Lawsuit rolls on: Bike lane opponents appeal Prospect Park West ruling

The Brooklyn Paper
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Update (Feb. 14, 6:05 am): Story updated to include new information about the bike lane’s installation.

Like a bike with no brakes, the fight over the Prospect Park West bike lane just keeps rolling.

Opponents of the controversial lane are appealing a judge’s decision to dismiss their case because they filed it too late, claiming the bicycle route should have been considered a “temporary experiment” — putting them well within legal time limits.

Bike lane foes working under the name Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes are reviving their lawsuit against the high-profile bike lane, arguing that last summer’s ruling by a Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bert Bunyan was “legally and factually erroneous” because he failed to consider the lane a “trial project.”

The city started installing the bright green bike lane in June 2010 and says it began considering the path a permanent street fixture that same month. But politically connected bike lane opponents claim it only became a fixed part of the streetscape in January 2011.

That seemingly small fact could push back a court-mandated four-month cut-off date for filing lawsuits against government agencies — giving new life to a case filed by bike lane critics in March 2011, lawyer Georgia Winston claims.

“The lawsuit clock started running only after Department of Transportation [installed it] permanently,” said Winston, who filed the brief on Friday.

The lawsuit — which last year earned international headlines and fueled rifts amongst Park Slope neighbors — alleged that the bike lane turned the peaceful street into a danger zone for pedestrians. It also claimed that Department of Transportation fudged data to make the lane seem more successful than it really was.

In August, Bunyan dismissed the lawsuit based on legal minutia — but also noted parts of the lawsuit were “without merit.”

Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes now contends the judge “committed errors” and that the ruling “should be reversed.”

The argument might hold up in court, but it still makes plenty of bike-riding neighbors roll their eyes.

“It’s like arguing about contraception: it’s already here — and everybody’s using it,” said bike-boosting neighbor Mitch Sonies. “They should get a life.”

Longtime cycling advocate Eric McClure was disappointed by the appeal.

“It’s kind of sad,” he said.

The city expects to trounce bike lane critics in their appeal.

“We are confident that the trial court’s decision in our favor will be upheld on appeal,” said Mark Muschenheim, senior council for the city’s Law Department. “The popular bike path continues to enhance the safety of all who use Prospect Park West.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:30 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Stu from PPW says:
The bike lane is not controversial. It is hugely popular, has been from the beginning, and has only gotten more so in the ensuing 1.5 years or more since it's been in.

If it's so dangerous and terrible, where are the accidents? Deaths? Injuries? Congestion? None of what NBBL predicted has come true. Hainline and her pals lied repeatedly about a lack of community input and should not be trusted in the slightest.

They even knew long ago that they probably missed the filing deadline and that their case lacked merit.

At least Natalie is accurate about one thing here. NBBL isn't for "Better Bike Lanes." They are "Bike lane foes" against all bike lanes.

Sad indeed.

Louise Hainline is pathetic. Iris Weinshall, too. But you'd think Chuck Schumer had better things to do with his time.
Feb. 13, 2012, 5:56 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
"The argument might hold up in court, but it still makes plenty of bike-riding neighbors roll their eyes."


I walk across PPW and drive on it a lot more than I ride my bike. It is safer all three ways.

Safer and easier to cross when I walk and a calmer drive.

These " Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes" are just upset because things change.
Feb. 13, 2012, 5:58 pm
Neighbor from PPW says:
I think the Brooklyn Paper should host a debate. Have Louise Hainline or Iris Weinshall on stage debating Eric McClure. Force these people to stop hiding behind expensive lawyers and talk to the community directly.

If they are so confident that their case has merit and support among the community, then surely a representative from NBBL would be willing to state her case publicly. If the bike lane is dangerous, don't they have a duty to state their case, clearly and with data, to their neighbors? Clearly they haven't made a good case so far, so perhaps they should be given the opportunity to really warn their neighbors about what's happening.

