Sunday, July 25, 2010


I'm disappointed in my neighbor (who I don't know). Walking home today down Carroll Street, I came across a bike with a grammatically-challenged letter taped to it:

The letter is from our councilman, Steve Levin. It reads:

Under the councilman's signature, in thick black marker, the neighbor scribbled "PLEASE REMOVE YOUR BIKE FROM THE FRONT OF MY HOME."

This letter is especially galling because there is not a single bike rack on Carroll Street. If this biker can't lock his or her bike to this sign (or one like it) what is he or she to do?

And why does my neighbor care so much? Shouldn't we be making a bigger fuss about how much space is given over to street parking? Or double parking? Or how much traffic and pollution is generated by searching for parking? (Here's an idea: establish a "NO-CRUISING" zone to crack down on drivers who circle around the block in search of a parking spot). It's hard enough being a biker in New York City: do we really need to make bikers' lives harder by enlisting our councilmembers to enforce a law that, if regularly enforced, would make biking next to impossible?

Anyway, it's hard to imagine a reason why a bike locked to a traffic sign would bother someone so much. Why is a sign inoffensive when it benefits cars, but offensive when it benefits cars and bikes? It's hard not to think of RESIDENTIAL PERMIT PARKING here, which Margaret Crawford wrote about for our IABR installation. Something else that comes to mind: FIRE ZONES (which I wrote about earlier on this blog), and FIRE HYDRANTS, which you sometimes find a surplus of on beach-front blocks. All of these weapons are weapons that restrict access by prohibiting parking. All three create a "resident's only" environment in places that are otherwise public.

However, why someone would want to exclude bikers from Park Slope is beyond me. Does it have something to do with the Prospect Park West Bike Lane?

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