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.

NEWS | 34 comments | permalink
    1. Intervene This says:

      I thought that’s what co-op boards were for– elected representatives to take decisions on behalf of a building’s shareholders, so that every decision wouldn’t have to be put before every shareholder.

      • Catherine says:

        Exactly, and boards have broad powers to act on behalf of in this case “condo” owners, not shareholders as in a co-op. I understand his concern about an extended law suit bringing costs that would undoubtedly fall on the shoulders of the condo owners. The Century is located at a particularly congested area coming off Columbus Circle and is highly trafficked. There are 2 issues in my opinion – cyclist safety, but also pedestrian safety. Cyclists often think they have the right of way and present hazardous conditions for pedestrians especially older people trying to cross CPW.

    2. michael says:

      Today, NYC reported a 14% increase in pedestrians being hit by cyclists. Four occurred in Central Park yesterday. Why did the city not take pedestrians into consideration when they designed these bike lanes?

      • Bill Williams says:

        What happened in the park was classic and indicative that the problem isn’t cars or pedestrians, it is out of control law breaking cyclists. Everyone needs protecting from them!

      • Jay says:

        They did. Bike lanes make pedestrian crossings safer as well.

        What are the actual numbers of pedestrians being hit by bikes? 5? Percentages are bad metrics unless you are looking to obfuscate the real numbers.

        Meanwhile, another pedestrian died yesterday in Brooklyn from being struck by a minivan. There was no bike lane on Coney Island Parkway.

        • michael says:

          @Jay
          1) Percentages are far superior to raw numbers. *I am a published medically-based epidemiologist who studies health morbidity and mortality. I understand how to read, report and assess frequency. You are incorrect on so many levels. May I recommend reading Hans Rosling’s “Factfulness”?
          2) To this point, bicycle accidents involving pedestrians are an inconsistently reported and poorly monitored statistic whereas accidents with motor vehicles are mandated (read, required by law). As such, there is an underestimation in the reported incidence of pedestrian-bicycle accident/injury for which reporting is not mandated.
          2b)The above point is noted by the NYC DOT, but correction is ignored in the annual reporting.
          3) Bike lanes do not make pedestrian crossings safer. Cyclists following rules makes pedestrians safer.

          • Jay says:

            You forgot the number one rule of being a published author… always cite your sources.

            Injuries between bicycles and pedestrians actually reduced in 2018 (270) from 2017 (315). That’s actually a 17% reduction.

            The big thing about these statistics that you seem to be missing is the number of injuries with motor vehicle, which is 10783. That’s 40x the rate of bicycle crashes.

            You are incorrect that bike lanes don’t make pedestrian safer as well. Many peer reviewed studies show that.

            See: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140518301488?via%3Dihub

            https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/bicycle-crash-data-report-2018.pdf

            https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/bicycle-crash-data-report-2017.pdf

            • michael says:

              I never said bikes were not safer for pedestrians than motor vehicles. Of course, they are.

              You, however, failed to address my primary point – accidents with vehicles are mandated and therefore counted whereas accidents with bicycles are not. Any statistic you present on the bicycle-pedestrian accidents will, therefore, be UNDER-estimated. That is basic epidemiology.

              Funny thing with data, we cannot tabulate what hasn’t been recoded.

          • Chris says:

            Your statement about percentages being far superior to raw numbers is both incorrect and misunderstanding the comment. If, say, the average number of pedestrians being hit by bikes over some period of time is 5 and the standard deviation is 2, then it would not be remarkable to see a 40% increase in hits from the previous period to the current period. It would be a true statement that sounds highly concerning, yet is purely stochastic and contains no meaningful information.

            • michael says:

              Ok, I stand corrected. Percentages are not always better than raw numbers. You are correct. But in this case, raw numbers alone cannot tell an entire story. So, I’m not entirely sure of your point.

              1010WINS reported this morning that the number of bicycle accidents associated with pedestrians as compiled by the DOT has increased by 14% in NYC over last year at this time.

