The city has won the Prospect Park West bike lane case, as a judged tossed a lawsuit by opponents who claimed that the Department of Transportation improperly installed the controversial cycle path last year.
The suit was rejected on technical grounds, with the judge ruling that the suit was filed too late.
This is a breaking story, so for now, all we have is the city press release and the judge’s ruling. Click back later for the full story, but for now, here’s the “news” from the city perspective.
CITY PREVAILS IN PROSPECT PARK WEST BIKE CASE; DECISION PRESERVES BICYCLE PATH REQUESTED BY THE COMMUNITY
SIGNIFICANT VICTORY FOR THE CITY AS BROOKLYN JUDGE FINDS LEGAL CHALLENGE BY PLAINTIFFS UNTIMELY
The Department of Transportation prevailed in the Prospect Park West bike path case late today, allowing the project — which was installed in response to community requests and concerns — to remain unimpeded after Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bert Bunyan dismissed the main causes of action brought by the petitioners.
“This decision results in a hands-down victory for communities across the city. The plaintiffs have been dead wrong in their unsupported claims about the bike path and Department of Transportation’s practices,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “This project was requested by the community, they voted repeatedly to support it, and their support has registered in several opinion polls. Merely not liking a change is no basis for a frivolous lawsuit to reverse it.”
“We are very pleased that the Court rejected the petitioners’ challenge. The bike path enhances the local community, helps mitigate speeding on Prospect Park West, and makes the road safer and more accessible venue for everyone,” said Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo of the Law Department, whose office litigated the case on behalf of Department of Transportation.
The city had argued that the installation was entirely proper and that the path was always represented as part of a permanent “street calming” project for Prospect Park West, a thoroughfare where cars often sped and bike riders rode on the sidewalk. The project was initiated after members of the community raised safety concerns. The proposal was revised multiple times with input from the community and was implemented after substantial analysis.
In its arguments, the city also asserted that the legal challenge was commenced too late, because the plaintiffs had exceeded their statute of limitations. The Court noted, “The threshold issue is whether petitioners’ bikeway claim is timely.” Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bert Bunyan found it was untimely.
The plaintiffs argued that because the decision to install the bike lane was temporary, the time to challenge it had not begun when the lane was installed. The Court rejected that argument and found that in fact the decision to install the bike lane was meant to be permanent.
“We are gratified that the Court dismissed the main causes of action and found no evidence that the bike path was meant to be temporary. This important project can now remain unimpeded,” noted Senior Counsel Mark Muschenheim of the Law Department’s Administrative Law Division.