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Hasids: We’ll block traffic to KO bike lanes

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Opposition to newly painted bike lanes on Kent Avenue is so strong in Williamsburg’s Hasidic community that one Orthodox leader vows that the faithful will block traffic if the city does not remove the cycling routes.

In South Williamsburg’s Satmar section, the wheels were already spinning against the bike lanes — which eliminated curbside parking and standing when they were painted last month — and now City Council candidate Isaac Abraham kicked the conflict into a higher gear when he said this week that private buses would obstruct Kent Avenue to pressure the city to remove the lanes and reinstate alternate-side parking.

“We will ask all the drivers: ‘When you pick-up or drop-off our children, put your bus in an angle, block the entire street, wait ’til the parent gets to the door of the bus, [and] slowly — very slowly — take your child off or put it on the bus, [and] don’t rush to get back on the sidewalk,’” said Abraham, who added that the protests would occur every morning from 8 to 10 am and each afternoon from 4 to 7 pm and would be accompanied by rallies.

“One day the traffic will be backed up all the way to Long Island City to [the] Department of Transportation Headquarters, traffic will come to a halt,” he said.

Abraham revealed to The Brooklyn Paper his calls for a traffic slowdown just before a contentious Nov. 24 neighborhood meeting that addressed the controversial Kent Avenue bike lanes, which are placeholders for the proposed Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway — a divided cycling and walking path planned to stretch from Greenpoint to Sunset Park.

Members of the Hasidic community said that blocking traffic is their only effective way to protest the no-stopping, no-standing signage that they have fought since the city installed the signs on a Saturday last month and immediately issued tickets, even though observant Jews aren’t allowed to move their vehicles on the Sabbath.

Department of Transportation Bicycle Program Coordinator Joshua Benson — who fielded questions and insults at the transportation meeting — said that the bike lane was necessary to create a “network” of bicycle paths around the borough, and suggested that in time, Williamsburg residents might come to embrace the cycling lanes.

“Change is hard, and when we change the way the streets work, there is always an adjustment period,” he said.

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Reader Feedback

Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Mr. Abraham's suggestion that some residents should actively try to block traffic is not proving any kind of a point, it's just going to inconvience others who use the roads. I don't see how using buses to block traffic is in anyway related to not liking the bike lanes (which I must admit, I am in favor of).
There are proper procedures to register complaints and make your voice heard in the decision making process. This is not one of those ways, and strikes me as being borderline illegal.
Individual groups must accept that they are only one of many voices, and that they will not get what they want by trying to punish others who disagree with them.
If this community really wanted to show why they think the bike lane would be a bad idea, they could show how normal traffic was upset by the bike lanes, instead of artifically creating a problem. Clearly they must think that there will be no measureable difference after the bike lanes are installed, so they feel that they must create a false (and honestly pretty annoying situation). This seems very childish to me.
Nov. 26, 2008, 8:20 am
Downtown Gal from lower Manhattan says:
We have the same problem here in lower Manhattan when the autocratic DOT and its Czar, Diktator Sadik-Khan, put in a bike-lane on Grand Street through SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown.

This 'new' rogue DOT tramples on communities, has little if any public input, and Diktator Sadik-Khan does whatever she damn well pleases, to hell with everyone else's opinion.

When is Bloomberg going to remove her before she ruins more communities?

Lower Manhattan to W'burg: We're with you.
Keep fighting the Diktator and her handlers at Transportation Alternatives
Nov. 26, 2008, 10:04 am
Alex Berkman from Williamsburg says:
I ride a bike everyday and appreciate the lanes and want more of them. I also like community organizing and direct action, so it is always encouraging when people get together to address their grievances.
There is already a traffic halt on the weekends anyhow with all the cars out there and the police don't do anything, so that is fine.
Here is an idea for the all the people involved, and if you read this and are connected, please share and act.

Care about your community?
I said, do you are about your community?

Get your children off of those old yellow school buses. Your children are breathing toxins every day with those old fleets you have parked everywhere overnight on public streets. You all should pool your resources together and convert all the buses to bio-deisel, the used cooking oil kind, not the burning food kind. That will save $ on fuel and reduce pollution for all NYers and get your children out of those polluting yellow toxic boxes.
I and other activists in the community will help with our skills.
Nov. 26, 2008, 10:50 am
Gary from Park Slope says:
Pretty much every time a new bike lane goes in that limits parking (or even illegal double parking-read Grand Street), it is the same story. A small element gets hysterical and tries to paint it as some sort of crisis. Sorry, but it is just the loss of a few parking spaces. Park on the side streets. People are going to have to adjust if this city is going to move into the 21st Century.
Nov. 26, 2008, 10:58 am
Chris from Williamsburg says:
Someone needs to remind the Hasidic community in Williamsburg that this is a democracy, not a theocracy.

