Bike opponents seek ‘Detour’ on Kent Ave

The Brooklyn Paper
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Opponents of a pair of controversial bike lanes on Kent Avenue have been using school buses to block the street in an act of automotive disobedience — and now they’re publicizing their plans with a billboard blaming the resulting traffic jams on cyclists.

Last week, anti-bike lane activists put up a possibly illegal orange-and-black billboard on private property near the corner of Broadway and Kent Avenue suggesting that motorists take Wythe Avenue to avoid delays caused by buses intentionally obstructing the thoroughfare to protest the cycling paths.

“DETOUR,” the sign reads. “Due to the bike lane and parking problem created by NYC Department of Transportation, we urge all drivers to use Wythe Ave. as your alternate route so you have no delays when the buses are picking-up and dropping off kids. The buses will be in an angle blocking the road and the bike lane for safety during the hours of 8–10 am and 4–6:30 pm.”

No one has claimed responsibility for the sign, which alludes to a November announcement by Council candidate Isaac Abraham that buses would be used to block the lanes if the city did not remove them.

This week, Abraham, the de facto spokesman for the Satmar Hasidic community in South Williamsburg, defended the sign. “This is for safety — the bikers are totally ignoring the flashing lights of the buses. There is no reason this community has to accommodate bikers driving by on both sides of the street when there are already bike lanes on Wythe and Bedford.”

Only the city is allowed to establish official detours, but it remains unclear whether the Department of Transportation will remove the unauthorized sign, which is the latest in a series of spats between biking boosters who support the paths and opponents of the lanes who are furious about the loss of parking spaces along Kent Avenue.

The sign was briefly taken down on Dec. 30 when David Gold, one of the owners of the Gold Warehouse, first noticed the four-foot-by-eight-foot billboard. Gold told The Brooklyn Paper that he removed the sign because the individuals who had installed it had not asked his permission, but he said he was sympathetic with the anti-bike lane cause.

The sign was reinstalled later that day, and according to Leo Moskowitz, a Kent Avenue resident and a vocal opponent of the cycling paths, the anti-bike lane activists responsible for the billboard are planning to print a larger, eight-foot-by-12-foot sign with the same message.

Biking advocates say that the billboard is an indication that the battle over Kent Avenue is no longer about the lanes — it’s about them.

“The language has become kind of hostile and vitriolic to bicyclists,” said Transportation Alternatives spokesman Wiley Norvell. “It makes me feel like this has nothing to do with the bike lane, but it’s a referendum on bicycling in principle in South Williamsbu­rg.”

Despite mounting opposition from residents, business owners and local politicians, the Department of Transportation stands behind the lanes, which are a preliminary stage in the long-planned Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway — a lengthy bike lane and walking path that will stretch from Greenpoint to Sunset Park.

“The lanes enhance safety in a neighborhood with one of the largest and fastest-growing bicycling populations in the city, and they are a key step in building the Greenway along the Brooklyn waterfront,” said Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Gastel. “The project was developed with the support of the community board, and we have worked closely with the community to address their concerns.”

Updated 5:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

jim from kent av. says:
guys.dont stop just keep it up!! its getting better day by day minute by minute.
Jan. 5, 2009, 5:23 pm
get rid (BLOOMTAX MAYOR) Michael Bloomberg who dont care of the safety of her kids

isaac run for mayor
Jan. 5, 2009, 5:52 pm
get rid (BLOOMTAX MAYOR) Michael Bloomberg who dont care of the safety of our kids

isaac run for mayor
Jan. 5, 2009, 5:52 pm
Elmo from Brooklyn says:
Why not put a toll gate at the beginning of the block? You can control the traffic for children and pedestrians while generating revenue to recoup Madoff losses.
Jan. 5, 2009, 6:46 pm
rick from brooklyn says:
I think everyone who rides a bike on kent ave should drive into the school buses blocking the bike path and claim an injury and sue the school bus company its illegal to block bike lanes you dont own the neighborhood eventhough you think you do
Jan. 5, 2009, 8:56 pm
Yvette from Williamsburg says:
They have been angle blocking the streets for years. Now all of a sudden they claim they need to do this because of the bike lanes? Please they are just pissed off that the bike lanes have changed the parking situation and on top of that they really don't care to block the lanes or double even triple park on Kent, Berry, Wythe and Bedford. I've lived in this very area for many years and have always thought that they are recless drivers and really don't care who is in front or behind them. But of course now the city will listen because it endangers their children. What about sending your little ones out to the stores and they crossing in between cars? You know how many accidents waiting to happen i've witnessed with this very situation? Please!!!!!
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:20 am
Don from Williamsburg says:

Who are you referring to when you say "they"?

This is a matter between all residents of Kent Ave against the city for placing "two" bike-lanes parallel on the same street, which results that all resident are denied access to their building. You can't even stop a taxi for haven sake.

Also this article doesn't reflect the truth about business owners. In fact when you click on the words "business owners" in this article it leads you to another article which mentions the trouble this is causing to local business owners.
Jan. 6, 2009, 4:40 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:

If this is a matter between "all" residents (surely it can't be every single one) and the city, then they should address it through the proper channels, not by illegal signs and traffic blockings.

Also I wonder why you use quotations marks arround the word "two".

Furthermore the street is used by people who do not live on Kent ave. (both cars and bikes) so it is a citywide traffic issue, not just limitied to the street itself.
Jan. 7, 2009, 11:40 am
tony from greenpoint says:
when i say "they" i am referring to the hasidic jews who think they can create their own laws and signage.

south brooklyn is america and not israel. no sovereignty.

"they" protested bike lanes a few months ago because "they" were offended by women in skirts causing them to have human feelings.

what year is it? what country is this? this is completely insane.

let's not forget that 34% of all prostitution busts in brooklyn for 2007 was charged to those wonderfully religious hasids.
Jan. 8, 2009, 12:57 pm
Elmo from Brooklyn says:
Ban the buses!!! They clog traffic and spew pollutants. Aren't the schools local? They should walk..............or ride bikes.
Jan. 8, 2009, 1:29 pm
S Weiser from Willaimsburg says:
I say and I also think and I always said before and I will repeat it now and I dont care if I get flak for what i will say now: The fact is that driving a bike is good for your butt, good for your mental health, good for your legs and tones your belly. this is one issue where I disagree with rabbi David Neiderman. I will vote for the bike land as I am a member on the CB 1
July 24, 2009, 10:31 am

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