flashing lights putting kids in danger, (I've witnessed it many times), they also gave hell to cars trying to park into the street side parking.
Now on kent ave where it's more commercial and less school buses dropping off kids it may be easier to live in harmony with some aggressive bikers..

13

 Dec 01, 2009 at 03:10 PM MKBP Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

This is a shame for the community and for living together in harmony. This was a direct bike connection from the south to the Bridge, and removing it will not remove cyclists from this street or make any meaningful difference otherwise. The proposed detour is silly (there is no actual bike lane on Kent Ave between the BQE and Clymer St), unsafe and indirect. Shame on whoever sold out cyclists' safety for no real improvement for anyone else.

"Shame on whoever sold out cyclists' safety for no real improvement for anyone else" do you read other peoples relevant comments? it really seems you are one track minded these people mentioned that this was an issue with there modesty.. which is important considering the exposure we have from everything surrounding us these days. don’t you think our kids deserve a little aidelkeit in their own 4 amos? Please stop with your selfishness and the hatred towards heimishe people. And please “Sold out the Cyclist” you really have your priorities messed up. Is it so hard for them to make a 2 block detour?

14

 Dec 01, 2009 at 03:35 PM Anonymous Says:

While I may not fully understand the values of this community which I pass through on my bicycle every day on Bedford Ave, my assumption is that the community does indeed value the sanctity of human life. The discussion is not about whether or not the community wants cyclists on Bedford Ave. This is not up for discussion. The community needs to understand that, if by geographic location alone, it plays some role in New York City as a whole, and that includes the transportation infrastructure. Cyclists, motorists, and transit riders will continue to pass through. The debate is whether or not these existing cyclists deserve a safer ride on Bedford Ave. The idea that the street should be reconfigured in a life-threatening way (i.e. removing the dedicated bicycle lane) due to what some view as "inappropriate dress" by a small minority shows a blatant disrespect for human life.

The South Williamsburg community, for one reason or another, may not want bicycles on Bedford Ave. However, is it really to the point that they wish death by motor vehicle collision upon those who pass through their community?

15

 Dec 01, 2009 at 03:57 PM Anonymous Says:

bike lane or no bike lane, cyclists will ride on Bedford. You cant get rid of them. The real question is... how long until a driver feels so entitled to run over a cyclist because there is no bike lane. Im sure the children dont need to see brains splattered all over the street while walking to and from school.

16

 Dec 01, 2009 at 04:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

This is a shame for the community and for living together in harmony. This was a direct bike connection from the south to the Bridge, and removing it will not remove cyclists from this street or make any meaningful difference otherwise. The proposed detour is silly (there is no actual bike lane on Kent Ave between the BQE and Clymer St), unsafe and indirect. Shame on whoever sold out cyclists' safety for no real improvement for anyone else.

I really feel bad for the cyclists that lost out on it, and of course you appear to be one of the hundreds of nice and law abiding bicyclist, however, there were a couple of hundreds cyclists that ignored the laws and had no regards to child safety or pedestrian concerns, you can give them the thank you.

17

 Dec 01, 2009 at 04:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
MKBP Says:

"Shame on whoever sold out cyclists' safety for no real improvement for anyone else" do you read other peoples relevant comments? it really seems you are one track minded these people mentioned that this was an issue with there modesty.. which is important considering the exposure we have from everything surrounding us these days. don’t you think our kids deserve a little aidelkeit in their own 4 amos? Please stop with your selfishness and the hatred towards heimishe people. And please “Sold out the Cyclist” you really have your priorities messed up. Is it so hard for them to make a 2 block detour?

The dress code was very painful to us, when half dressed (or less..) passed by our streets in the masses on bikes each and every day. But this was NOT the reason for taking away the bike lanes, the law doesn't require a special dress code when passing Williamsburg. The reason for taking away the lanes was safety reasons, it's a heavily populated neighborhood with lots of kids and elderly people crossing, plus the numerous school buses dropping off hundreds of kids every few feet, so it was just a matter of danger or safety.

18

 Dec 01, 2009 at 04:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

bike lane or no bike lane, cyclists will ride on Bedford. You cant get rid of them. The real question is... how long until a driver feels so entitled to run over a cyclist because there is no bike lane. Im sure the children dont need to see brains splattered all over the street while walking to and from school.

