Such a Manhattan tale — bike lane, condominium overlooking Central Park, lawsuits, and dissent

This story has legs. A biker was killed on Central Park West (that’s the four-lane, slow-travel road along the west side of Central Park) last year. The local Community Board called on the Department of Transportation to set up a safer routing. Its choice resulted in removal of 400 parking spaces along the western edge of Central Park in order to protect the bike lane. Distress ensued followed immediately by litigation. Am sure there will be a book in due course.

Century Resident Files to Dismiss the Lawsuit Against CPW Protected Bike Lane; ‘It Came as a Complete Surprise’

Century Resident Files to Dismiss the Lawsuit Against CPW Protected Bike Lane; ‘It Came as a Complete Surprise’

By Carol Tannenhauser

A resident and unit owner of the Central Park West condominium that recently filed a lawsuit to block a protected bike lane on the east side of the avenue has submitted a “memorandum of law” calling for the suit to be dismissed.

In the memorandum, Kenneth B. Squire contends that the action taken by the Residential Board of The Century condominium, located at 25 Central Park West, between 62nd and 63rd Streets, “came as a complete surprise to the residents and unit owners….They were never told of the Residential Board’s intention to file this lawsuit, nor were they ever asked if they supported it. But more importantly, the residents never authorized the Residential Board to file this lawsuit in Century Condominium’s by-laws or otherwise.”

Squire also argued that the financial burden of the lawsuit would “undoubtedly” fall on the residents and owners who, furthermore, were portrayed in the press “as caring more about parking spots than the safety of bikers and the community.”

The bike lane, designed by the Department of Transportation and approved by Community Board 7 in early July, requires the elimination of 400 parking spaces.

When asked about Squire’s arguments, the attorney for The Century’s Board emailed “No comment.” Squire included with his memorandum a Q&A distributed by the building management to residents about the suit. The document says the board didn’t have a unit owner meeting about this issue because until the week before the suit was filed it was just a proposal. The Q&A raises concerns that the bike lane will create “a 2.5 mile bicycle speedway” that will make it difficult to cross Central Park West. It also says that the board is “building a coalition of other CPW buildings” to fight the bike lane.

Squire received the approval of Justice Lynn Kotler, of the New York State Supreme Court, to be an “intervenor” in the case last Tuesday. He filed his memorandum on Wednesday. His main argument is that the Board “lacks capacity to bring this action, a threshold issue that must be resolved before considering the merits of the petition.”

The case is back in the hands of Justice Kolter, awaiting her decision. Meanwhile, the bike lane, which now reaches West 77th Street, is already in use.

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