Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Activists Overthrow Dekalb Bike Lane Dumpster - Call for the CIty to Do Something about Cars or Garbage Dumpsters in Bike Lanes Ride

Displaying IMG_1020.jpg
This writer before a group of cyclists moved the
garbage dumpster out
of the bike lane at 
Dekalb and Classen.
Photo by Dulcie Canton
The usual view of the Classen and Dekalb Bike Lane

Early Monday, a group of us met for our second bike lane liberation ride.  The reality of the streets of New York is that cars block countless streets along the thousand miles of bike lanes extending through the five boroughs of the city.

We met at Jay Street and Myrtle.  Cars were parked all along Jay Street. There several other members of the Public Space Party joined the ride.  A few of us conducted radio interviews before we started riding.

Josh and Dulcie and other friends from PSP. 

“We get no respect,” Dulcie lamented. “Its like Rodney Dangerfield. We are doing this to save lives.”
“There have been eleven deaths since Halloween,” she explained, asking us to attend the Ride of Remembrance this Sunday at noon at City Hall.

The point of the action was to ignite a conversation  with the police and others that their actions count.

“It sends a message,” noted Josh Bisker, another ride participant. “This is a reminder to police.  We are not asking them to punish people.  We are asking them to remind people to act responsibly.”

Riders are asking the police to set an example that laws matter, not demonstrate selective enforcement of laws they do or do not prefer.

Carrying signs declaring “If You See Something, Say Something about Cars or Even Garbage Dumpsters in Bike Lanes” we rode out to the corner of Dekalb and Classen, where police park every day, along with their garbage dumpster.

Displaying IMG_1017.jpg
Displaying IMG_1017.jpg

Riding into the space, sure enough the front of a police car stretched across the bike lane.  And it was not alone, several other police cars, and two garbage dumpsters clogged bike lane, extending from Brooklyn.

“Cops in Bike Lanes” we declared, warning other cyclists riding by.

Photos Dulcie Canton

“Every day,” several noted.  Cyclist after cyclist confirmed the point, swerving away from the police car into just the kind of speeding cars that hit Canton.  Police cars have been blocking this bike lane since 2008.  And the police have little to say about it, except that they want their own parking spaces.  

The intersection of Dekalb and Classon is also the home of the 88th Precinct.  We saw a few police walking inside and asked if they had a minute to talk with us.  Two walked inside without acknowledging our question.

“Is this a police matter?” asked another one.
“Yes, it has to do health and traffic laws.”

She walked inside.  We saw several police inside the vestibule, looking out at us. After a few minutes, out walked two police who warned us not to block the egress to the building or we would be arrested.  Several of us asked about police blocking the bike lane.   At this point, the police began to raise their voices, noting they really did not care.  "If you block this you will be arrested!" they screamed at us.  Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect at its finest.

"They (the police) apparently care about obstructions but only from one point of view," noted Josh, laughing.  "That was me being threatened with arrest for asking about a police matter." 

Walking out, we rode up to the dumpster which has long sat on the bike lane.  A few of us gave it a push, to try to get the dumpster out of the lane, which we eventually did.

"Proud to be a streets ‪#‎activist‬!" gushed Josh.  "Down with the Dekalb Dumpster! Here is me, Benjamin Heim Shepard and others from Public Space Party moving this giant obstruction from the middle of the bike lane in front of the NYPD's 88th Precinct, where it has sat for months if not years despite vocal community outcry and repeated requests that the city make this essential thoroughfare safer for cyclists and drivers by simply moving the dumpster. Hopefully this dangerous spot is a bit safer thanks to our strong arms and spirit -- although the bike lane here is still horribly glutted with police cruisers and private, police-owned cars, as are the sidewalks around it.

"Moving that Dekalb dumpster out of the bike lane with our bodies, " noted Josh "great image...everyone hates that thing being there, and months of arguments about it came down to us using our shoulders to move it. And either a cop or someone who was working at the precinct yelled "fuck you, you're an asshole" at us... Unreal."

“If you move the dumpster, that can damage the cars,” the two police declared, clearly annoyed at everyone.

Unlike the week before, there was very little interest in engaging in a conversation. 

So, we rode to the corner of Schermerhorn and Hoyt, where the whole bike lane is filled with cars.
Many are trying to get parking spots for social services but the police are no longer there. Looking at the cars in the one hour parking there, Josh noticed most of them seemed to be police, parked there all day, pushing the social services clients or families to double-park in the bike lanes.

"The police could take public transportation to work like other New Yorkers," noted Josh.

Standing there, countless people walked up to us to talk.
“The police do not care,” noted one man.
“No one is above the law,” I followed.
We’ll keep the morning rides going.

"The ride was spectacular --" Josh recalled.  "lots of engagement with folks on the street, lots of interesting skirmishes with the police."

And remember, if you see something say something about cars or dumpsters parked in bike lanes!
We'll be back next Monday at Jay Street at Myrtle at 9 AM.  Join us!  Please feel free to post signs for other spaces where police block bike lanes.  It is up to us, the people to remind the police that no one is above the law. 

No comments:

Post a Comment