Right, and children also hate to see kids lying on the ground knocked down by a careless biker who "in the rush" didn't stop for the flashing red lights, and they also don't like to see an old woman being hit by a reckless bicyclist.

19

 Dec 01, 2009 at 04:52 PM Brooklyn Joe Says:

Not sure this is a good solution. This isn't going to stop cyclists from using Bedford Avenue, it's just going to mean they will be all over the place instead of in the lane.

20

 Dec 01, 2009 at 04:55 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

bike lane or no bike lane, cyclists will ride on Bedford. You cant get rid of them. The real question is... how long until a driver feels so entitled to run over a cyclist because there is no bike lane. Im sure the children dont need to see brains splattered all over the street while walking to and from school.

Wow!! that's great news for me.
I had once when I attempted to legally park in my new mini van on Bedford Avenue when a raged biker had no patience (after all I stood in "his" way") and he banged with his fist on my back lights and shattered it! I went out and just couldn't believe my eyes, I had to go buy a new light.

21

 Dec 01, 2009 at 04:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

While I may not fully understand the values of this community which I pass through on my bicycle every day on Bedford Ave, my assumption is that the community does indeed value the sanctity of human life. The discussion is not about whether or not the community wants cyclists on Bedford Ave. This is not up for discussion. The community needs to understand that, if by geographic location alone, it plays some role in New York City as a whole, and that includes the transportation infrastructure. Cyclists, motorists, and transit riders will continue to pass through. The debate is whether or not these existing cyclists deserve a safer ride on Bedford Ave. The idea that the street should be reconfigured in a life-threatening way (i.e. removing the dedicated bicycle lane) due to what some view as "inappropriate dress" by a small minority shows a blatant disrespect for human life.

The South Williamsburg community, for one reason or another, may not want bicycles on Bedford Ave. However, is it really to the point that they wish death by motor vehicle collision upon those who pass through their community?

There is still a bike lane on Kent Avenue, just a half minute bike ride from Bedford Av. this way the bikers and pedestrians will both have the security not to be injured from one another's activity, human life's concern is the reason for removing the bike lane.

22

 Dec 01, 2009 at 05:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Kent Av has a very nice , safe , two direction bike lane. Wouldn't most reasonable cyclists choose to use the safer and more pleasant way instead of the crowded, threatening , contentious route ?

23

 Dec 01, 2009 at 06:43 PM Irene Says:

Reply to #13  
MKBP Says:

"Shame on whoever sold out cyclists' safety for no real improvement for anyone else" do you read other peoples relevant comments? it really seems you are one track minded these people mentioned that this was an issue with there modesty.. which is important considering the exposure we have from everything surrounding us these days. don’t you think our kids deserve a little aidelkeit in their own 4 amos? Please stop with your selfishness and the hatred towards heimishe people. And please “Sold out the Cyclist” you really have your priorities messed up. Is it so hard for them to make a 2 block detour?

Everyone who is saying it's a "short detour" has clearly never ridden a bike. It's the equivalent of being made to walk around a block because people don't want to see you on a specific street. You live in NEW YORK CITY, having bikers on your street is a part of living here. If this was really about safety, they would try to post more signs, or give tickets to bikers who break the law.

The people in the community should also try to do more to live in harmony with the bikers. I have been in many situations where mini-vans just pull out from nowhere without looking and almost hit me, or my favorite: park in the bike lane. Maybe this kind of behavior is what is causing anger among bikers.

Lastly, it's especially frustrating to me that you would see someone's transportation and personal safety concerns as a "hatred towards heimishe people." It's self-victimizing and just plain wrong.

24

 Dec 01, 2009 at 06:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
MKBP Says:

"Shame on whoever sold out cyclists' safety for no real improvement for anyone else" do you read other peoples relevant comments? it really seems you are one track minded these people mentioned that this was an issue with there modesty.. which is important considering the exposure we have from everything surrounding us these days. don’t you think our kids deserve a little aidelkeit in their own 4 amos? Please stop with your selfishness and the hatred towards heimishe people. And please “Sold out the Cyclist” you really have your priorities messed up. Is it so hard for them to make a 2 block detour?