              In this case, the proportion tells you something more than the individual raw number. Similarly, it allows us to compare to these incidences to other incidences (eg. automobile-pedestrian rates).

              However, to another point, without question, this year’s accident number, as in previous years, is underestimated due to the fact that all incidences are not reported – unlike automobile-bicycle and automobile-pedestrian accidents which is mandated.

              Thank you for the technical correction. But in this instance, the raw number is not a better measure.

          • Pedestrian says:

            I could not agree more with Michael.

        • Five to One says:

          Last year, the city reported 303 crashes between cyclists and pedestrians.

          Of those, 270 pedestrians were injured; 55 cyclists were also hurt.

      • Mike says:

        Well, in all fairness, those pedestrians weren’t hit in a bike lane. Also, I really don’t think bike lanes are so difficult to cross. They’re like 4 feet across, and it’s not like there’s a bike every 3 seconds or anything. They also move bikes into one predictable place instead of being all over the road. I think bikes unexpectedly coming from every which way is a bigger issue than crossing bike lanes.

      • Billy Amato says:

        You are so correct Michael and bicycles are so out of control and Central Park just yesterday at 77-year-old man was taken to the hospital hit by a E-bike in Central Park on the West Drive near the Delacorte Theater it would be parallel with W. 81st St.
        “The bike was an E bike” why aren’t they not licensed and registered with the city and state they can go up to 60 miles an hour… do you know what a force of metal at 60 miles an hour can do to pedestrian!
        Most of the Bikers in the city have no regard for pedestrians!!!!

    3. Big Earl says:

      This is what happens when you have a knee jerk reaction without doing proper impact studies to the surrounding areas. All NYC has done is robbed Peter to pay Paul. Now bike riders are “safer” but yet pedestrians have to now pray they don’t get run over. Pedestrians will be run over along CPW and other areas because bicyclists don’t pay attention to rules they must follow. They feel they own the road. Then add in all the illegal electronic bikes, skateboards, uni wheels etc and NYC has become a walking deathtrap for pedestrians. But at least bikers are supposedly safer. Sad.

      • at says:

        Honestly if you’re dumb enough to get hit by a bicycle because you weren’t paying attention to it coming from a mile away then thats on you.

        • Joe Rappaport says:

          “Honestly if you’re dumb enough to get hit by a bicycle because you weren’t paying attention to it coming from a mile away then thats on you.” That’s a flippant comment. While there’s no doubt that motor vehicles are the greater threat, it’s clear that, for some people (though obviously not you), bicycles also put them at risk. One reason for this is that some people, as they age or if they have a disability, can’t actually see, hear or react as quickly as other people. Bikes seem to come out of nowhere, making walking around town a challenge. With autos, at least you know where they are; with bikes, not so much. Bike lanes help, from my point of view, since they reduce the lanes of motor traffic to navigate and you generally know to keep an eye out for bikes when crossing. But they are not perfect for all pedestrians, and I hope you will take this into account as you think more about this problem, at.

        • UWS Barb says:

          Except when they are riding the wrong way.

        • Dump DeBlasio says:

          Guess you’ve never been crossing the street, checked for bicyclists, and had one coming at you from the wrong direction. Cyclists need to be ticketed for not obeying traffic rules. How about DeBla-bla-blasio have traffic cams for them?

    4. SFDH says:

      He needs to out his coop board reps so they can be publicly shamed for being awful NIMBYS

    5. Stu says:

      The Board of the Century deserve to be removed. They are imposing the costs of unnecessary (and futile) litigation — which can be substantial –onto its shareholders, none of whom approved of the suit.

      What is worse is that the majority of these Board members are wealthy enough to — and likely do — pay for garage parking. Perhaps it is to save the spots used by the building staff/workers — and lets face it, we all know that these spots are reserved and taken by supers, doormen and other workers who have the time and ability to do the “car dance” every other day. But, like the PPW battle, it is NIMBY action taken by wealthy folks.

