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Defending the Prospect Park West bike lane isn’t cheap – Brooklyn Paper

Defending the Prospect Park West bike lane isn’t cheap

0.15 miles of Prospect Park West will open to Pedestrians May 4.

Bike lane foes are wasting taxpayer money by dragging out a lawsuit over the world’s most talked-about strip of green paint, cycling activists claim.

The city has already spent more than $140,000 on legal fees to defend the Prospect Park West bike lane, according to documents obtained by The Brooklyn Paper. And now that the cycling path opponents working under the name Neighbors For Better Bike Lanes are appealing a court case they lost last summer, the city can expect to shell out even more cash on lawyer fees — a fact that infuriates neighborhood bike boosters.

“It’s an outrage,” said cycling advocate and lawyer Mitch Sonies — who thinks citizens shouldn’t foot the bill for defending a lane that has the support of the community, according to a survey.

“[The appeal] is not going to change the outcome; they’re just trying to make more noise,” said Sonies.

The lawsuit, which last year earned international headlines, argued that the bike lane turned the peaceful street into a danger zone for pedestrians and demanded it be removed.

It also alleged that the city’s Department of Transportation fudged data to make the lane seem more successful than it really is.

Jim Walden, a lawyer for the bike lane opponents, says critics of the Prospect Park West path have the right to appeal — and the case is more than worthy of one — because they aim to expose a government agency of wrongdoing.

He described criticism of the appeal as Kafkaesque.

“This is America,” said Walden. “Get real.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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