Honestly, I don't care. Deal with it

25

 Dec 01, 2009 at 06:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #22  
Anonymous Says:

Kent Av has a very nice , safe , two direction bike lane. Wouldn't most reasonable cyclists choose to use the safer and more pleasant way instead of the crowded, threatening , contentious route ?

A direct route is much faster, and most reasonable people make transportation decisions based on time. If you were on your way to the grocery store, would you go out of your way to walk through a park because it was "more pleasant?" No.

I agree with the people who say this isn't going to get rid of the bikers, I hope the community is ready for a whole lot more confusion and clashing because the lane guides are gone.

26

 Dec 01, 2009 at 11:01 PM Jim Says:

To all complaining about reckless bike riders on Bedford I think your anger is greatly misdirected. Bikes may seems scary but in the grand scheme of things they are pretty harmless. Cars kill people, not bikes. A 9-year old was killed by a driver with a suspended licenses in South Williamsburg just a few months ago for those who have forgotten. More car lanes on Bedford = more speeding.

27

 Dec 02, 2009 at 10:14 AM Aryeh Says:

If the city actually cared about bikers, they would open a passage across the navy yard for pedestrians and bikes, that would cut 20 minutes off the walk to the yeshiva.

28

 Dec 02, 2009 at 11:13 AM Miss Williamsburg Says:

Whoever is mentioning modesty , please don't bring Tznius into this. You live in New York City not in your own shtetl in Romania. If scantily clad bikers really effect you that badly then move to Kiryas Yoel or don't walk out on the street. You are minimizing the real reasons why we were against these bike lanes which was for Safety issues.

I was almost run over by a cyclist while pushing my baby stroller without so much as a sorry!
I have witnessed cyclist not bothering to stop for school buses while children were getting on and off.

Personally I don't think the bike lane is such a bad idea. I think it would actually be great if people in our community would start using it. But the fact that there are no established rules or badly enforced rules which puts our children and other people in danger is what makes us so upset about the bike lanes. Cyclists can basically do whatever they please.

29

 Dec 02, 2009 at 11:22 AM This is NYC Says:

The Hasidic community has no right to judge any non-motorized form of transportation for not obeying traffic signals. Last time I checked, riding a bike down Bedford was like playing frogger with all the pedestrians obliviously walking across the street without regards to even cars. The community needs to recognize that it doesn't live in a vacuum and that people need to get through the neighborhood to access the areas surround South Williamsburg. Rerouting the bike lane won't solve anything because most people travel along Bedford regardless because it's the most direct route from South Brooklyn to the "rest" of Williamsburg.

Dealing with the issue of bicycle traffic is inevitable. It's becoming an increasingly popular form of transportation in Brooklyn (and NYC in general) and the areas on the periphery of South Williamsburg are becoming more developed and no one can stop this. If the community can't deal with people passing through and or abide by the same rules they think cyclists should follow, they should move upstate to the rest of the homogenous Jewish communities.

30

 Dec 02, 2009 at 01:03 PM Corvus Says:

I've seen many posts mentioning the dangers that bikes pose to pedestrians, especially children and I wonder: how many pedestrians, how many children waiting for school buses, have been seriously injured or killed by bikers? I don't know the answer myself - does anyone here? Hard numbers, not anecdotes. And how do those numbers compare to the numbers of people killed or injured by automobiles? Wouldn't it make the neighborhood infinetly safer to close it off to cars?

Also, I wonder, what good is this going to do? Let's be clear: people are still going to bike on Bedford since it's a more direct route to the Williamsburg Bridge. Removing the lanes is not going to change that, it's just going to make it more dangerous for everyone. If I lived in the neighborhood I'd be lobbying the city to reverse its decision.

31

 Dec 02, 2009 at 06:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

The dress code was very painful to us, when half dressed (or less..) passed by our streets in the masses on bikes each and every day. But this was NOT the reason for taking away the bike lanes, the law doesn't require a special dress code when passing Williamsburg. The reason for taking away the lanes was safety reasons, it's a heavily populated neighborhood with lots of kids and elderly people crossing, plus the numerous school buses dropping off hundreds of kids every few feet, so it was just a matter of danger or safety.

