After local condo board sues, judge rules that Central Park West bike lane can go forward

Posted On Thu, August 1, 2019 By

Posted On Thu, August 1, 2019 By In Policy, Transportation, Upper West Side 

Via Public Domain

Earlier this week, a group of Upper West Side residents from the Century Condominium filed a suit against the city for its plans to install a protected bike lane on Central Park West, attempting to cease its construction immediately. As 6sqft previously reported, the bike lane plan consists of installing a northbound protected lane from 59th Street to 110th Street–eliminating 400 parking spots in the process (another point of contention for the plaintiffs). But yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Lynn Kotler ruled against their request for a “temporary restraining order” and expressed skepticism over their claims that the bike lane would bring “immediate and irreparable harm to the neighborhood,” as Streetsblog reported. Work crews will continue putting in the bike lane—which doesn’t actually involve any construction, just painting street markings—until city lawyers and plaintiffs reconvene in court on August 20.

“The push for more bike lanes has stripped the City of prime real estate on stately corridors like Columbus Avenue, caused an explosion of traffic tickets for delivery truck drivers who can’t afford them, ignores that the rise in bicycle accidents is attributable to the Mayor’s office in this and past administrations push to increase bicycle ridership, and favors a tiny minority of citizens by handing over vast swathes of the city’s public space,” the owners’ suit argues.

Their argument also claimed that Central Park West’s proximity to the park and it’s status on the National Register of Historic Places makes the bike lane a “Type I Action” under Article 78, which would require an environmental review. “Among Type I Actions are actions that involve physical alteration of 2.5 acres which are contiguous to a historic district and publicly owned park land,” the suit states.

“The nature and irony of this suit is beyond indefensible for the plaintiffs,” said Marco Conner, co-deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, to Streetsblog. “These residents are saying their parking is more important than the lives of others and are making a mockery of environmental review by seeking to dissuade one of the most environmentally friendly transportation forms on earth.”

According to Streetsblog, Kotler was “extremely skeptical” of the owners claims, noting that the project had already received approval from Community Board 7 and opponents had missed a perfect opportunity to voice these concerns during that process. “There are bike lanes all over the city — some in historic districts,” Kotler asked from the bench. “Why is this any different?”

City lawyer Antonia Pereira argued that there was no issue of irreparable harm since “There is no ‘construction,’ this work involves street markings. And it responds to a community request for safety.”

Last August, 23-year-old cyclist Madison Lyden was killed on Central Park West by a garbage truck—the driver was found to be under the influence—after she swerved to avoid a cab pulling out of the parking lane.

Following a recent a concerning increase in cyclist deaths so far this year, Mayor de Blasio revealed his “Green Wave” plan last week which includes a $58.4 million budget to make streets safer for bikers. In addition to adding more protected bike lanes and redesigning intersections, the plan calls for a media campaign on cyclist safety, as well as community engagement programs.

[Via Streetsblog]

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Neighborhoods : Upper West Side

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