Judge Rejects Plaza Hotel’s Citi Bike Lawsuit

Blue is just barbaric, unlike yellow. Image: Google Maps
Blue is just barbaric, unlike yellow. Image: Google Maps

It was fun while it lasted, but the era of NIMBY lawsuits against NYC bike-share stations has now run its course. Today a Manhattan judge rejected the Plaza Hotel’s suit seeking to remove the Citi Bike station across the street from its entrance. This marks the final court decision regarding the four lawsuits challenging bike-share station locations — litigants have come up empty in every case.

The Plaza sued to have the Citi Bike station removed on aesthetic, preservationist, and environmental grounds, arguing that it is a visual blight on the landmarked hotel and nearby Grand Army Plaza (also a landmark), which causes traffic to back up.

The street in front of the Plaza is exceptionally wide but just one block long — the only transportation function is to drop off and pick up people and things at the hotel. Before the bike-share station went in, idle livery vehicles took up the same space.

So, Judge Cynthia Kern was having none of it. “This congestion appears to be the Plaza’s own creation and does not appear to be solely caused by the bike share station,” she wrote in her decision [PDF].

Kern also batted away the aesthetic argument. “Specifically, the bike share station at issue was placed on the street, is lower in scale than the many cars that line Grand Army Plaza and is similar in appearance to nearby street furniture such as bus stations.”

Kern is the same judge who dismissed the suit against a Citi Bike station in Soho’s Petrosino Square. The lawsuit against the bike-share station at 99 Bank Street has also been rejected, and back in March, a Brooklyn judge tossed a suit seeking to remove a station from in front of 150 Joralemon Street.

The bike-share NIMBY lawsuits may be gone, but thanks to historical artifacts like this we can hang on to the memory and tell our descendants about the time these people freaked out about some public bike docks.

  • Brooklynite

    One of the more pathetic chapters in 21st century urban NIMBYism comes to a close.

    Don’t let the court room door hit you on the way out Steven Sladkus and Jim Walden, you massive losers.

  • Harald

    I’ll have a celebratory beer tonight!

  • Wilfried84

    Sense prevails for once, though I wonder how much fighting the suits cost Citi Bike, and how things will play when bike share expands (we hope) to say the Upper East and West Sides. The NIMBYs will be savvier, and won’t be caught off guard. I can see siting the new stations becoming an epic struggle.

  • Neighbor 4 Better Bike Lawyers

    They should start a law firm, Sladkus & Walden, and only take on bike-related cases that have no chance in hell of succeeding. Quite a racket these two have going on.

  • Larry Littlefield

    As far as I know the PPW lawsuit is still going. Why I don’t know.

    It doesn’t appear that BDB has a deal to remove the bike lane. Perhaps they hope to keep the suit alive until the next Mayor.

  • Brooklynite

    Iris Weinshall should not be permitted to take the job as Prospect Park Alliance Board Chair until she has publicly disavowed the PPW bike lane law suit, made clear that it’s over and that she will not harm the bike lane, and told Randy Mastro and Jim Walden to shut it down.

  • Daphna

    This article names four locations who lost their case in court to remove a citibike docking station they complained of (1. Plaza Hotel between 58th and 59th Street on Grand Army Plaza; 2. Petrosino Square in SoHo; 3. 99 Bank Street between Greenwich and Hudson Street in TriBeCa; 4. 150 Joralemon Street at Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights). There is also a fifth location that lost their case in court to Judge Kern, and who also lost their case in the appeals court: The Cambridge House co-op at 175 West 13th Street and 7th Avenue in the West Village.
    In the Cambridge House, 2 bedrooms sell for 1.7M, 1 bedrooms sell for 1.4M and studios sell for $400-500K. Of the eight apartments in 175 W 13th St that sold in 2013-2014, 4 sold for ABOVE asking price, 1 sold for asking price, and 3 sold for just below asking price. So that bikeshare rack is not hurting sales and likely is helping since a 15′ wide space on the curb at their entrance is open whereas previously it was blocked bumper to bumper with parked vehicles. The doorman has much better visibility up and down 13th Street with the docking station replacing parked cars.

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