Ding dong, the Prospect Park West bike lane lawsuit is dead

Victory: Bike lover Eric McClure couldn’t be happier that a group of disgruntled Park Slope residents have dropped their lawsuit against the city, which could have resulted in the elimination of the Prospect Park West bike lane.
Brooklyn Paper
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The years-long fight over the world’s most controversial bike lane is finally over, after the cadre of politically connected Park Slopers that has been trying to kill the two-way protected pedaling path along Prospect Park West dropped its lawsuit against the lane on Sept. 21.

The high-powered neighbors — whose ranks originally included former Transportation Commissioner and current wife to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–Park Slope) Iris Weinshall, former Deputy Mayor Norman Steisel, and former Brooklyn College dean Louise Hainline — balked at what they saw as the city shoving the 19-block bike lane down their throats six years ago, and sued arguing officials installed the passage on a trial basis then cherry-picked crash and safety data to justify making it permanent.

But as the case dragged on for years, several of the backers backed off — one, Lois Carswell of Seniors for Safety, died — and the lane became a fixture of the neighborhood, as documented by a candid 2012 photo of Schumer riding down the pathway with apparent glee. Now, the remaining critics say they have to accept that it is just not practical to get rid of the bikeway at this point.

“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 statement.

The litigious locals did find some vindication when city data released as part of the suit showed the number of car-on-car crashes actually increased slightly in the two years after the lane’s installation, though it also found drivers hit few cyclists even as bike traffic tripled, speeding went down, and bikers stopped riding on sidewalks.

While it lasted, the court battle was huge news, with former Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, former Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) all testifying, media outlets across the city spilling plenty of ink on coverage and editorials, and bike activists rallying to show their support for the lane.

At the height of the drama, this paper’s then-editor Gersh Kuntzman famously dressed as the bike lane for the Park Slope Civic Council Halloween Parade, while Markowitz — who didn’t support the lane — rode into his 2011 State of the Borough address on a tricycle to mock the path and the pro-cycling activists supporting it.

As of 2012, the city had spent more than $140,000 on legal fees fighting the suit.

Still, some local bike lovers are disappointed to see the case fizzle out instead of finish with the bang of a judge’s gavel.

“There was a part of me that wanted to see this decided in a court room, because I think their case was without merit,” said Eric McClure, co-chair of Community Board 6’s Transportation Committee and a longtime defender of the lane.

Lander, meanwhile, says he’s glad the opponents waved the white flag — and he hopes the Citi Bike haters he is currently battling after the blue bike rental stations rolled out across his district last month follow suit.

“Thrilled that PPW bike lane opponents have voluntarily withdrawn their lawsuit!” he tweeted after the announcement. “Hoping opposition to Citi Bike abates a little more quickly.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Good! Stop wasting time on this and accept the changes happening to this great city I don't live in.
Sept. 28, 2016, 9:53 am
Tyler from pps says:
A note to the editors.... a small handful of people opposing something doesn't make it "controversial." The fact that they had political connections and a white shoe law firm didn't magically increase their numbers. They were still a small fringe group. No controversy, just powerful whining.

It's like a petulant 13 year old who is whining because his mother won't let him smoke cigarettes. Not controversial. But because his parents are divorced, the kid uses his dad's guilty conscience to string along the ridiculous argument because the dad doesn't want to say no out loud. Still not controversial, just an added layer of stupid.
Sept. 28, 2016, 10:07 am
Resident from Brooklyn says:
Good riddance. Louise Hainline and Norman Steisel can move on to other noble projects, such as yelling at puppies or something.
Sept. 28, 2016, 10:46 am
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
If someone ever asks you for an example of a frivolous lawsuit, tell them about this case, one that is entirely without merit.
Sept. 28, 2016, 10:51 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I can see this lane from my basement in Pleasantville and it gets used very little.

The bike zealots from Transportation Alternatives and Streetsblog created fake data to further their occupation of roads that I paid for personally using my tax dollars.

Streetsblog and TA are anti-semitic haters of Israel.
Sept. 28, 2016, 2 pm
Joey from Bay Ridge says:
Good news!
Sept. 28, 2016, 2:28 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I feel that they shouldn't have done this and kept it going. Just having the bike lane done without their input alone was a reason to fight it. Another thing is that I find the comments mentioned by the bike zealots to almost be crossing the line by making personal attacks at them not to mention making impersonations of me. Then again, that's the bike zealots for you.
Sept. 29, 2016, 4:57 pm
Tyler from pps says:
No, Tal. They are intended to be totally across the line. They are personal. The fact that you couldn't figure that out is pretty sad. Say hi to your mom for us (she's upstairs).
Sept. 29, 2016, 5:05 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
tyler from flatbush - It's like a petulant 13 year old who is whining because his mother won't let him smoke cigarettes. - the pot calling the kettle black
Sept. 29, 2016, 7:13 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I can't stop farting and it smells like and Indian guy who hasn't bathed in months after sleeping with my mother. Also, my anus looks like a stretched out leather doughnut.
Sept. 30, 2016, 9:07 am
Joe from Downtown says:
Bike accidents increased with this bike lane. Increased.
Sept. 30, 2016, 10:03 am

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