Sections

Subpoena: Bike lane backers will have to swear to tell the whole truth

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

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.”

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

al pankin from downtown says:
the bike lanes are seasonal, cars are 24/7...the bike lanes are dangerous and the users of them disregard safety rules...they are a blight. the bikers think that they are a special protected group, they are not.
July 15, 2011, 5:34 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Thanks, Al, for your typically nonsensical comment. The same goes for Georgia Winston.

What complete and utter nonsense. Anyone with one good eye knows that the city's reconfiguration of PPW has calmed traffic, made the crossing safer for pedestrians, and caused a boom in biking. The community board asked for and supports it. It's embraced by the vast majority of neighborhood residents, whether they bike or not.

These anti-community, anti-bike zealots need to come to their senses and quietly go away.
July 15, 2011, 6:01 am
Steve from PPW says:
Natalie, your headline is misleading. Just because Jim Walden subpoenas someone doesn't mean they have to appear in court. The judge will decide if the subpoenas have any validity - since testimony of this nature is unusual in an article 78 proceding it is unlikely that anyone will be forced to appear.

This is pure theatrics. Walden could subpoena Moses, Mohammed, and Jesus but that doesn't mean that they "have" to testify. Walden is manipulating you and the press, and the fact that you lifted Georgia Winston's inane comment straight from the Linda Gross press release shows that you're more PR flack than journalist.

If Walden subpoenaed Obama and sent you a press release, would you simply report it? Why aren't you reporting on the scandal of a Brooklyn College Dean -- Louise Hainline -- using her taxpayer-funded job to lobby political officials to kill a popular traffic calming project? She's in express violation of CUNY policy. Now THERE'S a good local story. She even tried to get Marty Markowitz to write an anti-bike-lane op-ed! I'm sure your readers would want to know about it.

http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/07/14/calling-ppw-redesign-a-pilot-that-was-brooklyn-borough-halls-idea/
July 15, 2011, 7:19 am
M from Kensington says:
We ALL do not follow the rules of the roads. Pedestrians cross against the light, not in the sidewalk, walk in the road, walk in the bike path, and more. Cyclist ride the sidewalks, ride the wrong way on one way streets, ignore stop signs and lights, and more. Vehicles ignore lights, stop signs, speed, and more. If WE ALL followed the rules I would expect that 99% of the issues would be resolved

Point. Crossing against the light, riding on the sidewalk, blowing a red light will only save you 30 seconds. NO your time is not that precious.
July 15, 2011, 7:20 am
Dock Oscar from Puke Slop says:
The bike lanes are awesome. PPW has become less of a Indy 500 Speedway. That being said, yes, cyclists should be better at following traffic rules and aware of pedestrians.

As it stands, Brooklyn (and the rest of NYC) has the worst offenders in any transportation...C'mon, the famous Brooklyn U-Turn in the middle of the intersection???? Yeah, that's good. Pedestrians playing the Passive-Aggressive jaywalk against the light...you know what I mean, They look you straight in the eye as they walk ever so slow...like a dare. Jeeezzz. Everyone thinks that THEY have the right to flout the laws.
July 15, 2011, 7:51 am
Small Carzaplay from Unpleasantville says:
But what does Tal Barzilai think?
July 15, 2011, 8:24 am
mike from GP says:
Yeah, this article leaves one with a distorted sense of reality. I like reading the Brooklyn Paper, but I usually have to double-check elsewhere to get the actual facts of a story.
July 15, 2011, 8:27 am
pedant from brooklyn says:
I think your spell-checker ate "legalese".
July 15, 2011, 8:54 am
boof from brooklyn says:
A traffic light is just another way for cars to slow everyone else down.

Think about it. Who needs traffic lights to operate safely? Drivers. So instead of walking freely, millions of pedestrians are stuck standing around waiting for them.

