It seems the opponents of the Prospect Park West bike lanes will have their day in court after all. On Wednesday, an appellate division of the New York Supreme Court ruled in favor of an appeal against the August 2011 dismissal of a suit filed to remove the bike lanes.
The fight, led by Seniors for Safety and Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, was brought to court in March 2011 on the grounds that lanes were initially intended on a trial basis, and that the decision to keep them permanently was “arbitrary and capricious” and based on imprecise data.
The opponents also cite the lack of the project’s review by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The Supreme Court originally ruled in favor of the New York State Department of Transportation, stating that the suit had not been filed in time to comply with the four-month statute of limitations. Now that the dismissal has been appealed, the controversy will return to trial.
The PPW bike path, which eliminated one of the three lanes for car traffic on PPW, was implemented in June 2010, inspired by a Brooklyn Community Board 6 request to “study traffic calming measures on PPW”, and backed strongly by the community.
The court documents of yesterday’s decision argue that the results of the “study period” do not warrant the lane’s permanence:
“It is undisputed that the NYCDOT, through NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and other representatives, publicly promised to ‘monitor the effects of the Prospect Park West project on safety and traffic flow for six months’ and to present those findings to the public at the end of the ‘study period.’ The parties sharply dispute the purpose of that postconstruction study, the final results of which were released on January 20, 2011, at a meeting of the Brooklyn Community Board 6 Transportation Committee.”
Though this ruling marks a victory for SFS and NBBL, the DOT believes it will be a small– and ultimately inconsequential– one. The NY Daily News reports:
“We’re confident that the Prospect Park West bike lane is here to stay,” said a DOT spokesman, adding the judges’ decision was based on a technicality. “In the meantime, local residents will continue to enjoy the safety that this community-requested and supported lane has provided every day for the last two and a half years,” the spokesman said.
Have you noticed the effects of the bike lanes since they’ve been installed, and are you happy with them?