Will NBBL Bury the Hatchet or Continue to Wage War on Safer Streets?

Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov, used with permission

The decision issued by Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Bert Bunyan Tuesday dismissing the Prospect Park West lawsuit should reverberate in a few ways. Among them: The storyline probably doesn’t have as much allure to the press as it used to. And without the PR value, the opponents’ legal challenges lose a lot of their fundamental purpose.

NBBL could appeal Bunyan’s ruling, but they would have to convince the appellate court to overturn a decision that hinged on a finding of fact, which, our sources in the legal profession tell us, would have even lower odds than the initial suit, in all its flimsiness. They could also file a new suit to stop adjustments to the lane that haven’t been built yet, like the addition of granite pedestrian refuges to PPW, but only after “exhausting administrative remedies” by appealing to DOT first. A separate suit could not undo the basic geometry of the bike lane, given Bunyan’s ruling.

So any future litigation from NBBL, it seems, would be an even more obvious exercise in scorched earth tactics. NBBL lawyer Jim Walden appeared to acknowledge as much when he told the Brooklyn Paper, “This is just the first battle in what is inevitably going to be a longer war.”

The quote drew this response from Bill Carey of Neighbors for Better Neighbors:

Our community is not a battlefield and the work of making our streets safer does not “inevitably” have to be a “war.” Mr. Walden’s clients can graciously accept Judge Bunyan’s decision and move on. We look at the bike path as a place to come together, not a line of division in this great neighborhood.

We encourage the plaintiffs to drop the martial language and the legal crusade, and join with their neighbors to continue the work of making our streets calmer and safer. There’s still much to be done, and we extend our hands to all those who want to take part in a positive and constructive effort.

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