After five years of back-and-forth, the lawsuit against one of the city’s most controversial bike lanes has finally reached an end, the Brooklyn Paper reports. The suit against the Prospect Park West bike path was finally dropped after the case dragged on for years, with the path’s opponents conceding.
What was meant to be a pilot project by the NYC Department of Transportation evolved over time into a mainstay bike lane. While many locals supported the initiative, the two-way path faced criticism pretty much as soon as it was implemented, with those arguing against it including former Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall and onetime Deputy Mayor Norman Steisel.
Under the auspices of the group Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, they filed a lawsuit against the NYC DOT in 2011, arguing that the data was manipulated and ultimately misled residents about safety issues. The suit was initially dismissed that same year, but earlier this year, a judge reversed that decision, which could have led to the suit moving forward.
But the bike antagonists seem to have given up. "We acknowledge that, for better or worse, and despite the disingenuous means by which we believe it was installed, the Prospect Park West bike lane is here to stay," the litigants said in a press release, adding that they are now focused on making the lane "as safe and effective as possible."
Park Slope cyclists rejoiced after their win. Eric McClure, co-chair of Community Board 6’s Transportation Committee, declared that "their case was without merit" in a statement to the Brooklyn Paper. Streetsblog, meanwhile, was more pointed in his critique:
The fact is Hainline and Steisel set back New York City’s street safety efforts by at least a few years. The bike program survived, but it lost a lot of momentum because of this lawsuit. In some ways, NYC DOT still seems scarred by it and more hesitant to think big about street redesigns.
Yesterday’s NBBL statement is not an apology. It’s a longwinded attempt to save face and maintain the fiction that they sued to erase a perfectly safe and functional bike lane out of a sense of civic duty, not selfishness. It’s their last jab, a final round of misinformation to plant in the news cycle.