A lot more people in this neighborhood walk than drive. Pedestrians and cyclists should be entitled to far more street space than half-empty, exhaust-spewing cars.
Nov. 26, 2008, 11:26 am
JIM from CONEY ISLAND says:
THE BIGGEST BUNCH OF A-HOLES IN OUR CITY GOVERMENT IS THE DOT. THEY MAKE SURE THAT IF IT IS NOT BROKEN TO BREAK IT.
BIGGER MORONS DO NOT EXIST. AND SINCE BLOOMBURG TOOK OFFICE IT HAS GOTTEN WORSE.
Nov. 26, 2008, 11:46 am
hawk from brooklyn says:
maybe turnabout is fair play.

when does this community need the roads? i say all us bikers take over that neighborhood when it is busiest. see who really needs who.
Nov. 26, 2008, 11:59 am
Mr. McStiffy from Williamsburg says:
Someone needs to slap Mr. Abrams with a wet noodle. I hope he gets arrested for being an A#%hole. No one is "making" you do a damn thing. Grow up. Ironically, bikes will be the only vehicles--if he follows through on his threat to block the entire road with buses--that would be able to maneuver around those ugly ass buses they imprison all their children in. You may want to move yours and your children a little faster toward the door if you've got a few fixies bearing down on you.

Grrr....this makes me so angry. Elitist Hasids.
Nov. 26, 2008, 12:28 pm
Barnard from Brooklyn says:
I'm glad these bike lanes are going in. It means safer streets and less traffic. Sure, at first people have to adjust, but more and more people are biking, and projects like this encourage cycling even more. If you're serious about encouraging bike riding, then you have to build bike lanes and other on-street improvements. NYC traffic is scary! People who want to bike need protected space. The Grand Street protected bike lane is terrific! Downtown Gal, I have no idea what you're talking about it.

Let's think about it people: our air is terrible, we have among the highest asthma rates in the nation, our traffic is insufferable, even the subways are crowded. We should be doing all we can to give me more ways to get around. More bikers equal less drivers and less people crowding on the trains and buses.

Find me someone who sincerely thinks that more cycling is bad for New York City.
Nov. 26, 2008, 12:28 pm
John from Crown Heights says:
Since when did free parking become a civil liberty? Seriously, when did being able to store private property in the public right of way become a right?

Anyway, do they have any constructive recommendations of how to accommodate bikes AND get the parking they demand, or this it just about bikes being the enemy and stubbornly obstructing access?
Nov. 26, 2008, 1:54 pm
Angry on the Northside from Williamsburg says:
I call for a boycott of all Hasidic businesses until they withdraw their threat of blocking the public right-of-way. Boooooo. You suck.
Nov. 26, 2008, 5:28 pm
cwinte from London says:
It's very healthy to park on side streets and use legs a little sometimes!
Nov. 26, 2008, 5:44 pm
steev from bed-stuy says:
i'm sorry, the hasidic community are without a doubt the most dangerous drivers on the road. it is UNREAL how this irresponsible blanket statement is actually borne out in the real world...
Nov. 26, 2008, 6:45 pm
Vulto from Williamsburg says:
O.K. I ride a bike to work and live on Kent Avenue. I like bike lanes but...I also like being able to park a car to get kids, shopping etc. to & from the house. We had alternate side of street parking--fine. Now we have NO STOPPING ANYTIME. Parking on side streets is fine too but there is no parking--all side streets are full of trucks and cranes and massive developments bringing people with cars no doubt. This is just going to exacerbate the situation. Kent Ave has been ripped up numerous times over the past 9 years--one thing that seemed actually O.K. was one-way traffic.
So if we want to cut down on traffic and prioritize biking how about making Kent one-way, keeping a bike lane, allowing parking and adding some stop lights? Oh and by the way there are bike lanes on the two parallel streets: Wythe & Berry....
Nov. 26, 2008, 7:23 pm
mitch from kent ave says:
i have a buissnes on kent ave...and i have 1 question fro all of you.

how am i suppose to get a delivery or to load unload a truck???
can someone anwswer me????

my buissnes has become allmost immpossible to operate since the NO STOPPING SIGNS were posted.

i have tried to call the DOT so many times for so long with no answer no returned phone calls...untill issac abraham came into the picture

GO ISSAC GO YOU HAVE MY VOTE
Nov. 26, 2008, 9:58 pm
Mike from Brooklyn says:
king Bloomberg said: "either you get a bike or move out of my city."