    6. Mike says:

      Wish I could thank this guy. There are so many people in the UWS who’d like to bike more, but don’t because of safety concerns. I’d like to bike to work in Midtown, but before this bike lane there was no safe way to get from about 57th street to the 70s on the west side (other than near the Hudson, but that’s hugely out of the way unless you live & work on the far west side ). You were seriously risking your life. Terribly dangerous. I may try it again now.

    7. Chris says:

      Now that the path is safe I have made it part of my daily commute. I obey the rules of the road. Thank you CB7!

    8. ReasonablePeopleCanDisagree says:

      I ride this route daily from midtown. Biking up Central Park West is much improved. Hurray!

      But since no good deed should ever go unpunished, here’s my biking wish list:

      1) bike lane added to Sixth Avenue.
      2) bike lane added to Central Park South.
      3) parked cars removed from Central Park West from Columbus Circle to 63rd Street (they’re still there!)
      4) bike lanes swept by street cleaners. The lanes are already filled with dirt, leaves, litter and other debris. Snow removal in winter, too!
      5) No motorized bikes in bike lanes. Particularly the fast delivery guys.
      6) Stop wrong-direction bikers.

      • Stuart says:

        6) How do you suggest we stop wrong-direction bikers? And how do we stop cyclists who do not obey traffic signals and signs?

        My answer is: licensing, after a satisfactorily-passed mandatory exam, followed up by ticketing when traffic laws are broken, followed by confiscation of bicycles when tickets are not paid. If cyclists are using the same roadway as cars, they should be subject to the same rules, laws, and punishments.

    9. ReasonablePeopleCanDisagree says:

      I ride this route daily from midtown. Biking up Central Park West is much improved. Hurray!

      But since no good deed should ever go unpunished, here’s my biking wish list:

      1) bike lane added to Sixth Avenue.
      2) bike lane added to Central Park South.
      3) parked cars removed from Central Park West from Columbus Circle to 63rd Street (they’re still there!)
      4) bike lanes swept by street cleaners. The lanes are already filled with dirt, leaves, litter and other debris. Snow removal in winter, too!
      5) No motorized bikes in bike lanes. Particularly the fast delivery guys.
      6) Stop wrong-direction bikers.

    10. JB says:

      Is it really so incredibly inconvenient for cyclists to USE THE PARK? The elimination of these free parking spots will raise costs for the entire neighborhood. There are many building workers and tradespeople who use these spots, and now will have to find parking elsewhere. Supply and demand suggests increased parking costs will result, and those costs will be passed on to all of us in higher rent, maintenance and services costs. Not to mention UWS residents who commute out of the city for work. Just ridiculous!

      • Kevin F says:

        The park is a one-way bike lane southbound, whereas Central Park West is a northbound bike lane. Cyclists are not allowed to ride up the west side of central park northbound, and even if they could, they couldn’t make any of the street connections from CPW.

    11. Anne says:

      Bicyclists are supposed to obey the same laws as cars!
      If they do not, the bike lane WILL become a (potentially fatal) hazard for pedestrians & bicyclists alike. If they do, crossing into the park b no worse than it is now with car traffic.

    12. Joey says:

      Put the bike lane in the park. Allow angle parking on one side of CPW. This should provide at least an additional 200 parking spots, keep dangerous bicyclists away from pedestrians and increase traffic safety.

    13. LPS says:

      As usual, it’s the bikers that are at fault and the pedestrian is at risk.
      I’m a biker and I obey the rules and frankly I’m at risk from self absorbed, oblivious pedestrians walking in or crossing bike lanes without looking while texting or just not caring about anyone else.

      Regarding the accidents in Central Park, all the collisions happened in the bike lanes, not the pedestrian lane. Amazing how pedestrians are never at fault!!

    14. Dita says:

      Speaking of the bike lane, what happened to the North bound west 86th street bus stop? The sign is gone and cars are parking there, yet no notice that the stop has been elimnated.