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Feuding Manhattan Beachers unite — over hated bike lane!

Manhattan Beach residents say nobody uses the bike lanes on Oriental Boulevard.
Community Newspaper Group / Daniel Bush

Manhattan Beach’s feuding civic groups may hate each other, but they detest something more — bike lanes on Oriental Boulevard.

The 70-year-old Manhattan Beach Community Group and its rival offshoot, the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association, are both demanding — separately, of course — that the city get rid of the bike lanes that span both sides of Oriental Boulevard between Kingsborough Community College and West End Avenue.

Members of both groups say the bike lanes shouldn’t have been installed, claiming that drivers speed on the street, making cycling there dangerous, and the neighborhood doesn’t have enough bicyclists to warrant the cycling paths.

“The bike lanes are inappropriate for Oriental Boulevard,” said Alan Ditchek, the president of the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association. “We want them to be eliminated completely.”

Amazingly, members of the Manhattan Beach Community Group agreed.

“They’re not being used,” said Alexander Singer. “There’s no basis for them to be there.”

The Department of Transportation included the cycling paths in its 1997 bike lane master plan, and installed them on Oriental Boulevard in 2005.

The agency did not respond to requests for comment, and declined to provide bicycle ridership for the area.

But it seems that the bike lanes may be here to stay: last month, the agency put up new signs warning cars to steer clear of the bike lanes — sparking a new round of protests from members of both groups.

And this fight may actually bring the two groups — known as the Hatfields and McCoys of southern Brooklyn — together again.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with our neighbors from the other group because removing bike lanes is a priority,” said Edmond Dweck, a member of the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association.

The Manhattan Beach Community Group split from the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association following a bitter 2007 election, when current Manhattan Beach Community Group President Ira Zalcman unseated former president Ron Biondo, who split from the group and helped form the new civic.

Since then, the rivals have argued over everything from the neighborhood’s private security patrol to the best ways to reduce speeding on Oriental Boulevard.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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