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Brooklyn's Park Slope is the best place to live in New York City. New York magazine says so. But the recent installation of a two-lane bike path on Prospect Park West has pitted neighbor against neighbor, motorist against cyclist. Any hopes the controversy would simply fade away were dashed earlier this week when neighborhood advocacy group Better Bike Lanes--led by Iris Weinshall, former city transportation commissioner and wife of Sen. Charles Schumer---filed a lawsuit against the city in State Supreme Court.

As usual with hyperlocal feuds, nobody involved the debate has come off particularly well, even when they're trying to make light of the situation. Among our favorite pieces of heated bike lane rhetoric

  • "Bicycles are a danger. They are silent killers,” -- Alfred Ingegno, Park Slope resident
  • "I view the Bloomberg bike-lane policy as a classic case of regulatory capture by a small faddist minority intent on foisting its bipedalist views on a disinterested or actively reluctant populace." - John Cassidy, The New Yorker
  • "When you cross the street children often break from their parents and there is a danger that a cyclist won’t see the kid in time — or a senior citizen!" - Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough president
  • “I am a senior, and [the bike lane is] the only safe place where I’m not spinning my head like ‘The Exorcist’ to see what’s coming where." - 62-year-old bike rider Michele Finley, to the New York Times
  • "If you have a bike lane in the park, why do I have to have another bike lane in the street? And they follow no rules, the bikers don't follow rules. I got hit by a bike and ended up going to the hospital because they don't follow any rules. And yet, we have to have two lanes for them?" -- Jean, Park Slope resident
  • "Interpreting a lack of traffic lights as a “design flaw” comes from a mindset of the need for maximum control of the public, preferably technological control, to avoid being held personally responsible for one’s actions. It harks back to an earlier era, where fear of the “other” drove people into isolation in the suburbs, or at least into the protective surroundings of their cars. That era is over. There is no longer need for control. Give people a chance to adjust to their new surroundings, and couple that perhaps with some education. Everything will be fine." -- Boris, commenter at pro-lane blog Streetsblog
  • "I served in the army in Europe! They all ride their bikes the right way. They're very cautious over there. Here, I have to look both ways! Even with the walk sign! Twice I was almost hit crossing with my grandson." - Tony Srour, Park Slope resident
  • "The first Battle for Brooklyn was fought in 1776 between colonial forces and the British....The second Battle for Brooklyn was fought to try to stop theRatner arena on Flatbush and Atlantic and his attempt to gobble up all of downtown Brooklyn's real estate....The third Battle for Brooklyn, the Great Brooklyn Bike War, is still picking up steam." -- Alan Singer, Hofstra university social studies professor


(Photo courtesy of Steve Vance's Flickr)

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