The two-way protected bike lane on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg is one of the best bikeways in the city, but every so often it’s occupied by a phalanx of illegally parked cars. It’s never been a huge secret that the cars belong to the neighborhood’s Satmar Hasidic community, which gets to appropriate the bike lane with the tacit approval of NYPD during big events. Neither has it been out in the open much. Last week, though, an account affiliated with the Satmars openly flaunted the arrangement on Twitter.
The account thanked the 90th Precinct for allowing angled parking on Kent Avenue between the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Clymer Avenue for the wedding of the grand rabbi’s granddaughter. Streetsblog retweeted it, and whoever runs the account pulled the tweet after it started to draw more unwelcome attention.
It wasn’t the first time @HQSatmar has tweeted its gratitude to the 90th Precinct for allowing illegal parking on the strip:
— Satmar Headquarters (@HQSatmar) December 13, 2015
— Satmar Headquarters (@HQSatmar) April 8, 2015
— Satmar Headquarters (@HQSatmar) December 1, 2014
Tonight Tuesday “Major Speech” by Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron @ Main Satmar Shul 14 Hooper/Kent angle Parking only on Kent from BQE/Clymer
— Satmar Headquarters (@HQSatmar) April 10, 2012
We reached out to the 90th Precinct to find out how often NYPD allows illegal parking on the Kent Avenue bike lane, and why. We have not heard back.
One would hope that the bike lane, which is a preliminary section of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, would be enough to warrant 24/7 enforcement of cyclists’ right of way, but evidently that is not that case. If the city actually pulls off its proposed Brooklyn-Queens streetcar, which is slated to run along the same blocks, illegal parking on Kent Avenue could bring the line to a screeching halt. Would NYPD still allow this to happen?