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Great bike debate on Monday in Williamsburg

The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s not Lincoln vs. Douglas, but bike lane activists and opponents will participate in the 2010 version of the great debate at Pete’s Candy Store on Monday night.

Organizers of the forum, which follows the city’s unannounced removal of the Bedford Avenue bike lane in November, have invited both sides to offer their spin, but if opponents don’t show up, biking activist Baruch Herzfeld has said he’ll act as a stand-in for the naysayers.

“I don’t want to fan the flames of discord, rather I want to talk about the cultural differences involved,” said coordinator and biker James Hook. “But we also want to do it in a fun way that’s engaging.”

And there are plenty of flames to quell here: the city removed the bike lane, reportedly to appease the Hasidic community, which has opposed such cycle paths. Then, two rogue activists were arrested for repainting the bike lane in the dead of night. Then, activist Heather Loop tried and failed to host a topless bike ride down the avenue to spite the local Hasidic community.

The tempers are still hot over the whole thing.

Joining the debate will be Isaac Abraham, a Hasidic activist and former Council candidate who supports the city decision to remove the bike lane.

“[Bikers] claim the roads have to be shared, but I own a car, pay taxes on my gas, insurance and repairs, and that creates revenue for the city — yet bikes add zero revenue. Why?” Abraham told The Brooklyn Paper this week. “The bike lane literally cut off part of the community and put kids and their families in danger.”

He added that it’d be hard to sway him from his position, claiming that a biker hit his wife and knocked her unconscious on the same street.

But swaying isn’t necessarily Hook’s goal.

“Somebody has to bring these communities back together to talk,” he said. “That’s the reason you move to Brooklyn, because you enjoy the different cultures and communities. If you want to have a homogenous experience, move to Minnesota.”

Bike lane debate at Pete’s Candy Store [709 Lorimer St. between Richardson and Frost streets in Williamsburg, (718) 302-3770), Monday, Jan. 25, 7:30 pm.

Updated 5:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jack from Brooklyn Heights says:
Though car taxes may seem to create revenue, gasoline and road work are heavily subsidized by other tax dollars. Gasoline prices are artificially low because of government subsidies.
Cars damage roads much more than bikes do, and bikes can run on roads that are in worse condition than cars can. That is why car drivers have to pay taxes on their vehicles and bikers don't. Cars actually cost the city more than the supposed revenue the taxes on them generate. See it as reduced fee for the damage your vehicle creates.

And also following your argument Mr. Abraham, should pedestrians not be allowed to use sidewalks because they don't pay a walking tax?
Jan. 21, 2010, 3:13 am
Gary from Park Slope says:
Gas taxes pay for Federal Highways, not local roads. The cost of local roads comes out of the same local taxes everyone pays-the majority of whom don't own cars in this City. And I know a bunch of people who have been hit by cars, so lets ban all cars from my neighborhood-what kind of logic is that?
Jan. 21, 2010, 8:57 am
katy from williamsburg says:
why do people assume that people who bike don't own cars? we do. i bike, and drive and have lived in the neighborhood since '93.
fear and ignorance are not family values.
Jan. 21, 2010, 9:49 am
beej from Greenpoint says:
how about reversing the kent ave bike lane disaster that has pushed cars and trucks onto residential streets?

"Cars actually cost the city more than the supposed revenue the taxes on them generate"

The city makes a huge amount from parking meters and parking tickets, its major revenue stream.
Jan. 21, 2010, 10:22 am
Nathaniel from LES says:
"“The bike lane literally cut off part of the community and put kids and their families in danger.”

Well what about the Road that carries all those cars?

The only difference is that now: (1) Cars will go faster because the bike lane was a traffic calming mechanism; and (2) bikers and Peds will be less safe, and; (3) bikers will still take Bedford ave.

This is reactionary politics at it's worst.
Jan. 21, 2010, 10:32 am
ms nomer from williamsburg says:
Does Mr Abraham blame the bike lane for the death of 9 year old Joshua Ganzfried last year, or the car driver that actually hit the boy at Bedford and Wallabout, kiling him instantly?
Jan. 21, 2010, 11:46 am
Tim from Williamsburg says:
I've had an ongoing argument with members of the hasidic community for the way they drive buses for two years now. I nearly get hit on a daily basis. If Isaac's wife got hit by a bike, where is the police report? Oh right, there isn't one. Guess she didn't really get hit then.
Jan. 21, 2010, 12:17 pm
Dav from Greenpoint says:
Tim.. I can see you are a very depress and selfish person, there is no argument just drive safely and respect school buses! Just for the records
These buses are privet owned by the local schools and not by city and not by NYC tax payer’s money. The city is not contributing to privet schools at all,
On your comment: “I nearly get hit on a daily basis”. Just advice contact your local driving school and get a 6 hour class.. Otherwise you conceder as a dangers driver!!
Jan. 21, 2010, 2:21 pm
Vinnie from Williamsburg says:
How about they just install a nice monorail?
Jan. 21, 2010, 3 pm
Ken from Greenpoint says:
How about the city should install a baby carriage lane?
Jan. 21, 2010, 3:27 pm
Tim from williamsburg says:
To Dav from Greenpoint

As a pedestrian, I don't see why I would be the one to take driving lessons, but thanks for your ill-informed advice. The bus drivers ( specifically the hasidic buses, not so much the normal orthodox) drive like maniacs. I've seen many near misses. One of these days, some one is going to die at their hands, and who will be to blame? Certainly not the bikes. Actually, come to think of it, your response to my initial post has nothing to do with my initial post. So, I retract my thanks.
Jan. 21, 2010, 4:36 pm
buddy from wburg says:
the idea that bike lanes are somehow "dangerous" is lunacy. who is threatened by their existence? pedestrians walking in the street? speeding cars? small, defenseless animals? the entire *point* of bike lanes is to make things safer for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers alike.

this is just a case of the hasidim being regressive bullies who refuse to recognize the law of the land.
Jan. 22, 2010, 10:02 am
Tim from Greenpoint says:
To Buddy from Williamsburg..

My question to you if you call them bullies why you are still live in that community? The answer it’s the safest community an entire borough of Brooklyn…
Nobody is pressuring to live in that community just respect them...
Jan. 22, 2010, 11:14 am
E. Village from E. Village says:
IRS: Please audit Mr. Isaac Abraham. Let's see if he is really paying his fair share of taxes!!
July 12, 2010, 1:46 pm

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