What say you Brooklyn Paper? How 'bout a debate, moderated by Gersh or Natalie?
Feb. 13, 2012, 6:05 pm
Hannah from Park Slope says:
One could only think of how this, money, energy, and effort could have been directed to real and serious problems. This lawsuit is about rich people trying to impose their will and their desires on others. These people have too much money and no thought for others. Have the names of the members of this group bring forth this lawsuit been investigated? It seems some sidewalk protests in front of their homes might be called for.
Feb. 13, 2012, 6:05 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I wish the best for NBBL on this. I still find it wrong to place lanes on streets that hardly get used for the year compared to the regular streets that are there more. BTW, many of these members live right by the bike lane and see it all the time, so what they are saying is what they saw with their own two eyes. For the record, I did make a visit to this bike lane back in December, and hardly saw any bicycles there compared to the number of cars on the road, not to mention that there were even more pedestrians on the sidewalks than using that bike lane. On a side note, I think I saw someone I knew for the AY there on that day.
Feb. 13, 2012, 6:56 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- Did you also notice that there was PLENTY of room for the cars? And that the cars were driving in a more reasonable manner and speed? And that the crossing distance for pedestrians is much shorter? And that the bikes (and there are many) that use the bike lane now have a safe place to travel (both south- and north-bound?

Hmmmm? Did you notice any of those things?
Feb. 13, 2012, 7:41 pm
G from Bklyn says:
Here's what you can see with your own two eyes on PPW. No congestion and no need for three lanes of car traffic.

This is about a bunch of people who find that it's now slightly more inconvenient to park their cars than it used to be. They don't care about other people's safety so long as they can drive without care.
Feb. 13, 2012, 7:45 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
The only "trial" is the one that a handful of self-deluding malcontents and their pro malo attack-dog lawyer (read this New Yorker story to see how Gibson Dunn rolls: keep dragging the taxpayers through. Even lead plaintiff Louise Hainline admits the bike lane was always and forever considered a permanent fixture:

"I’ve look [sic] at everything I can find Sadik-Khan or her people have said about this bike lane and can’t find anything that indicates they publically [sic, again] said the installation was only a trial.”
-Louise Hainline, August 25, 2010, in an email to Marty Markowitz's chief of staff.
Feb. 13, 2012, 8:10 pm
Brooklynite from Park Slope says:
So, now the case is about proving Kings County Supreme Court Justice Bert Bunyan "committed errors." Amazing. Not even judges are safe from the Gibson Dunn slander machine.

I guess this case became too much of a loser and embarrassment even for the utterly shameless Jim Walden so he handed it off to his poor associate, Georgia Winston.

I feel sorry for you, Georgia.
Feb. 13, 2012, 10:10 pm
Geck from PPW says:
Even if they prevail on the statute of limitations issue on appeal (good luck with that), they would still have to establish that DOT was arbitrary and capricious in putting in an bike lane that was requested by the community board and has calmed traffic without created congestion, shortened crossing distances, virtually eliminated sidewalk bicycling and provided bicyclist a safe and appealing place to ride North and South, and made the street safer for all users. Sad indeed.
Feb. 14, 2012, 9:27 am
Steve from Brooklyn says:
Iris Weinshall, please go away.
Feb. 14, 2012, 9:29 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Now imagine what it would be like if bikers were model citizens and policed themselves, chastizing bikers with bad practices like riding on the sidewalk, blowing through lights, riding the wrong way, or wearing headphones, and riding without lights at night!
Feb. 14, 2012, 9:39 am
Mike says:
Now imagine what it would be like if drivers were model citizens and policed themselves, chastizing drivers with bad practices like parking on the sidewalk, blowing through lights, backing up the wrong way, or talking on cell phones, and driving without lights at night!
Feb. 14, 2012, 9:50 am
dean from park slope says:
I drive PPW almost every day. both pre and post bike lane. seems to me cars travel faster now ( as in too fast) than they did, unless, of course there's a delivery truck, or someone double parks. Then it can be very congested, at least temporarily ( that never happened pre-bike lane). And there are definitely less parking opportunities with the lane in place. My general perception is that there is not a high level of use of the bike lane ( of course I'm not standing there counting bikes, just seems that way to me most of the time).
Can't speak to the pedestrian or cyclists experience
Not really for or against, just my observations.
Feb. 14, 2012, 9:53 am
adamben from bedstuy says:
or: imagine if car drivers did that? come to my nabe and try to get people to chastise car drivers for blowing through red lights, stop!
Feb. 14, 2012, 9:55 am
S from PPW says:
There are about 20 fewer parking spaces than there used to be. Meanwhile, in the past two years the population of Park Slope has grown and grown by leaps and bounds. So if it's harder to find a parking space, it has more to do with Park Slope's gentrification and popularity than a measly bike lane.

