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PRESS RELEASE_ Court Says the Prospect Park West Witch Hunt Must Stop.

PRESS RELEASE_ Court Says the Prospect Park West Witch Hunt Must Stop.

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Published by Ben Fried

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Ben Fried on Jul 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Seniors for Civility
For Immediate Release July 26, 2011
 Gene Aronowitz, Seniors for Civility,gene.aronowitz8@gmail.com, 718-753-3553.Bill Carey, Neighbors for Better Neighbors,wac0202@gmail.com, 718-810-3295.
Witch Hunt on Prospect Park West.
Park Slope Applauds Justice Burt Bunyan for ProtectingCommunity Members From FrivolousProspect Park West Bike Lane Law Suit and Harassment Campaign.
Over-the-Top Subpoena Drop Spurs Formation of “Neighbors for Better Neighbors” and “Seniors for Civility.” 
Brooklyn community members are cheering today after Kings County Supreme Court Justice BurtBunyan compelled the anti-bike lane group “Seniors for Safety / Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes” towithdraw a flurry of recently issued subpoenas and stop harassing Park Slope community members.Justice Bunyan’s order comes after attorneys from the City of New York moved to slap a temporaryrestraining order on Jim Walden, the out-of-control corporate litigator representing a handful of disgruntled Park Slope residents seeking to eliminate the Prospect Park West bike path and trafficcalming project.In recent days “Seniors for Safety / Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes” issued at least a half-dozensubpoenas to respected Park Slope community advocates, including:
Tom Miskel, Community Board 6 member and former Park Slope Civic Council President.
Craig Hammerman, Long-time Community Board 6 District Manager.
Richard Bashner, Former Community Board 6 Chairperson and Prospect Park West resident.
Paul Steely White, Executive Director of non-profit, member-driven TransportationAlternatives and Park Slope dad.
Steve Levin, City Council member, District 33.“We’ve always enjoyed the annual Park Slope Halloween Parade on Seventh Avenue,” said RichGreenspan, a construction project manager who owns an apartment on Prospect Park West where
he lives, walks, bikes and drives with his wife and two daughters, ages four and six, every day.“Unfortunately, some of our neighbors must think Halloween came early this year because their  bike lane law suit has become a witch hunt.”In response to bike lane opponents’ metastasizing law suit, community members are forming twonew neighborhood organizations called “Neighbors for Better Neighbors” and “Seniors for Civility.”“We clearly need a new group on Prospect Park West called Neighbors for Better Neighbors. Likethe majority of my neighbors, I feel that the new Prospect Park West is nicer, safer and moreaccessible,” said Bill Carey, a Rockefeller University lab administrator, jazz musician and newfather who has lived on Prospect Park West for seven years. “I applaud Justice Bunyan’s actiontoday. These subpoenas were clearly meant to silence and intimidate good, hard-workingneighborhood advocates. I believe community members ought to talk to each other and work together rather than using a $700/hour corporate attorney to beat each other up.”In a bid for headlines last week Jim Walden subpoenaed city officials including DOTCommissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. This week’s round of subpoenas were issued to communitymembers who have no special or unique knowledge about the facts that underlie plaintiffs claimthat the City redesigned Prospect Park West in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner.“The older you get, the harder it can be to deal with change,” said Gene Aronowitz, a 73-year-oldSunset Park resident who regularly uses the new bike path to do his shopping in Park Slope andkeep himself healthy and mobile. “But the redesign of Prospect Park West is a change for the better. I invite my fellow seniors to join me for a bike ride and sign up for my new Facebook group, Seniors for Civility. Prospect Park West is a safer, more inclusive street for everyone, youngand old; by two-wheels, four-wheels or by foot.”The “Seniors for Safety v. NYC DOT” case is an Article 78 proceeding, a legal procedure intendedto provide a quick resolution to arguments over the legality of administrative actions by localgovernment. By law, an Article 78 proceeding provides for little discovery of evidence beyond thepublic record. Serving subpoenas in an Article 78 proceeding is extraordinarily unusual. Rather than using Article 78 to move toward a speedy resolution of his law suit, attorney Jim Waldenappears to be using the proceeding to harass and smear community members, local leaders andDOT officials, and drag the legal process on as long as possible.Background on the Prospect Park West Community Process:The community-driven process to redesign Prospect Park West started in 2006 when a Park SlopeCivic Council community survey found that speeding, dangerous pedestrian crossings and lack of  bike access on PPW was a top concern in the neighborhood. In June 2007 Community Board 6formally requested that DOT study the installation of a two-way bike path on PPW. In April 2009,after a series of community workshops hosted by the Grand Army Plaza Coalition, DOT presentedthe Community Board 6 transportation committee with a concept plan for a two-way bike path onPPW. The committee voted unanimously to support the concept. A month later, the fullCommunity Board voted to approve the PPW bike path and traffic-calming project. There have been at least four separate Community Board votes approving the City’s redesign of PPW andindependent surveys, public demonstrations and meetings have repeatedly shown broad supportfor the project.

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