Two city officials who backed the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane could be forced to testify in a lawsuit that alleges that they fudged data to make the cycle path appear more popular than it really is.
This week, lawyers served Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn and Councilman Brad Lander (D-Park Slope) with subpoenas compelling their testimony.
“[They] can bike, but they cannot hide,” said Georgia Winston, a lawyer for Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, which sued the city to remove the controversial path in March.
The lawsuit claims that the city manipulated data to prove that the bike lane — which was installed in place of one lane of car traffic last summer — gets more use than it really does.
It also alleges that the project was supposed to be temporary and that the lane made the busy street more dangerous for everyone — although the Department of Transportation has long trumpeted it as a safety success.
That’s part of why the city’s legal team is fighting lane opponents’ most recent legal move, which requires Lander and Sadik-Kahn to show up in court on July 20.
“We will move to quash the subpoena — and are confident that our motion will be granted,” Mark Muschenheim, a lawyer for the city. “We believe that after a review of [documents] the court will support the city’s actions.”
If you believe recent surveys, neighbors already do.
In one survey prepared by Lander and Councilman Steve Levin (D–Park Slope), 54 percent of neighbors said they like the bike lane the way it is; 24 percent said they just want small configuration tweaks.
Lander is on vacation. A spokesman said, “We’re not going to comment for now.”
Even so, cyclists were quick to defend him — and the city — saying no amount of legalize will prove the bike lane is anything but a booming success in the neighborhood.
“It’s widely embraced,” said Mitch Sonies, who organized a ride to show support in April. “Most of us wish they’d drop the lawsuit and just let everybody enjoy it.”
©2011 Community News Group
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