What a scam.
July 15, 2011, 9:05 am
Thfs says:
Steve is right- the headline is factually inaccurate by stating "will have to" and the Bk Paper got played by a cynical PR move. A subpoena from a lawyer has very little weight compared to a subpoena from the court. Also, the article 78 proceeding, which this case is in, has very limited discovery.
July 15, 2011, 9:12 am
susan from England says:
hey, all, just to let you know, this topic is part of my master's dissertation on promoting urban cycling. I have worked in cycling 13 years and am astounded to read that there is controversy like what is going on in Brooklyn. good luck, hope the bike lane advocates win.
July 15, 2011, 10:01 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Let's declare August first Bicycle Rule Enforecment Week!

Ride the wrong way?

No lights after dark?

Ride on the sidewalk?

Ride with both ears covered with headphones?

Blow thru the lights?

Tickets! Tickets! Tickets!

It's for the children!
July 15, 2011, 11:30 am
Mike says:
Why not save money on Natalie O'Neill's salary and benefits and just reprint the press releases from NBBL verbatim?
July 15, 2011, 11:45 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, you bike zealouts really need to take a chill pill. Also, why is it on every article talking about bike lanes here or talking to those opposed to it, some of you go out on some of the biggest hostilities here? You guys had your say, let them have theirs'. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised if the date really is fudged. I have to agree with al on his claim that bike lanes are used seasonally. Since bicycles don't use RFID tracking, we will never know the true number. As for Bicycle Enforcement Week, where can I sign up to volunteer for that, because I would love to ticket those bike zealouts, who feel that they are above everything?
July 15, 2011, 2:37 pm
Dock Oscar from Puke Slop says:
As a bike rider...not cyclist, I apologize for some of these type a, as in a-hole types. I often yell at them. If you want respect...act respectful.
July 15, 2011, 3:08 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Don't come here and try to give out tickets.

Maybe you can just get the cops to do their job.

http://nyc.mybikelane.com/post/index/17499
July 15, 2011, 7:17 pm
Les from Bklyn says:
Your headline is factually incorrect. Jesus, the Brooklyn Paper and its comments section is truly a cesspool. Please let this publication go down in flames along with the rest of the Murdoch empire.
July 15, 2011, 11:58 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville says:
Oh, and another thing: The bikers think they're so much more zealous than everyone else. Well, I've got a news for you. I'll be there for the ticket sting when the NYPD fudges the data. That'll show Janette Sadist Kong who the zealot is. Since bicycles don't use EZ Pass we'll never know for sure. 9/11 was an inside job. Show us the birth certificate already, DOT. Natalie O'Neill should get a pulitzer. Or maybe Linda Gross should accept it.
July 16, 2011, 12:06 am
Big Lou from West Village says:
Les, your name is perfect for you.
July 16, 2011, 2:54 am
mike from GP says:
Wow, the Brooklyn Paper comments section sure has declined! Way to go Rupert Murdoch!
July 16, 2011, 9:50 am
King Kong Bundy says:
The whole bike lane issue has become about something much larger than biking... Biking has somehow become a symbol for all these other things. Biking is a symbol for Bloomberg’s third term. Biking is a symbol for gentrification or development that we don’t want in our neighborhood. It’s a symbol for neighborhood change, for generational change. It’s become this symbol rather than the fact of the matter, which is that for a lot of New Yorkers biking is simply a practical transportation choice. For a lot of trips it’s a good way to get around New York City. That said, I think Levin should resign.
July 16, 2011, 2:25 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, I wasn't even at my computer at 1:06 AM earlier today, and I do have the possible suspects. Nevertheless, if there is data and stats proving that it's not fudged, I would love to see them, otherwise, I will have to believe that something is being hidden here. If you guys really claim that it's not fudged, then why are you being so defensive? BTW, I don't buy into any report that comes from Streetsblog, which has a strong bias for bike zealouts. On a side note, I don't think that 9/11 was an inside job as that imposter mentioned, though I like the fact that Natalie O'Neill covered this well.
July 16, 2011, 3:58 pm
Resident from PPW says:
Just an observation (these are not facts) from a PPW resident. Yes, the automobile traffic along PPW has calmed down at the expense of double parked cars, backed up traffic, cars weaving in and out of the unblocked lanes. For a driver pulling out of their parking spot in front of a waiting car we apprehensively pull out into merging traffic.

