Ikea Fights Red Hook Bike Lane

red-hook-bicycles-0610.jpgCan’t we all just get along? Today brings yet another bike controversy to the fore. This one’s in Red Hook, where Ikea has clearly calculated that it’s entrenched enough that it no longer has to play nice. The Swedish megastore is fighting a plan by the Department of Transportation that would eliminate one lane of southbound car traffic in order to install a four-block long bike lane on Columbia Street from Bay Street onto Halleck and Beard. It seems dangerous to officially encourage bikes to the front of Ikea, store manager Mike Baker said at a Community Board 6 meeting on Thursday night. In addition, the retailer threatened to back away from certain promises it made back in 2008 as part of being allowed to open. “If the … traffic management elements constructed and funded by Ikea are going to be modified … then Ikea is not responsible for impacting or remedying the vehicular flow in Red Hook.” Noah Budnick from Transportation Alternatives raised the same question we have: Ikea has enough enemies as it is in that neighborhood, I don’t know why they would stand up and oppose a safety project.
Ikea to City: No Bike Lanes! [Brooklyn Paper]
IKEA Plays Hardball to Block Bike Lane [Gothamist]
Photo by bitchcakesny

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  • Why does Ikea have enemies in that neighborhood. Wasn’t it just an industrial wasteland before??? I though everyone loved Ikea. I’ve never been there.

  • You should go and have the $1 meatball special! If you don’t see it on the menu, just ask! In fact, here’s the cheapest date in town. Drop take the family for a dinner of meatballs, then leave the kids at the day care facility, and go for a walk on the promenade.

  • Seems my prediction has come true that Mr. B will now be posting a Bike Lane Thread of the Day as long as stories like this keep getting 200 comments a day. All this one needs is a red light and little child trying to cross in front of the cyclist without the helmet who is swigging water.

  • Manhattanite, you forgot to add that you can also get free transportation to Ikea from Borough Hall! Talk about a cheap date. Only drawback is, unless one is an exhibitionist, one may be hesitant to get hot and heavy with one’s date in the back of the Ikea bus.

  • Love how Ikea looks, love the jobs there, waterfront access that has never existed since about 1800 CE, Mike Baker good guy folks….

    i drive to fairway past there all the time, when is it ever car crowded around there like everyone predicted, i have NEVER seen it…

    maybe Sat or Sun at 5? never there then….
    can anyone send a photo of car crowds anywhere around there?

    bikes are booming, get used to it

    i should be on one too! way too fat and always have my cat with me….

  • Why would Ikea care about enemies when it already has what it was after?

    Anyhow, this looks to me like an attempt to disclaim liability for the first time someone in a bike lane gets clipped by a rented U-haul picking up some Poang chairs or Billy bookcases.

  • Ikea will soon be on board and selling flat-pak Glubooeringen personal bike lanes.

  • yeah this is getting old, seriously ahhahahahah

    but im sure this thread will have 400 posts by noon.

    Bikers (i refuse to call them cyclists): “waaaaaaaaaah the whole world is against me” get over yourselves.


  • “Bikers (i refuse to call them cyclists”

    That’s because you’re language challenged. Or you’ve never been to a bikers bar.

  • somehow I think that photo of bikes in front of Ikea may have been some special TrannieAlternative bike ride past wkend. I doubt very much that you really see that many bikes around there. I think plenty of streets around there that have little traffic to bike on;

  • Hey, this one has all the makings of another great thread:
    Evil Big-Box Chain Store where fat, materialistic, Americans consume stands in the way of a green bike lane.


  • I’ve been to a biker bar but never to a cyclist bar.

  • “I don’t know why they would stand up and oppose a safety project.”

    They believe it will cost them $.

    “Seems my prediction has come true that Mr. B will now be posting a Bike Lane Thread of the Day as long as stories like this keep getting 200 comments a day.”

    He knows it will make him $.

  • The car/cyclist brawlers from the last few days should be exhausted by now. (I have an image of an emergency room at 4:30 am filled with tired, hungover, wounded bar brawlers…..)

  • I have been riding my bike down there for years with no bike lane, the street is good enough. Plus all along Ikea is pavement to ride all along the water.

    I ride for the enjoyment of excersiese and scenery, I am not into racing, just a nice relaxing liesurley ride. I do not need a bike lane.
    the streets there are not really that busy that is not really that dangerous.

