Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lawsuit aims at former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's pedestrian malls, bike lanes initiatives


Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s bicycle initiatives are under attack in a lawsuit filed Friday.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s legacy of installing pedestrian malls, bike lanes and bicycle rental stations on city streets is under attack in a lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Carl Person, the former Libertarian Party candidate for state attorney general, says the measures are illegal because the mayor never did an environmental impact statement as required by law.
The court papers say those innovations created “significant” environmental harm as drivers -- particularly cabbies -- spend more time wasting gas in slow moving traffic and economic harm because it takes longer to move around Manhattan.
The effect of these innovations "has been to create more congestion" because vehicles have fewer moving traffic lanes on the major avenues, the court papers say.

Steve Vaccaro, an attorney who helped write the 2014 law, said the maximum penalty is $250 and 30 days in jail.


Alexander Smotritsky, 39, was three blocks from his Bath Beach home when he struck Xiali Yue, 61, Monday morning at 21st Ave. and Cropsey Ave., cops said. She is in critical condition

           ******Steve Vaccaro******  

Attorney Steve Vaccaro is like a Transportation Alternatives "legal button man." Sues the city at the drop of a hat. Tries to intimidate the NYPD. The law does not mention cyclists being penalized if a rogue rider hits a pedestrian who is within a cross walk and has the right of way. This is a Vision Zero blind spot. We believe this is an intentional neglect of equal motor vehicle culpability. A prejudicial law that is a result of Transportation Alternatives radical mission to drive the auto from the city and recapture the streets and sidewalks for the bicycle.

*****Having Vaccaro write the law is akin to having lobbyists(TA employs and is a registered lobby group) write a Federal law. It is akin to having Halliburton write the laws pertaining to Fracking.******

Alexander Smotrisky, 39, was just three blocks from his Bath Beach home when he struck Xiali Yue, 61, Monday morning at 21st Ave. and Cropsey Ave.

The driver who rammed into a woman as she crossed a Brooklyn street, critically injuring her, was charged under the city’s fledgling right-of-way law, police said Tuesday.
Alexander Smotritsky, 39, was three blocks from his Bath Beach home when he struck Xiali Yue, 61, Monday morning at 21st Ave. and Cropsey Ave., cops said.
She was crossing 21st Ave. walking north in the crosswalk with the light when Smotritsky’s Ford Fiesta hit her while making a right onto Cropsey around 8:13 a.m., police said.
The Fiesta struck her with the center of its bumper, cops said. A police source said she was in grave condition.
The right-of-way law has been in effect since August and makes it a misdemeanor to strike a pedestrian who has the right of way. Twenty-two people have been charged under the law, including Smotritsky.
Steve Vaccaro, an attorney who helped write the 2014 law, said the maximum penalty is $250 and 30 days in jail.
“The hope of the people who are behind this law is that it will lead drivers to take these cases more seriously,” he said. “Up until this law was passed it was really common for there to be no charges at all.”
A man who answered at a listing for Smotritsky said he wasn’t home. He said he was unable to take a message.
Smotritsky also faces a violation of highway safety law for a failure to exercise due care, cops said.

Court Rules Citi-Bike In Petrosino Square Can Stay

Admirers photograph Carole Feuerman’s Survival of Serena an exhibition in the artist space located at the northern part of Petrosino Square on Lafayette Street and Cleveland Pl. between Kenmare & Spring Streets at the intersection of SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown.  (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Adovcates) 

The City surreptitiously installed a 32-dock Citi-Bike docking station (below) in April 2013 which replaced park space that had been dedicated to art installations since 1985, and even though there is an alternative location fro the bikes directly across the street. 

By Geoffrey Croft

In yet another strange ruling from the Supreme Court  Appellate Division First Department involving a parkland alienation case the court ruled that a controversial Citi-Bike docking station in Petrosino Square can stay.

"The trial court erred in failing to acknowledge the distinctions between recreational bicycling and bike-share commuting, which, though similar in instrumentality, serve completely different purposes," Plaintiffs argued. 

The Court did not agree.

The Appellate Division found that the bike share station served a proper park purpose of allowing members of the public to ride and dock a Citi-Bike at Petrosino Square, where they may “enjoy the Park as a respite, a spot for a meal or even as their final destination.”

In other words because the public can theoretically ride a Citi-Bike to the square where they can theoretically use the sitting area the docking station constitutes a "park purpose."  So even though that is clearly NOT the purpose of Citi-Bike nor how the bikes are used there the transportation bike sharing program can stay. 

And to add insult to injury, bike riding is prohibited in Petrosino Square according to the Parks Department.    

Section §1-05 Regulated Uses states that, "No bicycle...shall be ridden or otherwise operated in a pedestrian way, park path, sitting area..."

In 2013 Plaintiffs filed suit arguing that the city ignored state "parkland alienation" law and its own regulations when they installed Citi Bike racks in tiny Petrosino Square, a Parks Department owned property on  Lafayette Street in SoHo.   The suit alleged that the Department of Transportation and the Parks Department improperly failed to get necessary approval from the state Legislature to use parkland for a non-park purpose.

During the suit Corporation Council had absurdly tried to argue that the Square belonged to the Department of Transportation. 

Several requests seeking comment from the City's Law Department were not returned.  Attempts to reach Plaintiffs and their lawyer were also unsuccessful. 

"This is not a legitimate park purpose for Petrosino Square. It's an outrageous violation of law," Plaintiff's lawyer Randy Mastro, Gibson Dunn's senior managing partner said last month.