Eyes on the Street: Minivans Parked All Over Williamsburg Sidewalk, Bikeway

Bike lane? Sidewalk? To these Williamsburg drivers, it's the perfect place to park.

A reader sent in this photo of what looks to be several dozen minivans in Williamsburg parked all over the sidewalk and bike lane on Kent Avenue.

Along this section of Kent, which is part of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, the parked cars blocked both a southbound bike lane and a northbound bike route on the sidewalk.

“Kent Avenue is a very busy street with a great deal of vehicular traffic and the bike lane is there to ensure safety,” Council Member Steve Levin said in an e-mail, adding that he would check with NYPD about the issue. “Obviously, people should not be parking in bike lanes.”

This section of Kent Avenue borders the 88th and 90th precincts. We’ve asked NYPD if the agency has done any parking enforcement here. We’ll let you know if we hear anything back.

  • Jesse

    Oy.

  • Anonymous

    Gevalt!

  • Reader

    It’s not just cyclists who are getting the shaft here. Don’t forget the many pedestrians, including moms with strollers, who walk on this sidewalk. The NYPD is opening tolerating motorist behavior that degrades the safety and enjoyment of all types of people on this long stretch of sidewalk.

  • I used to take this bike lane on a regular basis as a commuter route. The Satmar HQ is right across the street there, and they seem to park like this regularly during holidays. I believe I’ve even seen police helping them out with it sometimes.

    It is pretty crap trying to get around behind the minivans. But the Satmars have a lot of suction with the government.

  • anon

    Tha Satmar’s parking here on holidays? Maybe Christmas and Thanksgiving, but they don’t drive on Jewish holidays. Do they store their cars there in advance? Weird. Looks like a car dealership.

  • Maybe not holidays, but definitely big events of some sort at Satmar HQ. I guess we could ask them on their Twitter, @SatmarHQ.

  • Guest

    The fact the NYPD blatantly picks and chooses who is allowed to openly break the law is one of the most disgusting forms of corruption. And shame on New Yorkers for allowing it to happen!

  • Guest

    The fact the NYPD blatantly picks and chooses who is allowed to openly break the law is one of the most disgusting forms of corruption. And shame on New Yorkers for allowing it to happen!

  • Guest

    How long before a cyclist gets a ticket here for not riding in the bike lane???

  • Guest

    How long before a cyclist gets a ticket here for not riding in the bike lane???

  • mfs

    not every holiday is a cessation of work.

  • anon

    In kew gardens all the no parking sections on the street become parking friday evening to saturday evening, sometimes sunday morning because there are a really large number of disabled jews who spend the night at synogauges.

  • lawandorder

    “…Council Member Steve Levin said in an e-mail, adding that he would check with NYPD about the issue”

    The 90th Precinct knows about the situation and allows it. I know because I was there when this happened a few weeks ago, and 90th Community Affairs were seen talking and laughing with what appeared to be community “leaders” right in the middle of all this. My plea to ticket them was met with silence.

    Drivers also parked in bus stops.

    Levin should inquire w/the precinct commander why NYPD is in cahoots with such brazen lawbreakers.

  • Guest

    In addition to the scofflaw minivans, there’s a vehicle parked on the median, who’s beat is this and why aren’t they fired?

  • Cold Shoaler

    sadly, as with so much ‘infra’ in this city, we’re back to ‘take the lane’. Take. The. Lane.

  • Anonymous

    Fucking fundamentalist religious nut jobs get to use this city as their personal parking lot since they vote in one block.

    Corruption takes on many forms.

  • jesse

    If this happens often TA or some group should just schedule a park(ing) day style event where they just get there before the vans do and sit it out.

  • Colin

    I’ve seen the median strip commandeered for parking here as well during large events, which as you can imagine causes problems for all vehicular traffic through this stretch – cars and bikes. And yes, the police do monitor/assist with parking for these events, so there has to be some official approval from the city.

  • tyler

    The minivan lobby is particularly strong in Brooklyn… though, I am still baffled why.

