A group of Upper West Side condo unit-owners have failed in their attempt to stymie a protected bike lane on Central Park West after state Supreme Court Judge Lynn Kotler tossed their “meritless” lawsuit, Gothamist reports.
Following a blueprint laid out by several other bike- and bus-lane opponents, board members of the Century condominium at 25 Central Park West sued this past summer, claiming that the new street redesign – which will eliminate 400 parking spaces – should have triggered a lengthy environmental review.
Judge Kotler was unswayed. In her ruling she noted that the project essentially amounts to "a reorganization” of parking and a pre-existing bicycle lane. "[The Department of Transportation's] determination that such an action will not have any significant adverse environmental impacts is rational and otherwise supported by the record,” Kotler wrote. The homeowners' call for a statewide review of the city's plan to expand bike lanes was also "meritless," according to the judge.
With the overwhelming support of Community Board 7, the DOT has already installed the new bike lane between 59th and 77th Streets. Once complete, it will run northbound to 110th Street, and be separated from traffic by plastic bollards and a seven-foot buffer. The redesign will also add signal timers that give pedestrians a head start at intersections, while banning left turns into the park at 96th Street.
As the disgruntled condo residents were filing their lawsuit last summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio, under mounting pressure, announced a $58.4 million five-year plan, dubbed the "Green Wave," to add new bike lanes, redesign intersections, and step up enforcement of traffic laws. The Central Park West bike lane is part of that plan.
The plan arose, in part, after a fatal accident in August 2018, when an Australian tourist named Madison Lyden was riding her bicycle northbound on Central Park West. Maneuvering to avoid a livery cab parked in the bike lane, Lyden was fatally struck by a passing garbage truck. The driver was later charged with driving under the influence. Lyden was one of 10 cyclists to die on city streets in 2018; so far this year, 22 bicyclists or e-bike riders have died after being hit by vehicles.
Some residents of the Century said they were disappointed by the ruling, but not surprised. Bonnie Eisler, a plaintiff in the suit and the wife of the condo board president, says, "I think the pendulum has swung very far toward favoring cycling in this city."
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