Dean, if someone double parks, that's not the bike lane's fault. That's the driver's fault. Call the NYPD and have them enforce the law. Better yet, advocate for dedicated loading zones so that Fresh Direct trucks and UPS vans don't have to block traffic when they make deliveries.

Go out to PPW most of the day and you'll see that even the car lanes are under used.
Feb. 14, 2012, 10:03 am
Crawford from Park Slope says:
When will these crotchety wackos go away? We Park Slopers like this bike lane!

Stop being so selfish! At the very least, stop hiding behind your fancy lawyers and publicists. The VAST majority of local residents want the bike lane.
Feb. 14, 2012, 10:13 am
ty from pps says:
Since Louise Hainline is no longer a dean at Brooklyn College, she must have a lot (more?) time on her hands to create imaginary problems. If she hadn't made the irrational decision to take on this absurdist crusade, would she even notice the bike lane?
Feb. 14, 2012, 10:29 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
adambenand mike

Because drivers DON'T police themselves, they are required to be licensed, insured, and policed.

They can LOSE their license, be denied insurance, or have sky-high insurance rates, and are ticketed when the POLICE inforce the law.

If bikers police THEMSELVES, they may never face the above.

If they don't, they have only themselves to BLAME.

Reading comprehension is possible for you too!
Feb. 14, 2012, 10:41 am
Geck from PPW says:
Bikes do not weigh thousands of pounds or travel at high speed. They pose a small fraction of the threat of damage or injury to others that motor vehicle's pose. It is called physics. Anyway, bicyclists are policed and many bicyclists already have other insurance that covers them when they use a bicycle.
Feb. 14, 2012, 12:17 pm
Jacob from Clionton Hill says:

No one polices themselves. That is a ridiculous assertion, except in tiny insular communities where everyone knows everyone. Drivers are required to be licensed not because they don't police themselves. Drivers are licensed because the widespread operation of motor vehicles has caused and continues to cause an ungodly amount of congestion, pollution, injury and death each year. Licensing and registration provides an extra measure of control on something with so many negative externalities. The same simply cannot be said of bicycles, which produce many positive externalities, such as reduced pollution, reduced congestion, reduced noise, fewer injuries and deaths, and improved mobility. People who ride bicycles are subject to the same laws as cars. It is enforcement of those laws that causes people to obey the law, not licensing or self-regulation. For instance, double parking is not well enforced and hence we have a double parking problem, despite then fact that (nearly) all drivers are required to have a license and registration. I'm all for more enforcement of the law for all street users, including better enforcement of automobile laws, with enforcement aimed to protect lives and safety.

I have absolutely no idea, though, how this factors into the Prospect Park West debate. Should we remove sidewalks until pedestrians stop jaywalking? Should pedestrians have to prove that they deserve a safe place on the street? Should we license pedestrians? No. Why then are you making the same arguments for cyclists?
Feb. 14, 2012, 12:25 pm
KillMoto says:
"They can LOSE their license, be denied insurance, or have sky-high insurance rates, and are ticketed when the POLICE inforce the law"

Nice in theory. Let's see it applied. There were 3 hit-and-run vehicular homicies in NY in the last week - so much for licensing and registration. There were hundreds of New Yorkers killed in the last year by motorists - more than those killed by hand guns. Only a small minority of those motorists are even charged with a crime, let alone convicted.

You probably comprehend everything you read. I recommend you read up a little on the death toll caused by motorists, and the near complete lack of accountability for same.
Feb. 14, 2012, 1:45 pm
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
I bike the lane about 10 times per week on the way to somewhere, and there is always someone else doing so, even in winter.

That wasn't the case last winter, but the lane was intentionally left blocked by snow for weeks on end last year.

As for licensing, I believe a higher class license, as for a truck, covers you when using a smaller vehicle, like a passenger car. So based on my motor vehicle license, I've been "licensed" as a cyclist for 34 years. So have many others. I'll bet there are more unlicensed motor vehicle drivers riding around than unlicensed adult cyclists.
Feb. 14, 2012, 1:47 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
"No one polices themselves. That is a ridiculous assertion, except in tiny insular communities where everyone knows everyone."