  • r

    What other laws do the NYPD encourage motorists to disobey?

  • BDB To The Rescue

    Were there three public community board meetings that met and approved this parking lot? Was there an Environmental Impact Statement performed? Were all pedestrians and cyclists using this corridor informed individually that illegally parked vehicles would be blocking their paths? If all of these community participation steps were not undertaken, Bill de Blasio will call for true democracy, just as he did on PPW, when the bike zealots steamrolled the real community. Just send up the BDB signal and he’ll appear.

  • ruby soho

    Slow news day? The bike lane, sidewalk, and a travel lane on Richmond Terrace in SI by the 120th precinct & ferry have had cop cars parked over them consistently for years. Where’s the Streetsblog post for that?

  • anon

    Does anyone else find it spectacularly creepy that they all drive basically the same vehicle?

  • anon
  • anon

    All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again…

    http://gothamist.com/2009/12/08/kent_avenue_bike_lane_blocked.php

  • taliah

    this picture is from Sukkot, I think they can drive then during the week

  • anon

    Soccer Jews

  • Joe R.

    Not really. I see group think at work here. Conformity is everything with this particular sect, and they tend to have large families where a minivan is the most practical vehicle. I would imagine even those who don’t need one buy one anyway just to fit in.

  • JK

    Any reason that DOT can’t install sturdy bollards near the outside edge of the buffer lane? There seems to be plenty of evidence that a dangerous condition is being created. Incidentally, how about T.A. or Vaccaro and White sending some photos of this to Corp Counsel, 90th, 88th Pct and Satmars with a notarized letter notifying them that the city is facilitating the creation of a dangerous condition at this location. Also be good to ask the PD in writing if they are officially sanctioning this parking, and whether they are providing written authorization. Maybe an Art 78 if the cops are allowing this with zero public process. The cops can do this kind of thing in an emergency, but this isnt an emergency. ( Did PD give permits to the Satmarks to park? Event permits?) There are paths beyond standing in the lane 24/7 — if anyone wants to fight this fight.

  • dude

    This extends outside the usual cop flaunting of the law… and if you’re going to mention it, Greenpoint station is one of the worst/best examples.

  • Guest

    This seems like a violation of the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause. I can’t see how a system that is clearly observed and enforced by police power to apply regulations to secular individuals but not to individuals who participate in specific religious activities could ever withstand any legal scrutiny.

    Since the NYPD refuses to do the right thing, it looks like we probably need some federal oversight.

  • moocow

    It happens often.

    While I like your idea, you would probably be called an anti-Semite and/or a terrorist.

  • Andres Dee

    I have connections to the community that likely parked these vans, so I’ll venture some insights and thoughts:

    The minivans aren’t “expressions” or extensions of personality, the way some people treat cars. They’re just a way to move a large family and stuff.

    Though this community has bought into car culture, they also value dense living and “walkability”. A visit to Borough Park or southern Williamsburg on Saturday is a refreshing glimpse of what’s possible when people collectively declare “we can make this trip without the car”.

    There are some holidays when no “work” is done and others when “work” is allowed. (“Work” is in quotes, because it has a legal definition and is not necessarily intuitive. Pressing an elevator button is “work”. Walking 20 flights is not.) People drive on “working” holidays, so these vans would be parked for an event. People do not drive on the Sabbath and “non-working” holidays, in which case the vans would be parked “for the duration”. Some people drive to Synagogue just before the start of Sabbath, walk during the Sabbath (hooray, walking!) and drive home at the end of Sabbath. AFAIK, it’s not common to “camp out” in the synagogue.

    Incidentally, I believe that the 30 minutes before sundown on a Friday, when folks are rushing to get stuff done and cars parked, is “the witching hour”, a bad time to be a motorist or walker in Borough Park or Williamsburg.

  • When they block the sidewalk and the bikeway completely like such gigantic assholes, let’s just block the street in protest. Riding down there to meet up with y’all and block traffic in protest would really be a lot of fun.

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