rummors out there that since his congestion pricing failed, he must do something to the growing traffic, so he instructed the DOT to make the car owners uncomfortable, with this he reduces the cars in this city and makes NYC green,

But he doesn't think or doesn't care of all the workers that need service vans, truck delivery, and other business that can not use mass transit or bikes
Nov. 26, 2008, 10:46 pm
a man from brooklyn says:
i think it just sucks
i dont get 90% of the hell the gov. is doing. i guess it works like this: if you rich (like blumberg and his buddies) you get to have a limo driver picking you up and droping you off. you have no worries of looking for parking and paying tickets. but if you are a middle or low class person (like all of us waisting time on the net) we get to suffer look for parking and pay the dame tickets ... F*^%k you gov people how about give a brack for peopl like us. start giving tickets for any car that has more then 3 windows on each side for taking up so much room on the streets
Nov. 27, 2008, 1:24 am
Antonio_Bklyn from Carroll Gardens/Red Hook says:
Place the bike lanes in Red Hook and Carol Gardens, where they are needed. These two neighborhoods have lots and lots of bike riders. Also, these neighborhoods do not practive kleptocracy as a the default social contract.
Nov. 27, 2008, 10:59 am
Sam from Kings Highway says:
Only difference between the Chassidim and the Taliban is the Taliban have Kalishnikovs and RPGS...
Nov. 27, 2008, 12:58 pm
CHOSID from WILLIAMSBURG says:
OUR COMMUNITY DOES NOT USE BIKES AND WE DON'T NEED BIKE LANES. BUT WE UNDERSTAND THAT OTHERS PASSING OUR NEIGHBORHOOD WITH BIKES NEED THOSE BIKE LANES.
BUT WHY DO WE NEED 5 LANES 1 AFTER THE OTHER? THERE IS A BIKE LANE ON WYTHE,BERRY,BEDFORD,BROADWAY, AND NOW ON KENT.
DOES ANYONE KNOW OF A NEIGHBORHOOD THAT HAS 5 LANES ONE AFTER THE OTHER?
DOES ANYONE KNOW OF A PLACE THAT THERE IS "NO STOPPING" SIGNS?
CAN ANYONE TELL ME HOW UPS OR FED EX ARE MAKING DELIVERIES ON THAT BLOCK?
Nov. 27, 2008, 1:11 pm
santos from williamsburg/clemente says:
allthout my heart goes out for the buisness owners & resident who are suffering ,and the city has to right away remove the signs on kent av . but its important to know that the so called actvist abraham dose not represent anybody from the community & is not part of any organisation.
he just makes this retric statements.
Nov. 27, 2008, 5:25 pm
KEITH from KENT AVE says:
untill that so called actvist abraham came into the picture, the DOT ignored our phone calls, now we got there full attention...

THANK YOU ISSAC ABRAHAM WE NEED YOU
Nov. 27, 2008, 5:39 pm
jacs from bp says:
All for bike lanes do not live in that neighborhood, and do not understand the need for parking, there is nowhere else to park, there is a couple hundred of families living on Kent Ave that there is the Hudson river on the next block and on the other side there is apartment buildings that does not help with parking, so before you write your comments come down and check out the block for yourself, I don’t know if Abraham is doing will help but something has to be done and he is trying.
Nov. 27, 2008, 7:45 pm
chris from north brooklyn says:
this is the only way to talk to the city or to the DOT.
try for yourself, i called 311 and waited someone to call me back, never!!
then i tried calling the DOT, i left my name, address, phone number, and email. im still waiting.
Nov. 27, 2008, 8:53 pm
willumsburg from kent ave says:
from when on is illegal for a bus to stop to pick up children but for now the bus will take their time and the children will take their time noting illegal over here and when six bouses will come right after the other and you will be see the traffic and can you tell me wher in the side st ther is parking
Nov. 27, 2008, 9:03 pm
Woodside from Queens says:
There will always be people who disagree with city changes, but blocking traffic? Come on! It's such a petty thing to do, and to use children that way? You can't get your way all the time. If the crowded streets of Manhattan can do it, so can Williamsburg.
Nov. 28, 2008, 10:23 am
Chaim from Williamsburg says:
I like the cooking oil for fuel idea, and have my children in one of the schools here. How can we do that? Where are the resources? I have read studies about the pollution infiltrating the yellow school buses, especially when they are slow or idle. Please help. We have many involved members who could encourage our leadership to do this, if it is real and feasible. Shalom!