Never been in a European bike lane have you.

Stand by for the high-chair pounding and weeping and wailing when the bikers have to face the law.
Feb. 14, 2012, 2:04 pm
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
Larry Littlefield
you cyclists are so quite when you make up little fibs about yourselves like you are licensed or that you don't have to stop for red lights. What color is the sky in your world?
Feb. 14, 2012, 4:47 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
"As for licensing, I believe a higher class license, as for a truck, covers you when using a smaller vehicle, like a passenger car."

Sorry to shake your faith, but it does not - motorcycles and scooters are smaller.

Don't try to drive one with a class A drivers license.
Feb. 14, 2012, 5:42 pm
J from PPW says:
Good to know that Or and Swamp Yankee are the best bike lane foes can come up with.
Feb. 14, 2012, 6:05 pm
scott from park slope says:
Prospect park west is safer all around now. Cars used to slalom across 3 lanes of traffic at close to 50mph trying to score green lights all the way from GAP to Windsor Terrace. Pedestrians, especially the scads of kids here, used to risk their lives to get to the park. And the risk of getting run down wasn't only on PPW, because those speeders would bank into the residential streets that radiate from PPW at high speed and threaten to clip pedestrians crossing there.

Now cars roll along at a much safer 20mph and enjoy continuous greens all the way, cyclists are safe on the excellent path, and families can get to & from the park safely. Everyone who is not crazy or obsessed by their niche agendas can see that. It's time we voted Iris Weinshall and her enabler Chuck Schumer off the island.
Feb. 14, 2012, 6:13 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
For the record, nobody here that opposes this bike lane including myself was sent here by NBBL, at least not me. I am opposed to this on my own. I could easily say that those who support this are part of a group of paid supporters just like for the AY complex where supporters were on Ratner's payroll. I don't see why a bike lane is needed for PPW when there is already one in Prospect nearby. I find it an irony whenever you bike zealouts claim that use motorists should follow every letter of the law when most of you never do so yourselves. I actually follow the rules more times than all of you put together. If you believe that laws are so important, then start with yourselves before going to others, and if you don't, then you have no legtimacy on such claims. When it comes to congestion, bike lanes actually increase them, not reduce them, which is probably what I am going to say at that event tomorrow over at the MCNY on finding ways to reduce congestion in the city.
Feb. 14, 2012, 6:15 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

you make me laugh, thank you.
Feb. 14, 2012, 7:50 pm
mike from park slope says:

May I ask what you are doing here, if you weren't "sent" by NBBL? You live in Pleasantville, which (last I looked) was in like Westchester or something.

Don't you have some issues to insert yourself into that actually pertain to you?
Feb. 14, 2012, 9:11 pm
Mark from Red Hook says:
I commute to work by bike. Saves me $104/mo on transit fees and provides some nice exercise as I am a desk-sitter. It has changed commuting from the worst part to the best part of my working day. The bike lane network has made riding in the city much, much safer and costs the public almost nothing. In an era when public services are being rolled back, it is nice to see some positive change.

My fear is that if one section of the bike lane network can fall to an irrational lunatic with deep pockets, there will be a domino effect. Therefore, I fight to protect the PPW lane as though the whole city depends on it....

So long as cyclists and pedestrians continued to be maimed by absent minded drivers and a road design that encourages unsafe conditions, I shall fight on....
Feb. 14, 2012, 10:38 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
I echo Mark's comment. Cycling to work is great. When I started I was worried about New York drivers, especially cabbies, car service, and ambulettes, taking me out. And sharing the road with those guys is hairy, but once you reach the dedicated bike lanes it's pure joy. You notice more of your surroundings on a bike, so it's a great way to explore the city and see new things between point A and B on your commute. It's also good exercise you might not otherwise find the time to do; after doing it for a couple months I had dropped 25lbs years of gym exercise couldn't get rid of. Lastly, it's faster than taking the subway. And you save money. What's not to love?

