Friday, May 18, 2007


As I mentioned in an addendum to the last post, the DOT plan to add bike lanes (and a left turn lane) to 9th St. was passed by the community board. That's not to say it went on without a fight. Previously, the plan had been brought up to CB6 by the DOT and, after complains from 9th St residents, was sent back to the DOT was further discussion by the board. The forum I went to happened because the DOT sent the proposal back to CB6, along with the distinct impression that everyone opposed was being a bit irrational. I have to say, I am apt to agree. I have never been to a community board meeting, but never have I seen such rancor, such flat-out contempt, as I saw among the residents who opposed it. The first voice of opposition (and the first speaker), I was sure, was going to be kicked out of the proceedings. I can't even remember what the question was (only questions were allowed, no statements, though people sure found ways to sneak the latter in, on both sides), she was so loud and rude. She interrupted the DOT speakers numerous times, attempted to ask follow-up "questions" (also not allowed), raised her hand, despite being told that everyone would have a turn to ask a question before they allowed a second round and generally made a nuisance of herself. Though there were some exceptions, I found the divide to be extremely generational. Almost guaranteed, if a speaker started out with 'I am a 9th St resident, I've lived in Brooklyn all my life/50 years/etc', the next words were an opposition to the plan. There seemed to be a distinct seperation between "old brooklyn", which did not want the plan and "new brooklyn", which did. Though there was the occasional agitated cyclists, the group that did themselves the most disservice were the opposition. One accused the co-chair of the CB6 of playing favorites, only choosing pro-plan people to speak, claiming a conspiracy. Another, the appalling highlight of the night, said..and I quote:
"So you have a plan! You know who else had a plan? HITLER!"

No one in the room, even most of the opposition, knew how to respond to that one.
Yes, adding a left turn and bike lane, it's just like systematically killing Jewish people. It's exactly like that!