(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety, a group that's brought suit against the city over Brooklyn's Prospect Park West bike lane, had their first appearance in court today. Among the plaintiffs who showed up for the largely procedural hearing were former Deputy Mayor (nder David Dinkins) Norman Steisel, who's now a private consultant living near the bike lane.
But after huddling for a few minutes before the judge, the only resolution was that both sides are scheduled to meet again in court in a little over a month.
The parties spoke before the judge but out of earshot. Jim Walden, the attorney for the plaintiffs, explained outside the courtroom that he was asking for a ruling on a motion for expedited discovery -- he wants the city Department of Transportation to provide more information on the bike lane, including safety data and internal emails. The attorney for the city, Mark Muschenheim, responded "we've already provided much of what they wanted through FOIL."
When the case was called, both sides huddled before Justice Bert Bunyan, who questioned them for a few minutes -- and then adjourned the case until June 22.
The New York City Law Department released the following statement:
"Today's court appearance mainly covered scheduling issues. At the appearance, the petitioners made an application to the Court requesting permission to engage in discovery (i.e. requests for documents and questioning witnesses under oath) before the Court considers the merits of the case (i.e. the petitioners' Article 78 petition and DOT's response). Discovery is typically not permitted in an Article 78 proceeding like this one. The petitioners' application was denied; however, the Court will again consider the application when it considers the case merits on June 22."
The statement also included a comment from city attorney Mark Muschenheim: "We are pleased that the Court agreed with us on this procedural issue today. We are confident that the Court will give similar careful consideration to the merits of the case when they are argued on June 22."
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