[Op-Ed By Yossi Gestetner]
This might not come as a surprise to some, but NYC Boss Bloomberg is basically playing Jewish voters for fools, mainly those living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It gets even funnier considering that some of those voters think that The Boss actually gave in to their demands.
Here is the (long) story:
Bicyclists in NYC are not permitted to ride on side-walks. Instead, they have to ride with the traffic on the streets, which put them in danger of being run over by wild NYC drivers. To make it safe for them, Boss Bloomberg’s DOT placed bikelanes all over the city; a lane designated for bike riders. If a motorist blocks such a lane, they get ticketed within minutes.
To better understand where these lanes are, let’s take the one-way Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg area: on the right-hand side, there is ample space for cars to be parked. Then there are two lanes for motorists, followed by a bike-lane which is approximately two feet wide, and to its left side, there is space for cars to park. The bike-lanes are noticeable due to solid white line that run to each side of them, in addition to markings on the road which show that it is designated for bicyclists.
Jewish voters in Williamsburg don’t like the lanes for two reason: 1) Whereas in the past one had the option of passing other cars on the far left, and to just sit in a car, doubled parked a few minutes, waiting for a friend to come out of a Synagogue, the current bike lane made these things illegal. (Maybe it was always illegal, but it got strongly enforced only when the bikelanes were placed). 2) Most people in Williamsburg believe that designating official bikelanes, invites not-so-modestly dressed riders to ride by that part of Brooklyn, a thing that is understandably not welcome by the Jewish community.
Mostly due to reason number two, local leaders started putting pressure on City Hall that the lanes be removed. Days before the November elections, voters were told that the lane is indeed coming down. To my surprise, it did happen: in the final days of November (sometime last week), DOT trucks moved into to area, scratched off the lanes, and Williamsburg voters are still extremely happy with the fact that Bloomberg gave them what they asked.
It was indeed something special that Boss Bloomberg made this move, but then I thought ‘sure Bloomberg gave this up. He reduced school vouchers by 30%; increased the price of traffic violations, and recently raised again property tax. Yet, the main thing what he heard back from Williamsburg voters was bike-lane, bike-lane, and bike-lane. If so, why should Bloomberg NOT do as they ask?’ Bloomberg is still laughing thinking how he got thousands of votes just for delivering on a bike-lane, while raising taxes, etc.
This is what I thought until Friday night Dec, 4. Someone pointed out to me that while the solid white line which once ran along the left side of the bike lane was scratched off, the other line, the one to mark the right-side of the bike-lane, is still intact. Motorist dare not swerve left on Bedford or perhaps just sit double parked on the left side of the road because they will cross a solid white line, which is illegal, as far as I know. In addition, bicyclists will continue to ride on Bedford because of the solid white line which still separates them from the motorists’ left-lane. Furthermore, a big chunk of Bedford’s Jewish area still has the full baked-line altogether.
In total: Bloomberg is the one who put up the bikelanes in the first place. After raising taxes and increasing ticket prices, voters are told that the bike lane is coming off. When it does come off, it is only part of the Jewish Bedford Avenue. Furthermore, the places where the line is “erased” still has a line intact, which means bikers still have their designated space, and drivers can still get a ticket if they block a solid-white line. Best of all: the voters think Bloomberg provided them something major.
This is indeed called; “Playing voters for fools.”
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.
To read more from and about Yossi, visit www.yossigestetner.com.
(Yossi Gestetner – YWN)