Bergen Street's pylon bike lane barrier has disappeared

The Brooklyn Paper
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Bergen Street’s do-it-yourself bike lane is no more.

The row of orange traffic cylinders that stopped cars from obstructing a Prospect Heights cycling route has been removed — bringing an end to a guerilla-style “protected” path made by a crafty, rule-bending biker.

Civic activist and longtime bike booster Ian Dutton reportedly set up half a pylons alongside the often-blocked Bergen Street bike lane near the 78th Precinct last month in an attempt to discourage squad cars and other vehicles from parking in it.

Bikers cheered the move, saying that even rubber-and-plastic “infrastruc­ture” makes them feel safer near the busy intersection — if only for the street-turf psychology of it.

But the orange cylinders disappeared last Wednesday and have not been spotted since then.

With the cones gone, a police car and a Metropolitan Transportation Authority vehicle parked atop the bike route on Saturday.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation could not be reached for comment, but neighbors and police sources say construction workers — who were responsible for leaving the traffic cylinders beside the street in the first place — reclaimed them after they wrapped up work on a nearby Con Edison project.

Even so, some cyclists say the city should take a hint from the vigilante on wheels and turn what was once a flimsy orange barrier into a real one, such as a median, or a row of parked cars like the one that protects the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane.

“I think there’s a good argument for a separated bike lane on that block,” said cyclist Stephen Arthur.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

Updated 12:47 pm, August 20, 2012: Story updated to add more details.
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Reader Feedback

Chris from Prospect Heights says:
With the cones gone, the police are back to standing and parking in this bike lane once again.
Aug. 20, 2012, 11:04 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Then people ought to write letters to the precinct commander and show up to the public meetings to demand they stop blocking the bike lane. Keep at it and they'll have to cave, because they do work for us after all. If the precinct commander comes to understand that he either obeys the law or he will lose his job, he will make his guys obey the law.
Aug. 20, 2012, 11:15 am
T from Brooklyn says:
You can also email Letitia James:

and CB8:

Tell them to ask DOT to install permanent flexible bollards here to prevent illegal parking by the police.

But, definitely come to the next public meeting at the 78th and tell them to obey the law.
Aug. 20, 2012, 11:44 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Try looking at the causes rather than the effects for once. The barrier that Ian Dutton made was NOT authorized by the DOT. Therefore, he is not allowed to place this on the street, which happens to be illegal. If anything, he broke the law. By law, only the DOT can officially place such things, not anyone else. Although I don't condone the fact that police are placing their cars there, he still had no right to do what he did. It's said that bike zealots never realize that two wrongs don't make up a right, and that they believe that their kind does no evil while saying that everyone else does.
Aug. 20, 2012, 5:01 pm
Joe R. from Flushing says:
Easy solution-start bollarding off bike lanes so cars can't enter them, period. While we're at it also put bollards by the curb to keep cars from parking/driving on the sidewalk. The NYPD routinely parks not only in bike lanes but also on sidewalks.
Aug. 20, 2012, 9:40 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

Have you ever tried to get around by bike in Brooklyn?

I didn't think so.
Aug. 20, 2012, 10:17 pm
oldtime brooklyn from slope says:
I was in the Northfork for a few days and the wife and I counted dozens of bikers riding on sidewalks (dressed like elvis costello circa 1982) and respective chicks on sidewalks, cutting through gas stations, parks and boardwalks that had signs sayining no bikes, going agains traffic and lights - nuff said - but I also saw those in ther tight boi outfits and helmuts who stayed on roads sans the the lights - same shyt different menu
Aug. 20, 2012, 10:45 pm
KillMoto from the bike lane says:
@oldtime brooklyn,
Your point is a little obtuse, but I get it... You're saying that installed and accessible (i.e., not blocked by police, but enforced by police) bike infrastructure would give bikers - regardless of garb - a place to ride other than the sidewalk.

I'll see you at the community board then, and welcome to our side.
Aug. 21, 2012, 9:40 am
Brian Van from Gramercy says:
So, when a cyclist sets up cones to create a soft barrier between lanes that should not be crossed by vehicular traffic, that's "guerilla", "rule-bending", "vigilante".

But when a cop car illegally blocks that same lane in a non-emergency situation, that's an appropriate use of governmental power.

Double-standards everywhere. Keep listening to crazy Louise Hainline, she'll keep your phone ringing all day and all night with hot tips about intolerable crimes against humanity on two wheels!
Aug. 21, 2012, 11:10 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Brian, nobody condones the police for parking there, not even, and I just said that. However, placing cones when being unauthorized to do so is just as illegal. What part of two wrong don't make a right do you and your bike zealot friends not understand? I could easily say that when a cyclist does something illegal, you guys rush to his defensive no matter how wrong it was. If you asked me, that's the real double standard.
Aug. 21, 2012, 5:46 pm
Chris from Bushwick says:
So Tal, what exactly do you propose we do in order to keep police cars from parking there? The issue has been raised by the press and at Precinct community council meetings, yet has been resoundingly ignored.

Really, let's hear some solutions from you instead of your constant attacks on "bike zealots."
Aug. 21, 2012, 6:19 pm
ty from pps says:
Yes Tal. What is your solution??

It's awesome you don't "condones the police for parking there" -- How do you propose to make it stop? Hmm?