As for the bike lane, yes, it has made traversing PPW much safer. However, I question the utilization. I do believe that public officials stretch the truth to fit their agenda. Yes, there are bikers who use the lane but how many? If NYC built a roadway that is used by a very small percentage of people the public would be outraged.

Bottom line, for the time, $$$ and effort spent (not to mention how ugly PPW looks now) I believe it would be better served if inside the park is reconfigured (without cars) to serve the biking community and re-do PPW (speed bumps, staggered lights).
July 17, 2011, 6:19 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Resident, I am trying to figure that out myself. I have heard from people on the City Room and on the Daily News where they have been looking at bike lanes for most of the day, and hardly see anyone there. At the same time, they have seen many vehicles on the road. I won't be surprised if the data really was fudged and that the bike lanes are only being used seasonly, while being seen as a waste of space the rest of the year. Then again, there were those looking at bike lanes even when the weather outside was good, but hardly saw anyone using them. Louise Haineline has a camera that sees everything there, so she does have video evidence about what's going on. The only time that bike lane ever had a high number is when TA brought their flash mob there, when the rest of the time, it's hardly used.
July 17, 2011, 8:22 pm
DR from The Slope says:
Resident from PPW: we must not be looking at the same bike lane, because I've seen a LOT of bikes on the PPW lane. What I also see, which is welcome, is an almost complete lack of bikes on the sidewalk along the park now. They use the bike lane. I don't have to dodge the bikes while walking on the sidewalk. It's also a lot safer for pedestrians to cross PPW now (how the Neighbors for Frivolous Lawsuits came up with the claim that PPW is LESS safe now is a real head-scratcher).

Streetsblog has done excellent reporting on this whole issue. Thursday, they revealed it was Marty Markowitz's office that tried to convince people this was a "trial" project. It was never a trial project.

http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/07/14/calling-ppw-redesign-a-pilot-that-was-brooklyn-borough-halls-idea/

We won't see a story about that in the Brooklyn Paper, that's for sure. Nor will we see a story about Louise Hainline acting as a lobbyist while on the public payroll.
July 17, 2011, 9:16 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

When was the last time YOU LOOKED AT Prospect Park West?
July 17, 2011, 10:29 pm
Resident from PPW says:
DR, i do agree that people use the bike lane instead of the sidewalk (that is a good thing). However, as I wrote, my observation is that the bike lane is under utilized. After it was built I expected to see a busier thoroughfare (even taking into account the seasonality).

However, if the issue is whether a politician fudged the data to support a pre-determined conclusion, well lets just say it wouldn't be the first time.
July 18, 2011, 4:06 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
@ Resident

Just curious. How many bikers an hour do you need to not be "under utilized"?
July 18, 2011, 4:15 am
ty from pps says:
Resident -- Seriously, it's very busy with bikes. You do realize that bikes are smaller. I'm not saying that to be flip... I mean it. 10 bikes vs. 10 cars. You will say that there were more cars even though there were the same number of people traveling.

Other than rush hours (and I mean about 4 hours per day total), PPW is not very busy with CARS either. It was seriously underutilized as a 3-lane road (causing insane raceway speeds... crossing from the right to the left to get a parking spot was death-defying) and now the road is the CORRECT size for the usage.

You should take a look at the double-parking "problem"... and see how much of it is "avoidable" -- that's your neighbors being jerks. Nothing to do with the bike lane. Can the car actually pull in? Did they double-park *next to* an open spot? Could they have used the loading zones 10 ft away or the wide-open hydrant? Or could they have pulled onto a side street? OR NOT DOUBLE-PARKED!?
July 18, 2011, 8:46 am
Anthony from Park Slope says:
Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes are a bunch of douchebags.

