One quaint block of Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights has become the latest bitterly contested front in the city's bike lane wars. For years now, parishioners at First Presbyterian Church have been given illegal parking placards by the church, which they place inside their cars when parking in the bike lane during services. Local police have always looked the other way, but back in December, Heights resident Peter Kaufman finally snapped, and posted an epic video of the weekly bike lane block on his blog, Ink Lake. We've always believed that an indignant blog post is all it takes to effect change, but in this case it seems nothing happened!

The Brooklyn Paper followed up with church leader Rev. Stephen Phelps, who argues that without the bike lane parking he'd be left with empty pews. "Churches would fail if they could not allow the driving public to come near," Phelps tells BP. "The police recognize that churches make extraordinary contributions to the community. [DiPaolo] basically confirmed that this is a long standing practice. While we are really interested in the question of reducing the use of cars and supporting bikers — we see this as an acceptable cost, and they agree."

Mark DiPaolo is the 84th Precinct captain, and he won't talk about the bike lane brouhaha with the Brooklyn Paper, or with us for that matter. The Henry Street bike lane is one of the oldest in the city, dating back to the '70s, but the church has it beat by about 150 years, having first formed in 1822. It's a relatively low-traffic Street, but it's narrow, and when the bike lane's blocked, that "means that a parked car puts you right into moving traffic," says Wiley Norvell, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives.

A rabbi at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue on nearby Remsen Street defends the church's use of the bike lane, but cyclists say it's unpardonable. "Why should they get special treatment putting cyclists at risk?"cyclist Rob Hall wants to know. "Every time a cyclist has to go off a bicycle path in order to avoid a double parked or illegally parked car, it puts both cyclists and motorists at risk. A person in a car is not going to expect to see a bicycle out of the lane."