Article 78 Petition on Bikeway Dismissed

In March, a post here discussed the Article 78 proceeding filed by opponents of the two-way parking separated experimental bicycle lane (EBL) on Prospect Park against the NYC Department of Transportation in Kings County Supreme Court. A NY Law Journal article, Brooklyn Bikeway Survives Court Challenge, reports that Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bert A. Bunyan dismissed the action without prejudice on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired. In Seniors for Safety v. New York City Department of Transportation, Justice Bunyan wrote “The statute of limitations expired, at the latest, in November 2010, at which point no further event needed to take place in order for petitioners to claim to be aggrieved by the bikeway’s presence.” However, the judge ordered the city to turn over documents under a Freedom of Information Act request.

The controversy over the Bikeway has its proponents and opponents arguing on the issue of road safety for pedestrians and the resulting crowding of cars into the remaining narrow lanes. Opposed to the Bikeway are Seniors for Safety and Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes who claim that the bicyclists make the road unsafe for pedestrians and crowd cars. Transportation Alternatives, a bicyclists’ advocacy organization, said that after the two-way bike lane was installed, speeding decreased 70 percent. The issue is not yet resolved as the dismissal of the petition is without prejudice, and the judge granted the plaintiffs’ request for public documents under the Freedom of Information Law, saying that the DOT had to provide responsive document to the plaintiffs.

The opinion is instructive on the law relating to Special Proceedings under Article 78 particularly on the issue of exhaustion of remedies and the statutes of limitations, usually only four months or 120 days. Brooklyn Law School Library has on reserve at the circulation desk Civil Litigation in New York, 5th edition, by Oscar G. Chase and Robert A. Barker (Call # KFN5995.A7 C48 2007). See Chapter 24, Confronting Unlawful Government Activity: Article 78 and Related Remedies— A Procedural Bramble Bush. Reference Librarian Kathy Darvil’s New York Civil Practice: Selected Resources is designed for practitioners and students researching New York civil practice.