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Neighbors for Better Bike Lane Files Appeal

February 13, 2012

If it’s winter, it must be another Neighbors for Bike Lane attempt to sue the bike lane off their street.

Here’s Gibson Dunn attorney Georgia Winston, quoted in the New York Observer yesterday:

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 2011—the lane was repeatedly described as a ‘trial,’ including by the lane’s most fervent supporters.

(Either Winston is quoted incorrectly or she meant to say that the Prospect Park West bike lane was described as a “trial” during the fall and winter of 2010, not 2011.  NBBL filed their lawsuit in March 2011.)

Here’s Louise Hainline, in an August 25, 2010 email [PDF] to Marty Markowitz’ chief of staff Carlo Scissura:

Can you fill me in on what was said or not said by DOT about the matter of this installation being a trial? I’ve look 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.

In the same email Hainline goes on to say, “At this point, all we have is second or third hand accounts of the existence of some kind of trial.”  In a sworn affidavit DOT’s Josh Benson states that when he heard a representative from a local legislator’s office claim that PPW was a “trial project,” he “immediately corrected this publicly by stating that the PPW Project was not a trial project, but that after its installation it would be monitored with adjustments made as deemed appropriate.”

With the Prospect Park West Bike lane quickly approaching its two-year anniversary as a permanent and popular fixture of the neighborhood, and with none of the doom-and-gloom scenarios predicted by NBBL having come to pass, who knows what will happen with NBBL’s appeal and their new PR push.  The biggest difference between the winter of 2011 and the winter of 2012 is that today the public–and NYC’s law department–has access to emails which poke more than a few holes in NBBL’s bombastic claims.

I’ve joked before that NBBL’s complaints and PR maneuverings amount to little more than claiming, “I’m rubber and you’re glue” but Transportation Alternative’s Michael Murphy does me one better in describing this recent shot across the bow from Iris Weinshall and company “the legal equivalent of ‘Nuh uh!’”

UPDATE: Mark Muschenheim of the NYC Law Department issued this statement: “We are confident that he trial court’s decision in our favor will be upheld on appeal.  The popular bike path continues to enhance the safety of all who use Prospect Park West.”

  1. February 13, 2012 5:48 pm

    What is wrong with these “people”?

  2. February 13, 2012 6:16 pm

    It sounds as if in New York people take the same tolerant attitude to cyclists that I describe in this blogpost: . More power to whatever-you-need-extra-power-to to deal with this nonsense. People simply can’t deal with cyclists being different. It stirs something in their guts. Everybody needs to learn to calm down about it.

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