Last August, an Australian tourist named Madion Lydon was riding his bicycle northbound on Central Park West when the door of a parked car opened in his path. Lydon swerved to avoid the door and was struck, fatally, by a passing garbage truck. So far this year, 18 bicyclists have died on city streets.
To remedy the situation, the city has announced plans to add a protected, six-foot-wide bike lane on Central Park West between 62nd and 110th Streets. In a sign of just how much some New Yorkers hate bicycles and the people who ride them, the residents of the condominium at 25 Central Park West have filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court, arguing that the city did not complete an environmental review for its plans as required by state law, Crain's reports.
The redesign will also eliminate more than 400 parking spots along the park-side curb of the avenue, angering some residents. The neighbors and bike advocates fought over the plan at a community board hearing in July that one board member called “the rudest meeting I have ever presided over.” This legal challenge marks the latest escalation in that battle. The neighbors also take aim at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recently announced plan to improve the city’s overall bike infrastructure. Last week, the mayor said the city would spend $58.4 million over the next five years to add 30 miles of protected bike lanes yearly, adjust traffic signals and make other safety improvements. Transportation advocates had criticized the mayor as acting too slowly after the spike in fatalities.
The lawsuit argues that the mayor’s plan ignores detractors who say bike lanes strip the city of prime real estate and “favor a tiny minority of citizens by handing over vast swaths of the city’s public space.”
Tom DeVito of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives told the New York Post that the lawsuit represents the narrow interests of the street’s wealthiest residents. “The goal of this lawsuit is simple: to protect parking, even at the cost of exposing thousands of New Yorkers to danger,” DeVito said.
The city Department of Transportation said in a statement that “far too many lives are being lost on our roadways. The city will fight for this urgently needed and broadly supported safety project on Central Park West."
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