Activists Re-Paint Stripped Bike Lane Dec 8, 2009

In case you missed this, the 14-block stretch of bike lane running through South Williamsburg was recently removed by the NYC DOT. Shortly afterwards, a group of activists decided to re-paint the lane. A ballsy move considering the backlash that came the Hasidic community. After two successful nights of repainting the lane, reports indicate that the Shomrim Patrol – the Hasidic neighborhood watch, called the NYPD on Sunday night. While the Shomrim Patrol said that the NYPD arrested the individuals, this new information suggests the NYPD arrived and no arrests were made. The NYPD has yet to confirm these reports. A quote from one of the participants and a bit of a back-story is below.

We got some paint and paint rollers and went out on foot. We just went up there and started painting the bike lane. This was on two different nights; Friday and Sunday. It was almost finished [on Sunday], but the Shomrim were called and showed up. They stopped two people and talked to one for a while. They went up and bear-hugged one of the people to try to stop them from getting away. The other person was like, “You’re not police, you can’t detain me,” and just left. The first person they just stopped and talked to for a while. This person explained what the group was doing…Police were called, but they did not give anybody summonses or arrest anybody. Nobody was ticketed.

It all started when this past Summer the Hasidic community voiced their disgust with the scantily-clad woman riding bikes through their neighborhood and it’s been a battle ever since. There’s a whole back story here on the Gothamist post from today. It’s a good read and covers most of the bases.

There’s an event this Sunday, hosted by Times Up!, to protest the removal of this essential corridor for cyclists. Details are here.