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A bunch of clowns

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The fight over a pair of controversial Williamsburg bike lanes has gotten so wacky that cycling activists sent in the clowns — literally.

About 10 biking advocates dressed in zany circus garb pedaled down Kent Avenue on Dec. 17 to show support for the hotly contested cycling lanes amid an increasingly volatile fight between bike lane boosters and opponents who want the city to eliminate the paths.

“Humor is a great way to deal with conflict,” said event organizer Ben Shepard, a volunteer with the cycling activist group Time Out.

The jesters rode down Kent Avenue and staged fake accidents behind cars and trucks that impeded the bike lanes, then adorned the vehicles with fake tickets.

The lanes were painted by the city earlier this year as precursors to the long-planned Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, which will eventually create two buffered bike paths from Sunset Park to Greenpoint.

But opponents of the lanes, including leaders of the neighborhood’s influential community of Satmar Hasidic Jews, say that the bike lanes aren’t worth the parking spaces they erased — and went so far as to threaten to obstruct traffic if the city does not remove them.

The comical demonstration came on the heels of last week’s news that local politicians including Councilman David Yassky (D–Williamsbu­rg) — a backer of bike-friendly initiatives — called on the Department of Transportation to remove a lane from one side of Kent Avenue.

Though they fear they are losing support from politicians, the bikers’ hijinx got some laughs — but not for the reason they anticipated.

“I understand it was supposed to be a joke, but having only ten people join the bike tour — that’s really the funny part,” said Williamsburg resident Leo Moskowitz, who opposes the lanes.

“If there are so many people who are supporting the bike lanes, where are they?” he asked. “They want to kill the street and kill the parking for who? Ten clowns.”

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Reader Feedback

jack from willamsburg says:
Do any of those clowns have jobs?
Dec. 18, 2008, 2:08 pm
dave from brooklyn says:
Yes, because their needs comes first, according to Bloomberg.
Dec. 18, 2008, 2:59 pm
abe from brooklyn says:
the entire bike lane is a circus.
Dec. 18, 2008, 3:06 pm
lee from sunset park says:
I dont get it for 20 bikers tens of thousands of people have to park 1 mile from their homes ?
Dec. 18, 2008, 3:08 pm
tony from greenpoint says:
It will be interesting to see which clowns win...
Dec. 18, 2008, 4:03 pm
martin from willamsburg says:
good for them . about time they showed who has rights too!
Dec. 18, 2008, 4:05 pm
john from brooklyn says:
Oh good! at least you see who represents the lanes, and whom are the bike lanes representing: 20 CLOWNS.. how nice.
Dec. 18, 2008, 4:31 pm
oscar from bay ridge says:
I don't see whats so interesting with it, besides that they came in a group and banged on trucks.. I see every day clowns using the bike lanes, some with 6' tall bikes, some with funny clothing, some with weird hair styles.. it's every days normal to see Halloween type of stuff in the bike lanes..
Dec. 18, 2008, 4:34 pm
MissCegenation from Greenwood Heights says:
DRIVING/PARKING A CAR IN THE CITY IS NOT A RIGHT! why don't people seem to get that? with more drivers in the city and more cars by the month, the problem obviously has to be mitigated somehow. encouraging more people to bike instead of driving is one way of doing that.

also, STOP trying to make excuses for yourselves by crying that delivery trucks and fedex won't be able to do their jobs. that's either a really silly assumption or a lie--why would anyone want business to be negatively affected. delivery trucks will only be ticketed if they stop in a bike lane for an unnecessary amount of time, for more than what it takes to do their job.

tell the truth! you just don't want to have to walk a few blocks from wherever you parked, or *gasp* give your car up altogether.

sheesh, you guys are selfish and short-sighted.
Dec. 28, 2008, 7:12 pm
jim from kent av, says:
did you see how meny business onwers was at the transportation town hall meeting crying about loosing a lots of business."no stopping"sign is like on a hwy.no pick/and droping off.stopping on a bike lane is $115.00 plus points of your linces.
Dec. 29, 2008, 2:31 pm

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