Screeeeech… Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes Appeal PPW Suit

121295003 Screeeeech... Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes Appeal PPW Suit

Keep on rolling... for now. (Getty)

It may not be the best weather for cycling, but the Prospect Park West bikelash is heating up again.

On Friday, Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, the cleverly named community group opposing the lane alongside Prospect Park, appealed an August decision in Brooklyn Supreme Court not to hear its legal challenge against the city. The group still contends that the bike lane was an experiment, a trial never completed with community consultation, one that persists without community support—despite widespread polling and surveys to the contrary.

Now add to that the issue that, in the appellants’ view, the court dismissed the prior claim by using the experimental timeline when Justice Burt Bunyan ruled that the case could not proceed because the community groups waited too long to file their claim after the lane was installed in the summer of 2011.

“We filed our suit well within the appropriate time frame,” attorney Georgia Winston said in a press release. “The lawsuit clock started running only after the Department of Transportation made a final decision to permanently install the lane, in January 2011.  Before that—throughout the summer and fall of 2010—the lane was repeatedly described as a ‘trial,’ including by the lane’s most fervent supporters.”

The group still wants its day in court, and is hoping the Appellate Court will provide it, so that it might perform discovery—something Justice Bunyan forbade repeatedly during the prior case—and thus prove the apparent conspirings of the city, local elected officials and bike zealots. “We still want to have a full hearing on all the issues raised by the DOT’s failure to conduct a proper safety study and collusion with pro-lane advocates,” Ms. Winston said.

Update: Michael Murphy, communications director for Transportation Alternatives, points out the timing of the appeal, which coincides almost to the day with the initial suit a year ago, during the doldrums of winter, when local media is almost as slow as traffic on the bike lane.

“It’s like complaining about the cost of a school cafeteria in July,” Mr. Murphy said. “It’s clearly a well-oiled publicity machine they’ve got going on, but it’s become a sad joke at this point.:”

He said the group’s appeals has nothing new to it and is “the legal equivalent of ‘Nuh uh!'”

Meanwhile, one city official said the appeal had no merit, adding that “We’re confident the city will prevail. Again.”

Update 2: “We are confident that the trial court’s decision in our favor will be upheld on appeal,” Mark Muschenheim, a senior counsel in the city’s Law Department, said in a statement. “The popular bike path continues to enhance the safety of all who use Prospect Park West.”

mchaban [at] | @MC_NYC


  1. As2077 says:

    These few entitled wackos on PPW need to give it up already. Bike lanes are here to stay, and supported by the vast majority of the public.

  2. Community Member says:

    Louise Hainline, August 25, 2010 in an email to Marty Markowitz’ chief of staff: “I’ve look [sic] at everything I can find Sadik-Khan or her people have said
    about this bike lane and can’t find anything that indicates they
    publically said the installation was only a trial.”

    The PPW bike lane was always meant to add a permanent change to the street to fix the speeding traffic and make it safer.  The only people who seem to have used the word trial were Hainline, Weinshall, and Jim Walden.

  3. Eric McClure says:

    Meanwhile, back in Reality, where five years of public process went into the PPW redesign, and the full Community Board or the Board’s transportation committee voted in favor of the project on at least four separate occasions,  the PPW bike path continues to enjoy overwhelming popularity, and Prospect Park West is safer than ever.

    According to the most recent NYPD Motor Vehicle Accident Report (December 2011), there were just five reported crashes on PPW, and in the three in which a “Contributing Factor” was noted, one was due to “following too closely,” another due to “failure to yield right of way,” and  the third was chalked up to “driver inexperience” and “passing or lane usage improper.”  Nary a mention of a bicycle.Speaking of, more than a year and a half after the bike path was put in, there hasn’t been a single NYPD report of a pedestrian injured by a cyclist.  Not a one.

    This is the biggest non-story of 2012.

  4. Louise says:

    Hi. I have lots of money, free time, live next door to a senator and his wife, have little patience with community meetings and the public process, and I’m easily annoyed at how hard it is to park my car in Park Slope.  How do I join this lawsuit?

    1. Matt Chaban says:

      Keep your money. The case is being handle pro bono, you’ll recall.

      1. Neighbor for Better Neighbors says:

        I’d imagine it takes a lot of money to retire from a CUNY job, like Louise Hainline, and devote yourself full time to fighting your community from one’s perch at 9 PPW.

         And if you think Gibson Dunn is taking this case on out of the goodness of their hearts, I have a bike lane on Prospect Park West I’d like to sell you.

  5. moocow says:

    I was riding on the PPW path late Saturday, it was snowing. and windy cold. I was always in sight of someone- in crap weather, it is a haven for quite a number to travel on. (If you are new to this issue, a cyclist would not be traveling on PPW on the roadbed without the Lane,  you would most likely be on 7 or 6th with the double parking, U-turning speeders.  The PPW Lane is a sanctuary from needless and carelessly operated cars.) 
    But this lawsuit isn’t about that is it? it’s about “how” things are done. Who’s permission gets asked even though their permission is a non-issue.
    NBBL’ers are a  bunch of nasty asocial dinosaurs.

  6. get a life, gibson dunn and dork clients!