Urban Fold

Inside the Park Slope Bike Lane Battle

Reporter Matthew Shaer talks with folks on both sides of the highly contentious lawsuit seeking to remove a bike lane from Brookyln's Park Slope neighborhood.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group calling itself "Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes", which includes many powerful Park Slope neighbors, says Shaer. They argue that the city is exaggerating the benefits of the bike lane, and say they have hours of video footage that proves it.

Shaer shows that the lines are not as clearly drawn as one might think in this battle:

"In the prevailing spin, the bike-lane fight has two sides: the blue-collar New Yorkers who have to drive to work and the coddled creative-class types who live close enough to commute on their Bianchis. But the class dynamics are actually far more complicated, and the allegiances often defy expectations. The bike-lane opponent, for instance, is just as likely to be a well-to-do Manhattanite, and his main gripe the deliveryman who just pedaled the wrong way down a freshly laid bike lane, in a rush to unload a wood-oven pizza (which, on another day, that Manhattanite himself might have ordered). Simple nimbyism can't entirely account for the feud in Park Slope..."

Much of the article is dedicated to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan's bike lane expansion policies.

Full Story: Not Quite Copenhagen



Irvin Dawid's picture

"Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes"

Just read the pg.1 of this 8-page article, but I have to admit, when I came across "Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes", bells went off. I first ran into this type of group-naming to convey a positive theme (as opposed to "Neighbors against bike lanes") was during a Redwood City, CA housing battle. Project opponents called themselves "People for Housing Not Highrises". They retired after they defeated the housing measure - to their own homes - so maybe it did make sense.
Now the HSR opponents on the Peninsula don't say they oppose HSR - they just want it done 'right'. It has proven to be so popular a term that even the local state legislator wrote about it: High-speed rail — Do it right!

And for Better Transit

Likewise, the group opposing BRT in Berkeley called itself "Berkeleyans for Better Transit Options."

The overwhelming majority of people in that group never did anything for transit before BRT was proposed in Berkeley, said they were for better transit options as long as it helped them oppose BRT, and have done nothing for better transit since BRT was killed.

Maybe we should have given our pro-BRT group the name "Berkeleyans for Better Neighborhoods."

Charles Siegel

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