Jim Walden: Bike Advocate
Jim Walden is back in court, this time using his
stand-up comedy talents legal acumen to fight a Citi Bike rack in SoHo:
“Funny, you have a duck, and you know it’s a duck because it walks like a duck, it talks like a duck, it introduced itself as a duck, and it’s wearing a T-shirt saying, ‘I am a duck,’ with a corporate logo emblazoned on it,” Walden said, extending the metaphor, “This is not a cow.”
The courtroom, packed with activists who oppose the rack’s placement in Petrosino Square, a triangular sliver of parkland between Lafayette and Centre streets just south of Spring Street, erupted in laughter.
Measuring less than a third of an acre, Petrosino Square is “a park that is too small for cycling,” Walden told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern.
The park has traditionally been used to showcase art installations.
Walden argued that the fee structure — which allows free rides for subscribers cycling for limited time periods — is geared toward commuters, not bikers out on joy rides.
How a judge may rule in this case is anyone’s guess, but I’m not concerned. Walden may win this battle, but he’s already lost the larger war. Why? In 2010 his pro bono clients argued that because few people use bikes for transportation the Prospect Park West bike lane should be moved inside Prospect Park. But fast forward to 2013: cycling has grown so much that the infamous lawyer for Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes is using the fact that bikes are for transportation as an argument against putting a bike share station in a park.