Prospect Park West Bike Lane Lawsuit Dismissed In Court

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BIKE LANE
Bundled up due to chilly temperatures, a cyclist pedals on the bike path adjacent to Brooklyn's Prospect Park West in New York, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010. Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to more than triple the number of bike lane miles by 2030, but some New Yorkers are opposed to the proposal. The bike lane network currently covers nearly 500 miles of city streets. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) | AP

A lawsuit brought against the city for installing the divisive Prospect Park West bike lane was dismissed Tuesday, The New York Times reports.

Supreme Court Justice Bert Bunyan dismissed the suit, filed by several area residents and including neighborhood groups Seniors For Safety and Neighbors For Better Bike Lanes, that claimed the city Department of Transportation misled them about the lane's benefits and that they feared being struck by reckless riders on the Brooklyn thoroughfare, which hugs the Western edge of Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

The case had revolved largely around whether the bike lanes were built in consultation with the community or if they were rather an "experiment", according to The New York Observer, that the city refused to remove after the community rejected them.

Ultimately in his ruling, Bunyan called the suit "moot" and "without merit" and characterized the 19-block bike lane as a carefully executed, community-supported traffic-calming device, according to The Brooklyn Paper.

Embattled Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan responded to the news in a statement. “This decision results in a hands-down victory for communities across the city,” she said, adding, “The plaintiffs have been dead wrong in their unsupported claims about the bike path and DOT’s practices. This project was requested by the community, they voted repeatedly to support it, and their support has registered in several opinion polls. Merely not liking a change is no basis for a frivolous lawsuit to reverse it.”

Jim Walden, a lawyer for Neighbors For Better Bike Lanes, told the Paper,“This is just the first battle in what is inevitably going to be a longer war."

The Prospect Park West bike lane was one of the biggest battles in what many of the city have come to call "The Bike Wars", as a decidedly pro-bike city government and its supporters, who claim that bike lanes reduce traffic accidents and encourage a more environmentally-friendly commute, have faced stiff opposition from groups claiming that car traffic should be given priority in the city and that bike lanes are hazardous for pedestrians.