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Subpoenas Withdrawn in Brooklyn Bike Lane Case

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

All subpoenas in the lawsuit against Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West bike lane have been withdrawn and the lawsuit is now awaiting judicial action. No new court dates have been set.

That was the outcome of a court hearing in Brooklyn State Supreme Court Wednesday, which focused on the subpoenas Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety attorney Jim Walden had issued to officials, including NYC Department of Transportation head Janette Sadik-Khan and New York City Council member Brad Lander.

Justice Bert Bunyan could issue a ruling on discovery — or on the Article 78 merits of the case — at any time.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim the city manipulated data and didn’t seek adequate community input before installing the two-way protected bike lane along a 1.1-mile stretch of roadway along Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

But the city notes the local community board requested the lane and repeatedly approved it and that the bike lane is a proven success. The city says automobile speeding has dwindled dramatically and that bike riding on the sidewalk has diminished to almost nothing.

Last week, the city requested a temporary restraining order to block subpoenas to “non-parties” in the case — including Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman and Transportation Alternatives chief Paul Steely White. Walden withdrew those subpoenas last week.

After today’s hearing, Walden withdrew all the other subpoenas, and agreed not to issue any further subpoenas without judicial approval.

Karen Selvin, assistant corporation counsel with the NYC Law Department, said in an emailed statement: “We are pleased with today’s developments, which will go a long way toward ending the harassing theater that has surrounded this case. We look forward to the judge’s decision and are confident that we will prevail on this important New York City project.”

For his part, Jim Walden said that he agreed to go back to the judge before issuing any subpoenas as a show of good faith. “Obviously, we’re always going to accommodate a request from the court,” Walden said.

But Walden said he believed that the judge will ultimately grant discovery.

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