JSK Counters Markowitz Affidavit; No Decision on PPW Bike Lane Case Today

Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has submitted an affidavit countering Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s assertion that the Prospect Park West bike lane was installed as a trial. The rest of the news coming from today’s hearing in Brooklyn Supreme Court once again centers on procedural maneuvering. There was no decision on the Prospect Park West case.

Brooklyn families will have to wait a bit longer before they know this won't be snatched away from them. Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Here are the major takeaways from today’s hearing:

  • Sadik-Khan has submitted an affidavit stating that the Prospect Park West project was not installed on a trial basis. Her statement counters an affidavit from Markowitz, submitted before the hearing at the eleventh hour, in which the borough president said Sadik-Khan told him the project would be a trial. The “trial” question is relevant insofar as it affects the standing of the plaintiffs’ case. Their suit will be dismissed if Judge Bert Bunyan determines that the PPW redesign was installed as a permanent project, because the clock ran out on the statute of limitations months before opponents sued the city.
  • The city believes that the case might be resolved faster if Judge Bunyan rules on the merits instead of the statute of limitations argument.
  • The next hearing is slated for August 3, where Bunyan will decide whether subpoenas served by the plaintiffs’ attorneys should stand. Subpoenas are unusual for this type of case, but the plaintiffs’ attorney, Jim Walden, is seeking to compel Sadik-Khan, City Council Member Brad Lander, and four NYC DOT staffers to appear in court, in what would surely be the media spectacle of the summer.
  • It is hypothetically possible that Judge Bunyan could decide the case before August 3.

Just a reminder: Community Board 6 approved this project two years ago, and it has made Prospect Park West a safer street, with less speeding, fewer injuries, shorter pedestrians crossing distances, more biking, and less sidewalk riding.

  • Morris Zapp

    If city employees and a council member are actually put on trial for building a bike lane, this will go down in NYC history as a landmark moment of idiocy and shame, alongside such atrocities as the drowning of stray dogs in the East River.

  • Has the Sadik-Khan affidavit been released to the press?

  • Anonymous

    “The city believes that the case might be resolved faster if Judge Bunyan
    rules on the merits instead of the statute of limitations argument.”

    Makes sense, but what does this mean in practical terms?

  • To be fair, it’s only clownish… where it’s more than a bit alarming that every day there are over 300 people in Brooklyn who are on their second day of jail (and sometimes THIRD) in Central Booking because they had to wait that long to see a judge on a violation bench warrant or a possession of marijuana ticket. They don’t even do that to people in TEXAS. Not to mention the people in public housing who wait over an average of 84 days for EMERGENCY repairs to be addressed.

    That said, this would all be somewhat escalated if the PPW street design had to be changed to something provably more deadly because of these ridiculous nothing-better-to-do plaintiffs.

  • To this layperson, ruling on the merits sounds like a great idea.  If the suit is thrown out on a technicality, then the DOT is more likely to have to mount a complicated defense against a similar lawsuit, wasting more time and taxpayer’s money. 

    To be able to point to the (still hypothetical) PPW outcome and say “we have the right to make the streets safer in this way” would be huge.

  • Anonymous

    The judge can simply say that even if timely …

  • Anonymous

    That would only work, of course, if he denies the petition (as the City obviously expects him to do).

  • a.
  • Station44025

    Like people being senselessly and constantly killed by cars, we’re used to the downtrodden being further trod upon. I agree with Morris that McCarthy style show-trials for officials who support safe streets would really be a new low.

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