If you want cyclists to respect the rights of the Hasidic community and be tolerant of your differences, the Hasidic community also needs to LEARN TO BE TOLERANT of the differences of the non-Hasidic community (i.e we don't dress like you, etc.)

If you can't do that, you are small-minded hypocrites!! Shame on you!

32

 Dec 02, 2009 at 08:20 PM Lewis Says:

I wasn't able to find specific and reliable data about bicycle-pedestrian crashes, but the NYS DMV reports the following for Brooklyn:
Fatalities: Bicyclist - 11 Pedestrian - 53
Injuries: Bicyclist - 1,053 Pedestrian - 3,397
Collisions with motor vehicles:
Bicyclist - 1,090 Pedestrian - 3,442

http://www.safeny.com/hsdata.htm

Since the police generally do not bother reporting crashes unless someone is injured, which generally means taken to the hospital, or the auto needs to be towed (the police laughed at me when I was hit by a taxi and wanted to file a report. They said I could only call 311 and report to the Taxi and Limousine Commission), we can assume that most of those collisions involved an injury. Therefore, almost all of the reported injuries to cyclists and peds are due to collisions with motor vehicles. Surely there are injuries caused bike bike on ped crashes that aren't reported, but I highly doubt that they come anywhere near the 3,000+ hospital injuries caused by autos.
Continued in next post...

33

 Dec 02, 2009 at 08:30 PM Lewis Says:

I agree that dangerous cyclists should be enforced, but I cannot imagine anyone arguing that there are not huge amounts of auto drivers who barrel through our streets with little regard for traffic signals, speed, and pedestrian right-of-way. I know I'd far prefer to be clobbered by a cyclist going 20 mph than a car going 35, and there is rare a day that passes when I don't have some psycho in an auto come within inches of me at high speed while trying to run a red before the cross street gets green or tearing around a corner with a full crosswalk, so we need to consider what the greatest threat really is when becoming angry about unsafe habits. The truth is that people have become accustomed to dangerous auto traffic, but are not as accustomed to seeing cyclists, so they are perceived as a larger threat than they really are.
P.S. I always yell at other bikers when they tear past peds in the crosswalk.

34

 Dec 04, 2009 at 12:07 PM Anonymous Says:

I ride my bike on Bedford every day and will continue to do so. It is the most direct route to the Williamsburg Bridge. I doubt any cyclists will alter their route. You have a bike lane leading up to Hasidic Williamsburg, then something that looks a lot like a bike lane for 14 blocks, then a bike lane again. Nobody is going to detour because of this removal.

I can sympathize with people’s frustration in this neighborhood over biker behavior. I always stop for the school buses, but many bikers don’t, and I think this is terrible. But removing the bike lane is actually only going to worsen this problem. Biking is only going to increase in NYC. We all need to accommodate bikers while also imposing some expectations on them. Ironically, bike lanes start to do this. By removing this lane, the City has now given more ammunition to the jerk cyclists, and has undercut those of us who try to obey rules when bicycling and be considerate of pedestrians.

35

 Dec 04, 2009 at 06:18 PM Anonymous Says:

The majority of drivers obey traffic laws and are courteous. But there are some that aren't. Old ladies and children get hit and killed by cars. They are especially dangerous when they pass school buses. We should, therefore, take away car lanes and build cul-de-sacs so that cars cannot pass through residential areas. Cars should have to ride on commercial and industrial streets only, where it is safer.

36

 Dec 04, 2009 at 07:08 PM A Jew who does not look like you Says:

Now where are you going to illegally double park your minivans? Didn't think of that one, huh?

Personally, I'm glad the bike lane is gone since I can now ride my in any lane of Bedford. Thanks! (But if you attempt to use your motor vehicle as a weapon, I will fight back with fists)

37

 Dec 11, 2009 at 05:59 PM Jack Spratt Says:

For every bicyclist who fails to stop for the flashing lights of a schoolbus on Bedford Avenue, there is a minivan driver who double-parks illegally, tries to force cyclists off the road, or pulls away from the curb without checking his mirrors.

The bike lane should be brought back. And police should aggressively ticket those (cyclists and drivers alike) who break the laws of the road on Bedford.

38

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