As the next trial date for the approaches, a judge has urged bike lane opponents to withdraw a flurry of subpoenas issued to everyone from Councilmember Steve Levin to Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White.
The city had gone to court in hopes of obtaining a temporary restraining order against Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Seniors for Safety, t for the removal of the controversial two-way bike path.
The restraining order would enjoin NBBL and SFS’s attorneys from subpoenaing additional people, but once attorneys for NBBL and SFS agreed to withdraw the latest round of subpoenas on the advice of Judge Burt Bunyan, the city withdrew its pursuit of the restraining order.
"The judge called the petitioners' counsel out on this harassing strategy in court, rebuking them and prompting them to withdraw all the subpoenas issued under the petitioner's direction over the last week," said Karen Selvin, a city attorney, who referred to the lawsuit "baseless."
The flurry of subpoenas had even inspired pro-bike lane advocates to , “Neighbors for Better Neighbors” and “Seniors for Civility.”
“We’ve always enjoyed the annual Park Slope Halloween Parade on Seventh Avenue,” said Rich Greenspan, a Prospect Park West resident and member of the new groups. “Unfortunately, some of our neighbors must think Halloween came early this year because their bike lane law suit has become a witch hunt.”
A representative for NBBL and SFS said that bike lane opponents plans to reissue the subpoenas if granted discovery—the groups have asked for discovery proceedings though the suit was filed under Article 78, in which discovery does not usually take place.
“We continue to be troubled by the city’s efforts to prevent the truth from coming to light on this issue,” said Georgia Winston, an attorney for NBBL and SFS. “Our motion for limited discovery on DOT’s claim—in the face of clear evidence to the contrary—that it never called the PPW bike lane a ‘trial’ is still pending, and we fully expect the truth to come out.”
The bike lane battle goes back to court on August 3.