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Unhappy Birthday

March 12, 2015

Via Park Slope Neighbors, here’s an ignominious claim to fame from the people who brought you the bikelash: the Prospect Park West bike lane lawsuit was filed four years ago this month.

PARK SLOPE, BROOKLYN, March 9, 2015 – The misguided lawsuit challenging the New York City Department of Transportation’s 2010 redesign of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West marked its fourth birthday this past Saturday, March 7th, to little notice and even less effect.  There was no party, no cake or gifts, and no one bothered to send a card.

Yet while thousands of people ride in the bike path every week, and the combination of road diet and lower speed limit have largely rendered the highway-like speeds of the old PPW a distant memory, the citizens of New York City are still on the hook for the costs of defending a lawsuit that few people realize still looms.

“There are children riding their bikes on the Prospect Park West bike path today who are younger than the lawsuit aimed at pushing them out into the street to mix with cars and trucks,” said Eric McClure, co-founder of Park Slope Neighbors.  “We don’t know if this sets a record for dragging out a frivolous lawsuit, but surely it sets a record for dragging out a frivolous lawsuit against a bike path.”

Sadly, one of the two plaintiffs named in the lawsuit, Lois Carswell, passed away last October, and the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Jim Walden, has moved on from Gibson Dunn to start his own firm.

“It’s almost as if the lawsuit has taken on a life of its own,” said McClure.  “We’re not sure who the lawyer is, or which firm is representing the plaintiffs, or who the plaintiffs even are at this juncture.  No one knows when the next hearing might be.  If any of the so-called ‘Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes’ or ‘Seniors for Safety’ are still paying attention

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4 Comments
  1. BBnet3000 permalink
    March 12, 2015 10:56 pm

    They won by default, just not on PPW itself. The city has slowed down big time building protected bike lanes, besides a few segments adding to existing ones, and there is no talk of closing some of the more egregious gaps that have existed for half a decade or more on 1st/2nd/8th/9th Aves in Manhattan. New York is pretty close to being the major city in the United States with the smallest portion of people cycling, at least by the commuting data.

    We’ll see some more 2-way lanes along natural boundaries (such as Vernon and Flushing Aves) but on the regular street grid it looks darn near dead.

  2. TOM permalink
    March 13, 2015 4:20 pm

    If you look at the record, Mrs. Schumer left the job with more bike lane-miles in place than JSK installed later, and JSK added most of her lane-miles in the early years of her tenure, tapering off at the end. It appears Bloomberg “had her back” but after the “backlash” he held her back. BBnet3000 is on to something. Jeff Speck has voiced his doubts about the numbers and all those cyclists he doesn’t see when in NYC.

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