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Central Park West bike lane can proceed—for now, judge rules

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A judge shot down a motion to block work on the protected lane by residents of an Upper West Side condo board

A bike rider cruising along one of the city’s protected bike lanes.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge gave the city the go ahead on Wednesday to build a protected bike lane along Central Park West.

Justice Lynn Kotler denied a motion by an Upper West Side condo board to put the brakes on bike lane work. Members of 25 Central Park West’s residential board seek to block the protected path, arguing in a suit filed Tuesday that the city has not done its due diligence in studying the bike lane’s impact—and subsequent loss of parking—on the neighborhood.

But the judge shot that argument down and is allowing the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to move forward with work on the bike lane set to run between 59th and 110th streets. That’s at least until the city and the plaintiffs return to Kotler’s courtroom on August 20 to debate the lawsuit’s merits.

Transportation officials are eager to get to work in the wake of the city’s uptick of this year’s bike rider fatalities.

“We are grateful for the judge’s decision today that will allow us to move forward with a design that will transform Central Park West this summer, and make our streets safer for everyone,” said DOT spokesperson Scott Gastel.

On Monday, the city’s 18th biker of the year, 30-year-old Em Samolewicz, was struck and killed by the driver of a commercial tractor trailer while riding on Third Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, according to the NYPD. The city is on pace to more than double the 10 cycling deaths that happened in all of 2018, with cycling injuries also on the rise.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has called the trend a “crisis” and last week unveiled a new $58.4 million, five year bike safety plan dubbed the “Green Wave” that will install 150 miles of protected bike lanes and push a host of bike-friendly policies.

“With so many lives being lost this year on our roadways, and with the broad support of the community, we are confident that we will ultimately prevail in our efforts to build this much-needed protected bike lane,” Gastel continued.

The Central Park West bike path will come with a seven-foot buffer and plastic posts separating riders from traffic on the bustling road. Manhattan Community Board 7 requested the change after 23-year-old Australian tourist Madison Jane Lyden was struck and killed there by the driver of a private trash hauler.