Thursday, May 23, 2013
The city has carved out a big hole in its controversial bike-sharing program, ensuring that a bike-hating section of Hasidic Williamsburg doesn't have to participate.
CitiBike launches Monday with dozens of rental kiosks dotting the landscape throughout the gentrified sections of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights and Clinton Hill — but nary a single location in the part of South Williamsburg dominated by Hasidic Jews, who have opposed at every turn the Bloomberg Administration's efforts to increase cycling.
"They put the racks where they are going to be used," said Community Board 1 member Simon Weiser, who hashed out kiosk locations with the Department of Transportation. "Look at the Hasidic community. No one rides a bike here."
It's not just low ridership that created the so-called "black hat black hole" in the bike share plan, but outright hostility to cyclists.
Hasidic community spokesman Isaac Abraham warned of "civil disobedience" if the kiosks are ever placed too close to where the Satmar Hasidim live.
"We will put baby carriages there," Abraham said. "We will make a baby carriage lane."
Satmars shopping recently on Lee Ave. chided CitiBike racks as threat.
"The bike racks are dangerous for pedestrians and children," said Yoeli Klein, owner of ice cream shop Chocolate Wise.
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