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.