Bike Lane Advocate Booted from Community Board

06/06/2011 1:22 PM |

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Bob Cassara, member of the community board that serves Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, became a cause celebre among southern-Brooklyn cycling advocates when he recently urged the board to reconsider its opposition to a bike lane on Bay Ridge Parkway. After his crusade garnered an article in the Brooklyn Paper, 15 cyclists came to the next community board meeting, and a heated discussion of the bike lane took up a large chunk of its time.

Noted bike lane archnemesis, Councilman Vincent Gentile—who attended a meeting with DOT, after which the lane was off the table—was miffed by Cassara’s continued advocacy of the lane, the Brooklyn Eagle reports. So miffed that Cassara has not been reappointed to the community board.

Community board members are appointed: half the board by the borough president, the other half by the local councilmember. “As many people as possible should have the chance to help shape our neighborhood’s future,” a spokesman for Gentile told the Eagle. “Welcoming new members onto the community board is the best way to achieve that.”

While community boards’ roles are not often more than advisory, they are viewed (by media, by politicians) as representative of their community—the voice of the people. But that’s deceptive. After attending the bike lane meeting, one cyclist advocate marveled to me about how old and white the community board was, especially for a community that was so diverse. (Bay Ridge, for example, has one of the largest Arab communities in New York City.)

Community Board 10 does not represent Bay Ridge as it is. It represents Vincent Gentile and Marty Markowitz, who seem more concerned with packing the board with people who agree with their positions rather than who represent the diversity of the community. When both are so anti-bike lane (one pathologically so), how are a community’s cyclists supposed to get a bike lane?

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4 Comment

  • How are community cyclists supposed to get a bike lane? Elect new council representatives.

  • Looks like another solid job of investigate reporting from a guy that doesn’t even stick around at community board meetings long enough to cover full stories. Hope you don’t get paid fopr this work.

    http://www.thelmagazine.com/TheMeasure/archives/2011/05/17/bay-ridge-parkway-bike-lane-shot-down-by-community-board-again

  • How about if the Cyclists installed digital video cameras on their bikes, and made videos of the stupid things some motorists do?
    What if the videos were used in an attempt to get the drivers licenses revoked?
    Would the Community Board be against a few dozen license revocations?

  • To license a non motorized human powered set of wheels held together by six pipes is a racket and an act of fraud and a further extortion scheme to create another draconian, unconstitutional, illegal, unethical tax with a boot on the necks of everyone who does not drive a Benz or a BMW like the enormous gold collared rich white trash scum from the Upper East side. This community who are virtually all transplants from other states and come from a processed bread communities should not be allowed to drive all the outer boroughs into they’re autocratic dictations. May be they should all take they’re fake money and move to Seattle. I for one will not never cooperate or allow my property or income to be stolen or regulated by the police or a group of rich trash. I believe that it’s time to think about revoking the New York City Charter since all the outer boroughs seem to always fall victim to the trash in the Upper East Side and lower Manhattan in general.