So today we’ve been reviewing all the cynical ploys that former DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall, former First Deputy Mayor Norman Steisel, and former Brooklyn College dean Louise Hainline used in their attempt to reverse the public planning process that produced the Prospect Park West bike lane. The lawsuit that’s back in the news today is the centerpiece of their sweeping body of work, and right now, the centerpiece of the lawsuit is an affidavit that Borough President Marty Markowitz submitted at the 11th hour in the summer of 2011.
In case the details of the case have faded from memory, here’s the quick recap… In order for the bike lane opponents to get a judge to rule on the actual legal arguments in their case (which are incredibly flimsy), they first had to prove that they filed their lawsuit before the statute of limitations expired. To do this, they had to show that the bike lane was installed as a “pilot,” not a permanent redesign. The problem was, there was no record of DOT ever calling the bike lane a pilot or a trial. In fact, DOT’s Josh Benson explicitly said at a public meeting in April, 2010, that the bike lane was not a trial, and the opponents themselves acknowledged that they’d never come across an instance where DOT said the project was provisional.
Enter Markowitz and his affidavit, in which he alleged that DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan described the project as a trial in a closed-door meeting between members of Markowitz’s staff and DOT’s staff. Sadik-Khan refuted Markowitz’s version of events in her own affidavit.
Basically, the opponents have been able to drag out the case based on this one dubious piece of testimony from Markowitz. So it only seems fitting to share this assessment of Marty Markowitz from none other than Iris Weinshall herself.
When Steisel wrote to Weinshall in October, 2010, worried that Markowitz’s commitment to their cause might be wavering, Weinshall replied: “Not surprised about Marty… he’s a creep… always has been… he’s not burning any bridges with Bloomberg!”
Well, she was wrong about the burning bridges part.