Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Seniors for Safety Make Official Demand for Removal of Prospect Park West Experimental Bike Lane, Complying with Court Order
BROOKLYN, N.Y., Aug. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, Seniors for Safety (“SFS”) and Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes (“NBBL”) sent a letter to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan demanding removal of the Prospect West bikeway and compliance with a court order to turn over all internal documents about the lane.
The “demand” letter comes on the heels of a State court decision issued on Tuesday by Judge Bert Bunyan in an “Article 78″ case filed by both groups in March. In his decision, Judge Bunyan said that the groups need to exhaust all available “administrative remedies” before taking further legal action. Justice Bunyan said exhaustion of administrative remedies required Petitioners to “confront DOT with their interpretation of the January 2011 data and  obtain DOT’s separate and independent determination not to remove the bikeway during its implementation phase notwithstanding [their] interpretation of such data.” When the law suit is re-filed (assuming DOT fails to remove the lane), Justice Bunyan said he could consider the decision on the merits.
The letter also demands that DOT comply with the Court’s order to fulfill the groups’ long-standing demand for documents, which DOT has resisted at every turn. In his decision, Judge Bunyan declared that “DOT has failed to respond fully and adequately to NBBL’s FOIL request” and that DOT’s “response [regarding its FOIL productions] makes no sense.”
“We’re pleased the Court saw through DOT’s efforts to stonewall the community, as we have contended all along. We have little doubt that DOT, if it follows Sadik-Khan’s prior pattern, will continue its bob-and-weave strategy, rather than complying with the Court’s order. But, we also have full confidence that Justice Bunyan will not tolerate more of her antics,” said attorney Jim Walden, from the law firm Gibson Dunn and Crutcher, who represents the groups.
The groups are demanding the lane’s removal since DOT declared the lane a “resounding success” based on false and misleading claims. Their letter also includes charts which show that, contrary to DOT’s declarations, accidents actually went up on Prospect Park West after the installation of the bike lane and that, before the lane’s installation, crashes were trending downward. DOT has been given until September 2nd to comply with the demand letter.
Walden also took Commissioner Sadik-Khan to task for her public statements after Justice Bunyan’s decision was announced: “Her condescension is stunning, all the more so because other members of the Mayor’s senior staff would never take such a high-handed approach. The Petitioners here – though she may disagree with them – comprise hundreds of progressive, responsible working men and women. To dismiss their grievances as ‘frivolous’ and call them ‘resistant to change’ – to attack them in this way – is outrageous, particularly given our clients’ willingness to settle those grievances with a bike lane that conforms to the City’s longstanding Master Bicycle Plan. But the fact that her staff launched prior attacks via internet postings against these same community members, and that she took no disciplinary action at all, shows an extraordinary lack of accountability to the very people she is supposed to serve. One thing is quite clear: she serves only bikers. But it is the truck drivers, cab drivers, bus drivers, and passenger van operators, and – yes, car drivers – that make this City work and support our business community. Commissioner Sadik-Khan treats them like collateral damage, and that is a huge mistake for the Mayor.”
Copies of the demand letter and accompanying charts are available upon request.
SOURCE Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes