Locals blast city for failing to remove postal trucks from Williamsburg bike lane

Blocked: Federal postal trucks routinely block the Borinquen Place bike lane, as Williamsburger Herbie Medina documented with this photo he took on Jul. 7.
Herbie Medina

This post office hasn’t gotten the message — get out of the bike lane!

Locals are furious at the city’s failure to curb the illegal parking habits of a Williamsburg post office, where mail workers continue to treat a nearby bike lane as their own personal parking lot more than a year after this paper first reported the issue.

“I’m worried that one of the bikers will get hurt — which is due to happen any time,” said Herbie Medina, a longtime Williamsburg resident who tipped this paper to the illegal parking nuisance caused by the United States Postal Service in January 2018.

Ever since the city installed a bike lane on Borinquen Street near the post office located on S. Fourth Street, postal workers there have swamped the cycling path between Marcy Avenue and S. Fourth Street with mail trucks, and Medina claims his pleas to local elected officials, including Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and Councilman Antonio Reynoso, have fallen on deaf ears.

“Nobody’s doing anything about it,” said Medina. “Nothing has happened,”

The Postal Service — which has a modest parking lot capable of holding only a small portion of its delivery fleet — has stored their trucks along Borinquen Street since before the bike lanes were installed in October 2017, and a spokesman defended the workers’ illegal parking as a necessary expedient to permit timely deliveries.

“We continue to explore feasible parking strategies for this office that allow for expedient mail service with a minimum of disruption,” said Xavier Hernandez, a spokesman for the postal service.

But one Bushwick cyclist — who says she has to circumvent the illegally parked mail trucks on a daily basis — questioned the Department of Transportation’s decision to build the bike lane, only to then allow the Postal Service to overrun it.

“Why put the bike lanes in there if the post office parks their trucks there?” asked Tara Eisenberg. “It causes safety issues because you can’t use the bike lane.”

The Department of Transportation did not return multiple requests for comment.

The intersection has not claimed any cycling casualties, but two motorists were injured after smashing into each other at Marcy Avenue and nearby S. Third Street last May. Both drivers later claimed they had a green light.

Mayor Bill de Blasio — in response to a spade of collisions that have claimed the lives of 15 city cyclists since January, including one biker who was struck not far from the Marcy Avenue intersection— recently announced that the Police Department would step up its enforcement of vehicles blocking bike lanes for three weeks until July 21.

And, in a year marked by high cyclist fatalities, Eisenberg accused the Postal Service of choosing convenience over her life and the lives of fellow bikers.

“It’s adding insult to injury, it’s taking a space for cyclists, something we fight for with our lives every day, and, frankly, it’s insulting,” she said.

The Police Department’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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