  • It sounds to me like Ikea doesn’t want to keep the promises it made (whatever they were, I am sure they cost money) in order to get the zoning variances they needed and/or the tax breaks they got to build in Red Hook.

  • “The car/cyclist brawlers from the last few days should be exhausted by now.”

    I don’t think so. I’m sure they have plenty of fight left. Which reminds me…is that Wimbledon match over?

  • I think we need a “slow” bike lane so folks with the tricked out 3-wheelers can do their profiling roll (ie I aint in no hurry going somewhere; just showing off the wheels here)

  • I used to ride down to Red Hook on a regular basis. Bike lane really isn’t needed.

  • Yeah — like rf is hinting at, I don’t think this has NOTHING to do with bicycles. This is IKEA trying to wiggle their way out of a deal they brokered. If the DOT changes the traffic pattern anywhere *near* Red Hook (in any way), then obviously IKEA doesn’t have to do anything they promised to do.

    Bunch o’ douche bags. It’s too bad I love their meatballs and $8 side tables.

  • DH, are you seeing more & more of those 6 foot tall bikes? I’m seeing a bunch of them in my area. was wondering if that has any benefits or just dudes getting bored and wanted something different

  • They are basically a cry for attention, m4l.

  • News flash: the RH locals that fought Ikea don’t ride bikes. old diesel Mercedes-Benzs, yes. Volvo & Audi station wagons, yes! Minis, yes! VWs of all shapes and sizes, yes! pick-up trucks with “welcome to Red Hook, now get out” bumper stickers, yes. Bikes, not so much.

  • by the way… “I don’t think this has NOTHING to do” was meant to read “I think this has NOTHING to do” :-)

  • “DH, are you seeing more & more of those 6 foot tall bikes? I’m seeing a bunch of them in my area. was wondering if that has any benefits or just dudes getting bored and wanted something different”

    I’m not sure what exactly you mean, but I used to see this guy riding up Lorimer St that had 3 bike frames welded together. He must have been 10 feet up in the air (couldn’t stop, obviously)

    I asked a friend what was up with it and they said apparently there is some club that does super high bike jousting. Hipster scum.

  • By dirty_hipster on June 24, 2010 10:48 AM

    ….. Hipster scum.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • DH, modified frames where the gears and seat are higher than usual. I think the seat is around 6 ft from the ground. the only benefit I saw was they can look over cars to gauge traffic

  • m4l — and fall really far. These modified bikes are stupid… but they don’t get my ire up like recumbent bikes do.

    Please tell me why it is a good idea to ride around at an invisible height, not to mention at a height where you can’t see anything?

  • so much for this idea coming to ikea brooklyn…

    “Danish IKEA Intros Fleet Of Trailer Bikes To Get Those Flatpacks Home”

  • I occassionally see those crazy bikes going over the Brooklyn Bridge. All I think about is that if they fell over they would end up in the middle of the car traffic below, and that would suck for them.

  • It’s bizarre how popular Ikea is with young liberal hipsters. It’s the most non-green company ever. Disposable furniture destined for landfill within 5-10 years of its purchase. This bike-lane opposition goes right along with that.

    I do like Ikea for vases, candles and napkins.

  • Only 33 posts? looks like the bike wars have run out of steam. Or pedal power.

  • “It’s bizarre how popular Ikea is with young liberal hipsters.” — just jump in there with some stupid generalization.
    and BTW – I’ve had plenty of IKEA stuff for more then 10 years.

  • As someone who drives to Red Hook pretty much every week, I’m not sure that IKEA isn’t right to be concerned. IKEA shouldn’t fight the bike lane but — if one is created — it needs to be combined with road widening and/or other traffic flow improvements. A lot of traffic bound for IKEA turns left off Bay onto Columbia, right by the Added Value urban farm. The road is narrow and strangely marked. Then there’s a sharp right hand turn onto Halleck, directly in front of IKEA. It’s a mess now and I see a lot of cars getting confused about which lane they should be in. Add a bike lane, and there will be more confusion.

    Frankly, the signage added to the streets to help drivers find IKEA — and especially the lines drawn on the asphalt itself to direct traffic — are totally inadequate. Huge improvements could be made without major cost, just by adding more/better signs.

  • They need to get rid of that stretch of cobble stones between Ikea and Fairway.

  • Are bicyclists required by law to stop at red lights and stop signs?