And it seems to me that for every person that gets out of a car and onto a bike for their commute, the better traffic gets for people still driving. Die-hard drivers ought to be encouraging more people to bike instead so their own commutes get better.
Feb. 15, 2012, 1:19 pm
Mike says:
Or: NYPD wrote about 50,000 tickets to bicyclists in 2011. Since when are they not policed?
Feb. 16, 2012, 10:22 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
"Don't you have some issues to insert yourself into that actually pertain to you?"

I can be involved in whatever I choose to be in. You have every right to disagree with me, but you have no right to say what I am not not allowed to be involved in just because you don't like it. It's not like I am stopping you from taking your side, so cut it out already. BTW, I said some of the things abut how cyclists like yourself act over at the MCNY last night at the event involving gridlock and congestion, and many applauded me on that. On a side note, I did get another of my pro-Towers letters on Sunday's Daily News. Overall, I don't hate those that want to use a bicycle, I just don't think that it's worth the money to place lanes for them that they won't be using all the time, and if you don't believe me, then just talk to the people who are always looking at them. Again, one of the members of NBBL actually has a camera that looks at this very bike lane, and she uses the very videos to prove that it's not used much.
Feb. 16, 2012, 6:24 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- You can keep *saying* these things, but it doesn't make them true. Go stick your head back up your bum.
Feb. 16, 2012, 8:07 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, you need to get your mouth washed with soap to make sure that all the insults come out of you.
Feb. 16, 2012, 10:12 pm
Daquan13 from Bensonhurst says:
Tal, I think you are totally flat-out insane. Pro-towers? as in Twin Towers? TEN YEARS AFTER THE FACT and with the freedom tower almost finished? Stick to the WNBA where you might have the smallest chance of making converts.
Feb. 17, 2012, 10:18 pm
pete from park slope says:
Lived here over 20 years; The bike lane works.
Often on PPw there are no cars for a while either.
Both North and South slopes have more people now,
so yes, parking is harder, but it has nothing to do with the
bike lane, and every biker is less oil used, and makes
it better for car drivers etc.,so I think a lot of New Yorkers
have to change their attitudes about bike riders.
Also, bike riders are obeying the stop lights more.
I neither drive or bike, so I think I do have an objective point of view.
Feb. 18, 2012, 10:37 am
Mustache Pete from Fort Greene says:
I've learned to relax about Tal. Don't let him get to you. He's nothing but a paper tiger on the Webs, spreading his little hatreds and hiding from life in his parent's basement in Pleasantville. I doubt he's never even been to Prospect Park. If he wants to imagine life here in Brooklyn, let him.
Feb. 19, 2012, 4:51 pm
Brownstone from Park Slop(e) says:
The only thing out of control on PPW are the NBBL Zombies!
Zombie Iris, Zombie Norman, Zombie Louise, Zombie Marty, Zombie Jim Walden, and Zombie Georgia Winston.
See the Zombies stagger out of there limos.
Feb. 20, 2012, 6:10 pm
Brownstone from Park Slop(e) says:
Typo Correction: "...stagger out of 'their' limos."
Only Zombies misspell and miss court filing dates.
Feb. 20, 2012, 6:48 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mustache pete, ty, and Other Michael, and Mike: All of you owe me an immediate apology b/c I have had enough of the viscious onslaughts against my person irreguaurdless of the fact that I am speaking the facts. On a side note, my father's best friend is one of the top attourneys in NYC and he was saying that there have been some torts awarding one million dollars or more to plaintiffs that have been besmirched on the Internet. So unless you all want that to happen to you I suggest you immediately apologize and cease the personal attacks. Like Israel, I am in a fight to the death against those who would otherwise see me silenced. can be involved in whatever I choose to be in. You have every right to disagree with me, but you have no right to say what I am not not allowed to be involved in just because you don't like it or b/c other michael doesn't like it. None of you own this website or are moderators here so just cut it out. It's not like I am stopping you from taking your side, so cut it out already. I have had it up to here with you streetsblog zealouts running the show.
Feb. 20, 2012, 10:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Daquan I know you are not who you say you are and you know that I know it so just stop it.
Feb. 20, 2012, 10:53 pm
Other MIchael from Park Slope says:

You have a right to say whatever you want


I have a right to say you don't know what you are talking about.

Your dad and explain that to you.
Feb. 22, 2012, 11:33 am

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