Please, Oh Wise One!
Aug. 21, 2012, 7:05 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Chris, I will not argue with you that police happen to abuse the very laws they are supposed to enforce. It's not just where this article mentions, but other areas to. Most police officers just think that they can park where they please just because they believe that their permits and placards give them a blank check to do so, while the rest of us just simply can't. Seriously, I find bike lanes to be useless, because for the most part they do go unused. Many of the original cyclists got around without the need of bike lanes, so I don't understand why they are needed right now when they weren't then. On a side note, you should read the comments on the NY Times on what some had to say about bike lanes and believing that the survey was completely biased.
Aug. 21, 2012, 7:11 pm
Rider from Brooklyn says:
Most of the original cyclists died because there were no bike lanes to protect them. Bike lanes keep us newbies alive!

How do we get the 78th to stop parking here?
Aug. 21, 2012, 9:48 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- (#1) Will you stop repeating " Seriously, I find bike lanes to be useless, because for the most part they do go unused." Over and over and Over!? It's just false. Period. Yes, everyone can have their opinions, but some opinions are WRONG.

(#2) What is you SOLUTION to the problem with the 78th? How are truly harm-free acts of social resistance so distasteful to you? You realize that our country was FOUNDED on this principle. You do know the actions of folks like Paul Revere, Sam Adams, and Thomas Paine were breaking the law, right?
Aug. 22, 2012, 12:59 am
ty from pps says:
(By the way, the acts of the revolutionaries in the 18th century were slightly more extreme than placing a few orange bollards in a painted buffer zone temporarily... )
Aug. 22, 2012, 1:01 am
ty from pps says:
By the way, Tal, I thought my comparison to American Revolutionaries would be your sort of thing. You call cyclists Hamas, I call them Freedom Fighters!

Aug. 22, 2012, 12:02 pm
Ginalolabrigida from uppereast says:
Long winded 'hipster' verbage is so boring to read. I feel for our locals over the bridge..the real locals. Go home already and give the real people back their Brooklyn. I work for Vogue and buddy holly glasses are on their way out of fashion btw...sorry Meghans and Joshes..
Aug. 22, 2012, 12:03 pm
John from Gowanus says:
Tal, maybe if you actually got a bicycle and started riding it you wouldn't find bike lanes useless. And maybe with a little exercise your views would widen as other things got a little slimmer!
Aug. 22, 2012, 2:29 pm
ty from pps says:
"I work for vogue..." Yes, you certainly speak for The People, Gina.
Aug. 22, 2012, 7:01 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I take it none of you bike zealots bothered to read the comments on the NY Times saying how bike lanes aren't popular, because many of those opposed are telling the truth. What is the whole purpose of placing a bike lane when even cyclists themselves won't be using them much? My guess was this is part of Bloomberg's way to help promote congestion pricing by creating the very gridlock itself. BTW, there have been cameras that showed that for most of the day, the bike lanes were hardly ever used during the day, but the streets and even sidewalks were used a lot. Why is that cyclists can't just follow the traffic laws? The reason I keep on asking that question is because you guys never bother to answer that and keep trying to dodge it. Just follow them and you will be fine. If you really want my support for this bike lane and any later on, then don't just agree to follow the rules, but also have you bicycle licensed, registered, and insured just like all other vehicles that use the road especially if you want everyone to treat bicycles as such.
Aug. 22, 2012, 7:07 pm
ty from pps says:
Oh, Tal! I am GAGGING for your support. Please, sir, please tell me what I can say so I can have your support. You are so important. You, Tal, are probably the most influential person in Brooklyn... even when you are 45 miles away living in your mom's basement.
Aug. 22, 2012, 7:11 pm
Chris from Bushwick says:
Tal, I guess you didn't bother to read the ARTICLE in the New York Times that detailed an opinion poll proving that bike lanes ARE popular, despite the mindless vitriol from a tiny, vocal minority of obnoxious Internet commenters like you.
Aug. 22, 2012, 9:55 pm
Brownstone from Park Slop says:
We don't pay enough for the cops we need.

We pay too much for the cops we got.

The NYPD is a paramilitary organization,
They are only following orders.
Ray Kelly's orders.

And we know that a fish rots from the head.
Aug. 22, 2012, 10:10 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

Leave your suburban world and get some facts from reality, not just other people who comment.

Till then please GO AWAY.
Aug. 23, 2012, 7:06 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Chris, polls like that tend to be skewed. A lot of them do not give middle ground, and make it as if you can only be either with them or against them. The comments there are hardly a minority. BTW, Streetsblog does NOT represent all NYers either. It was very possible that Bloomberg wanted to make sure that mostly those that supported him would answer only. Nevertheless, that poll wasn't scientific anyway. Of course most of the comments mentioned that cyclists don't follow the rules, and they are right about that. Still, what Dutton did was wrong, and there is no justification to that, and I don't see what he did as being heroic to anyone except for bike zealots such as those on Streetsblog. If cyclists really want respect and support from others, they really have to start changing their attitude staring with claiming that they are holier than thou. It's statements like that are creating the enemies in the first place, and we all know that Bloomberg won't be mayor forever, so there is a possibility if such behavior continues, the new mayor, who will try to be the anti-Bloomberg, will take it all away. In other words, you guys better start shaping up.
Aug. 23, 2012, 5:43 pm
ty from pps says:
Oh Tal -- I'm glad you have shared your wisdom with us. I am sure you have an amazingly complex understanding of quantitative research methodology. You are truly a scholar and we all appreciate the education you provide us each day.
Aug. 23, 2012, 10:51 pm

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