A friend of mine in Brooklyn Heights pointed out a sign circulating that seems to allow parking in the bike lane On Henry Street near the First Presbyterian Church at Clark Street. As I'm sure you know, parking in a bike lane extremely dangerous, forcing cyclists into traffic, and without a doubt is always illegal. So, when I heard of this sign posted, I assumed it was simply false information.
However, another friend of mine who sits on CB2 told me you actually came to the meeting and spoke about the issue the other night, describing a 'compromise' in which church-goers can park atop the bike lane and on the sidewalk without fear of ticketing from 10:30am till 1pm every Sunday. He specifically described your response as supportive because 'the choir members are coming from long distances and can’t walk.'
I am trying to reserve judgment until I hear from you directly, but if this is indeed true then I am devastated by your position. This is not a compromise at all. The only time the bike lane is regularly blocked is those exact hours of worship. It has been a recurring problem for years and puts every rider in danger. It is especially disheartening considering four pedestrians have been killed in the past week, and your decision to put the desire for close-parking ahead of safety is just staggering. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer released a report studying bicycle infrastructure in the city and discovered a mind-boggling blatant abuse of bike lanes and their enforcement. He appropriately called for swift changes; your support for this 'compromise' is the exact opposite.
I am baffled why parishioners of this church must park so close to the door. The 2/3 station at Clark street is just a few steps away. Many buses stop within a few blocks of the corner, including the B25, B26, B38, B41, and B52. As this is in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn, there are hundreds of metered spots which are free and clear every Sunday just a block or two away. If a church-goer cannot walk more than a block to the door, then let them be dropped off in front in a carpool (or with Access-a-ride), and then the most able-bodied driver can look for parking elsewhere.
No worshiper's freedom of religion should also be freedom to break traffic laws and endanger me while riding. And realistically, if these parishioners are driving to services then they are not your constituents. I do not understand why you'd put the safety of your constituency ahead of those driving in from elsewhere.
I know you care about transportation needs in your home district. You've thrown rallies to fight bus cuts and fare hikes, and introduced a bill for residential parking permits (which I bet these parishioners driving from elsewhere would not be eligible for). Though you spoke up only at the end, and with reservation, you supported congestion pricing and have long agreed with me that the Verrazano should be returned made two-way again to prevent congestion in our neighborhood. So, I am simply baffled how you can understand the city's transportation ills on a macro level, but not at all realize the message you're sending by supporting drivers parking in a bike lane.
Please explain your position to me, as I am simply dumbfounded. I am glad to have survived a hit and run by a reckless driver two years ago, but shudder to imagine a similar, or perhaps even more severe, fate for others on the road because of blatant bicycle lane abuse.
I look forward to your response, and will be following up with phone calls to your office.
Dave 'Paco' Abraham