(See this:
Numerous studies have documented that diesel exhaust concentrations inside the bus are much higher than the levels outside the bus. Yale University researchers, in conjunction with Environment and Human Health, Inc., recorded pollution levels during school bus trips using a monitor attached to a child’s backpack. The study revealed that students on school buses were exposed to levels of particulate pollution that were 5-15 times higher than background levels (9). Levels peaked as the child entered and exited the bus and remained high throughout the trip. When school buses queue up one behind another and leave engines running while picking up or dropping students off, or waiting for students to transfer among buses, interior particulate levels rise quickly to their highest levels, often within a minute of arrival. Diesel tailpipe exhaust from adjacent school buses can be drawn into the cabins (9), an indication that the increased exposure is directly related to idling school buses (10). "
http://64.233.169.132/search?q=cache:OL0uvmAOa70J:www.dshs.state.tx.us/schoolhealth/tshac/files/BusIdlingResearch.doc yellow school bus pollution&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=us&client=safari
Nov. 28, 2008, 11:40 am
Tompkins Sq Everywhere from Williamsburg says:
Make sure you explore USED COOKING OIL bio-diesel. Some blends, more common for now, of "bio-diesel" are just burning food for fuel, which is terrible for the globe. Used cooking oil, see this article:

http://www.smokymountainnews.com/issues/06_08/06_25_08/op_waste_oil.html

There is some DJ entrepreneur in NYC that is doing the fuel, in Brooklyn I think...
Nov. 28, 2008, 11:43 am
Abraham from Brooklyn says:
Mayor Mike Bloomberg is the new 'Putin' of America, his rating are ALWAYS high, no bad reports -or even a Book- against him & everyone agrees to his way (unless there is a vote on it), he can run again against the will of the people & little will you see on the Editorial page or on any bulletin board, Mr. Abraham; don't even try, he will just ruin your chances to win the seat, like he did to so many others who dared to have objective views, he understands that citizens aren't smart enough to understand, they think that lowering taxes will help the economy, but they're wrong & anyways WHO NEED THESE BIG HATEFULL COMPANIES WHO POLLUTE OUR CITY! Let them go to the South..., Mr. Bloomberg, can't you go away? You seem not to be able to let POWER go! I promise you, NO-ONE will miss you, unless an elitist/reporter who never made his hands dirty.
Nov. 28, 2008, 12:03 pm
Antonio.Bklyn from Caroll Gardens/Red Hook says:
Dear Chris from North Brooklyn

Throught out the years, living in Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens, and Red Hook), 311 and DOT have proven to be responsive. I called about traffic issues with school buses idling, improper parking, dirty exhaust, street damage done by contractors and have been suprised how well the turn around has been between reporting the issue to the addressing of the issue. Neighborhoods can no longer live in their own silos.
Nov. 28, 2008, 1:28 pm
SexyBack from Carroll Gardens says:
Hey, this is all about the Hasids not wanting to see sexy bikers riding bye. You're missing the real deal ...
Nov. 30, 2008, 3:41 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
This comments section is really just degenerating into a bad jokes forum.
Dec. 1, 2008, 9:39 am
Johnny from Bedford Hills says:
If Critical Mass bicyclists get arrested for obstructing traffic, they better start arrested Hasids that obstruct traffic. I think this racist, sexist, homophobic community is coddled enough.
Dec. 1, 2008, 1:03 pm
jackr from carroll gardens says:
"BIGGER MORONS DO NOT EXIST than the DOT"
i think isaac abraham just proved the bigger moron.
Dec. 1, 2008, 3:21 pm
r185 says:
SexyBack from Carroll Gardens is correct. I recall that several months ago when the lane was still pretty new, the arguement against it was the scantily clad women riding bikes - nothing to do with traffic. Although it was reported at teh time, it seems to have been forgotten now. THAT is the real story here.
Dec. 1, 2008, 6:15 pm
la bike rider from downtown says:
sounds like a good way to get a pissed off cyclist to throw a rock threw your window. give bikers the room they deserve. if the jewish community wants to avoid seeing human skin they should move to alaska where its cold all year round haha
Dec. 9, 2008, 8:36 pm
ira ostroll from Kulpmont says:
And we will see what happens when an emergency vehicle cannot get by the buses. Who will be responsible t hen?
Jan. 9, 2009, 4:09 pm
Louie H. from Brooklyn says:
Maybe we should be looking at the bike riders for not really using the lanes when. If you drive the streets as much as I do you will see them hardly use these lanes and ride where ever they like, not caring for cars or people and braking the rules of the road.NYPD should make them obey the same rules we do.
Aug. 11, 2010, 5:23 pm

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