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12/16/2009: "Bedford Avenue: Brooklyn Cycling Advocates Morph into Donald Rumsfeld?"
A brief backgrounder:
NYDOT striped bikelanes recently on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, which street passes through a very conservative neighborhood of Hasidic Jews.

The Hasids complained, claiming (speciously) that they should not be subjected to "scantily-clad cyclists."

Said Hasids could of course just not look, which is the accepted technique among Hasids in Los Angeles, where for much of the year nearly all women, not just cyclists, parade around scantily-clad. But no, they bullied the city to remove the stripes (which will not remove the cyclists, of course), and the city cravenly agreed.

Brooklyn cyclists clandestinely repainted the stripes, and the city removed them again.
Bad situation so far, yes? One that calls for meetings of the minds, negotiation, etc, right?

Well, apparently not: apparently it calls for Donald-Rumsfeld-like in-your-face arrogant cluelessness, as some half-wit in the hipster haze of Brooklyn decided that the best way to make a bad situation far, far worse was to plan a naked bike ride down Bedford Avenue!

Nice way to solidify the opposition and alienate your allies in the city government, the neighborhood itself, and among actual, effective NGOs.

Read all about it on the Gothamist blog.

Cyclists will still use Bedford, of course; they are as much stakeholders as the Hasids, and have as much right to the street. But they've just added enemies, rather than gained allies, in their quest for more bicycle infrastructure in NYC. Here in LA many Hasids travel by bicycle; a little respect might just have gotten Brooklyn's brethren on the cyclists' side, or at least quieted their opposition.

Incredibly stupid move.... Hope it's too cold for them to pull it off.

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