Hail and farewell to calf-powered cabs

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Brooklyn’s chance of becoming a base for a fleet of tricycle pedicabs was dashed this week when the City Council voted to limit the number of the person-powered vehicles on city streets.

The Council’s bill — which caps the number of pedicabs at 325 — was a blow to industry officials who’d dreamed of gaining approval for 500 permits per borough.

“We want to be in Brooklyn,” said pedicab driver Kate Freitag. “But with the [citywide] cap, there [wouldn’t] be enough of us to set up in Brooklyn. We’ll be stretched too thin.”

Other drivers agreed that a critical mass of cabbies would be needed in order to make Brooklyn a viable pedicab hub.

The mayor had vetoed the Council bill in March, arguing that a permit cap was too restrictive. After the veto, pedicab drivers hoped that the mayoral rejection would encourage the Council to expand, rather than limit, pedicabs.

So on the eve of this week’s Council override vote, dozens of pedicab drivers gave free rides across the Brooklyn Bridge to show off the service to reporters (full disclosure: The Brooklyn Paper took advantage of the offer).

Pedicab drivers argue that their muscle-cranked mode of transportation is not only safe, environmentally friendly, but ripe for an expansion to Brooklyn, which is in the midst of a huge increase in tourism. Their sympathizers in the Council agreed.

“It would be wonderful to see a fleet of pedicabs in Brooklyn,” said Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights), who nonetheless voted to override the veto this week. “I think that they would be a wonderful addition to the community.”

Drivers aren’t counting themselves out yet. The industry is preparing possible legal action against the city.

“The fight’s not over yet,” said Freitag. “We might still end up changing their minds.”

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

This week’s featured advertisers