After years of fighting against a bike lane that has been widely used and beloved by cyclists, the ironically-named Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, a group of Park Slope residents who deeply opposed the Bloomberg-era transit infrastructure, have finally given up their quixotic legal quest to get the city to tear it up.
In a statement announcing the voluntary end to their lawsuit, the PPW Neighbors announced that “given the long passage of time, we believe the most responsible choice for our groups’ members and our community is to ensure that the bike lane is as safe and effective as possible going forward, rather than to prolong a debate in the courts.”
The group was in court earlier this year over the central question of whether the city had installed the bike lanes as a “pilot” or a “trial” and skipped the necessary community input when deciding to make the lanes permanent. Court proceedings in March included the rehashing of years-old community board minutes, as well as an umbrella-attack by long-time New York City bureaucrat Norman Steisel against Gothamist reporter Nathan Tempey. As the lane became widely accepted by community members, the NIMBY group’s numbers dwindled. The case had also begun to focus almost entirely on the city’s belief that the statute of limitations had expired, and the group could no longer bring a case. NBBL won the right to bring the case back in June but, by then, were already exhausted even with themselves.
“We now recognize that, on a practical level, after nearly six years, the PPW bike lane is likely here to stay,” Steisel said in a statement. “Though many community members continue to oppose the bike lane, others support it. Most importantly, we no longer believe that a lawsuit seeking removal of the lane — the remedy we sought over five years ago — is the most constructive action our groups can take to improve public safety and transportation policy in New York City.”
In admitting the end of their lawsuit, however, the group was not admitting defeat. They believe they’ve impacted the city’s policies when it comes to community outreach for the good and commend the de Blasio administration for being much more proactive in community outreach for bike lanes around the city.
So, after all this time, there’s finally peace in the land when it comes to Park Slope and cyclists. A happy ending…ha-ha. Here comes the proliferation of Citi Bike just in time to stir up more unhinged, bike-related NIMBYism. Never change, Park Slope.