I wish they'd just move out of the neighborhood.
July 18, 2011, 1:29 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
The PPW bike lane has not only multiplied bike riding on PPW, but around the whole neighborhood. Grand Army Plaza, Vanderbilt, Union St., and all the feeder streets w/ lanes are carrying a lot more bike traffic. It's almost like the PPW section was the last piece of the puzzle to make the whole system work. I've even seen elderly people getting out on old Schwinns with the racing stripes and middle age guys who look like they spend the rest of their time watching the game at Timboo's. And with all the bikers speeding cars are down on every street, which is safer for everyone including drivers. I think it's time for the NiBBLers so wake up and smell the coffee. Times have changed and the neighborhood is better for it.
July 18, 2011, 2:10 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, I don't buy into anything that Streetsblog puts up. There is a very good chance that Mark Gorton probably paid someone to come up with that information. The big difference between him and Hainline is that Haineline has not done anything illegal. So what if she lobbies? Doesn't your kind do exactly the same thing? You Streetsbloggers are such hypocrites to this. At least Hainline didn't have a business that illegally dowloaded music as Gorton did with Limewire. As for the claim on Marty, I wouldn't be surprised if it was never to be a trial project, because Bloomberg wants to make sure that everything he places becomes permanent no matter what and even if he claims that he can always remove it when if it fails when he really won't. BTW, the attacks on NBBL for doing their lawsuits is very similar to how DDDB gets attacks for theirs as well.
July 18, 2011, 10:26 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal,

Then actually come to Brooklyn and look at the bike lane
July 19, 2011, 7:26 am
Frank from Furter says:
Another unbiased, well-researched, professional piece from Natalie! Makes ya proud, it does! What a gal! Maybe someday she'll make it to TMZ!
July 19, 2011, 11:02 am
Joe from PPW says:
"I wouldn't be surprised if it was never to be a trial project, because Bloomberg wants to make sure that everything he places becomes permanent no matter what..."

Tal! You're screwing up the case for NBBL! Shhhh!
July 19, 2011, 1:12 pm
Frank from Furter says:
Is always nice when some impersonates you because they obviously believe in what you say but the above "Frank from Furter" is not me and again points out that registration is required. BTW I copyrighted Frank from Furter and this make this a copy right violation.
July 19, 2011, 2:55 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
"Then actually come to Brooklyn and look at the bike lane"

I can always look at the feed from Loiuse Hainline's camera, which happenes to look at that bike lane 24-7 to see how much it's being used.
July 19, 2011, 4:42 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Can you share a link to the live feed?
July 19, 2011, 8:05 pm
Ty from pps says:
Yes -- please share Louise Hainline's footage. I don't recall her EVER saying she would share the unedited footage she has supposedly been filming. I have a feeling she gave up on that ridiculous enterprise when (1) it contradicted everything she was arguing, (2) it was a misuse of her time as a college dean and public employee, and (3) she is slowly realizing she is being very very very foolish...
July 19, 2011, 9:14 pm
Steve from Prospect Park says:
In probably a year of having that camera, all Louise has been able to show is one ambulance using the bike lane. That's it.

NBBL has never been able to stick to one line of reasoning for very long before moving onto their next desperate gambit, have they?
July 19, 2011, 10:24 pm
Resdent from PPW says:
Just some responses:

As for how much utilization is needed to be considered acceptable...... I don't pretend to have an number. However, I am working from home today and as I look out my window, I don't see the bike lane being used that much. I see people, cars, etc... but what I don't see is bike useage.

As for the double parkers, they are the usual city life double parkers (UPS, Fresh Direct, Fed Ex, ambulences, etc.... ). Somehow I doubt this situation will change ever (unless they start delivering their packages via bicycle).
July 20, 2011, 8:46 am
eveostay from p hts says:
Resident from PPW -- the DOT's agenda is clearly to make the streets safer. Fudging data would go against that objective and makes no sense.
July 20, 2011, 8:48 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Can someone explain why Louise Haineline using a camera to look outside her window at the bike lane is a misuse of her job over at her college? How do we know that she is not using this on her spare time? Also, I doubt that the college she works at will fire her just for doing this. As for the DOT, their job is also to help make traffic move more efficiently hence they must to do whatever it takes to make that work even if it means fixing those potholes.
July 20, 2011, 5:20 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
I am on the same page as you, Tal. I used to work for NY State Dept of Education and I don't think that should have prohibited me from being all wrong on my own time.

