Bike Battles in Williamsburg

Posted on 13. Dec, 2009 by in General, John Smock, Urban

Just when you thought the bike-lane battle in Williamsburg was over….

For those of you who are tragically un-hip and don’t live in my ‘hood, let me recap for you.

The 15 blocks of bike lane on Bedford Avenue, between Flushing and Division avenues, was painted over in the beginning of December by the Department of Transportation. They justified nixing the lane by pointing out that bikers have a two-way alternative bike lane on nearby Kent Avenue.

But residents are saying that the Kent Avenue bike lane isn’t enough to accommodate the number of cyclists that bike through the area. And a few days ago, a group of bikers took the matter into their own hands, grabbing some paint, some homemade stencils and, of course, a video camera and repainting the bike lane onto the street. Check out their YouTube video:

So far, at least two members of the group are being charged with criminal mischief.

It’s the latest bit of drama in the bike-lane saga in Williamsburg, although most of the recent controversy has involved the Kent Avenue bike lane. That lane opened in September, and has since been protested by members of South Williamsburg’s Hasidic community. At one point, the community even threatened to block city traffic if the Department of Transportation did not remove the lane.

Many bikers have vowed to keep cycling up and down Bedford Avenue whether the lane is officially there or not.   The controversy might die down a bit as colder weather hits the city, but it’s probably far from over. Stay tuned…

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