Tomorrow the opposing sides in the lawsuit over the incendiary Prospect Park West bike lane will be back in court. The affluent and well-connected group suing the city insists that the DOT fudged data to justify the bike lane, which was supposed to be installed on a trial basis. The DOT, however, wants the suit tossed because the because the statute of limitations ran out a few months before the lawsuit was filed. This is where the question of whether it was really a “trial” becomes important—if it was a trial, the plaintiffs met the deadline for their lawsuit, and if it was not a trial, they filed too late. So was it a trial or wasn’t it? And when can we stop talking about this?
In court papers obtained by the Post, Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz asserts that DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan “explicitly described the PPW bike lane as a trial. Neither Sadik-Khan nor anyone else at DOT ever told me that they had changed their minds and that the PPW bike lane was being installed on a permanent basis.” But Streetsblog, which has filed numerous Freedom of Information Law requests to obtain documents related to the PPW war, has found no evidence that anyone at the DOT ever stated that the project was a trial. In fact, Streetsblog has learned that these “trial” assertions originated from within the offices of the borough president himself!
In fact, the DOT’s bike and pedestrian director Josh Benson has testified under oath that during a community board meeting in April 2010, “I distinctly recall one of the representatives stating that the PPW Project would be a trial project, and I immediately corrected this publicly by stating that the PPW Project was not a trial project, but that after its installation it would be monitored with adjustments made as deemed appropriate.”
Nevertheless, Markowitz and the group opposing the bike lane, Neighbors For Better Bike Lanes, have continued to maintain that the bike lane was a trial project. It’s now up to a judge to decide if they have the power to distort reality with words. If they win, you can probably look forward to Markowitz waving his magic word wand and changing Brooklyn’s name to “Fuggedabouditville.”