But I don't think the DOTs job is to just make traffic move more efficiently. I think they should be moving it safely first.
July 20, 2011, 8:41 pm
mike from GP says:
Problem is, it's been well documented by now that Hainline was been wasting her employer's time.

For those who don't know, here is DOT's mission: "Our mission is to provide for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods in the City of New York and to maintain and enhance the transportation infrastructure crucial to the economic vitality and quality of life of our primary customers, City residents."

Notice the emphasis on people, not cars.
July 21, 2011, 1:57 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Now the judge disagrees with your headline:

http://transportationnation.org/2011/08/03/brooklyn-bike-lane-case-no-subpoenas-without-judges-permission/
Aug. 4, 2011, 5:27 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville says:
I have already made my statement on this a while ago. It's not that I have anything against others that want to disagree with me, it was those who have actually attacked for taking a different side from them. It was more like they were like fanatics and extermists rather than just some simple bandwagoner and yesmen in that they were looking for those who weren't on their side and acted as if they were pointing a gun at me to either agree with me or die. Some of them didn't like it when I used facts to disproove them on their statements. Most of them had responded with either some blanket statement that was already mentioned by either the politicians or developers, while others just got very defensive or tried to dodge the question. They felt as if my questions on their attitude was a humilation and hurting their acts of fanaticisim on projects, so they demanded a ban all b/c they couldn't answer it as quickly as I could. Some of them were against bringing up some projects or other issues up for a debate, b/c they were afraid that they would have nothing to rebuttle with other than what they started with. As for the statement on Joe the Plumber, I am not for the status quo of taxaition based on income, which he is. I had actually heard what he mentioned, and he claims that the progressive tax motives are a punishment to who he claims are climbing up the social ladder, which I don't believe. I am tired of the rich getting away with so many tax breaks making those with a lower income pay more. Therefore, your reference of using that on me is wrong on all levels.

On a side note, Other Michaekl and other poeple that don't seem to like those such as myself who can disproove their statements with actual facts where they are just throwing talking points that I can easily refute. These are people who believe that it's the weapon that makes them stronger when in fact that isn't always true. Eventually, they will come to a point where even their own weapons can't save them. The truth is that it's not the weapons that makes the person stronger, it's the one who uses them. An example of someone who had to learn it the hard way was King Phillip II, who was the king of Spain, when having the Spanish Armada against England's Queen Elizabeth I in 1588. Before then, Spain was said to have the most powerfull navy at the time especially when they have sailed to numerous corners of the globe in conquering lands. Many of thought that trying to fight the armada was asking for a tombstone b/c of how powerfull they were. However, the fleet was not prepared for the English Channel, and their ships were too big for a body of water with such a low depth for them. Although the English fleet had smaller ships, it was easier to get by and with the cannon, they didn't even have to board the enemy fleet but just fire from their own. Some of those who helped fight for England in that battle included explorers such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Franciss Drake managing the fleets. As Elizabeth walked out on the cliffs of Dover, she saw the armada on fire in the humiliating defeat on Spain. It showed that even the greatest had their demise. How it relates to my point is that some just can't seem to take it when someone can find a way to poke holes in their statements by finding facts and other stats that disproove theirs' when they don't even come up with anything to back them except for repititions. Also, the reference of the Spanish Armada is to show that even the greatest can just be human at sometimes in that nobody is invincible and there will always be a clink somewhere in that armor.
Aug. 12, 2011, 12:49 pm
Daquan13 from East Boston says:
Tal, why do you contenue to post all this stuff about wnba and ratner and the twin towers? You don't even live in Brookline, you don't even life in NYC. "Until you loose a few extra pounds, stop attacking bike riders. they are keeeping in shape and not polluting. You are basically acting like an uncorigibal miscreant and worthless cancer-causing puke!!

I am a supreme fan of Gary Coleman!

-Tannis Baker
Aug. 13, 2011, 8:24 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!