Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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.

The Citi-Bike docking station was installed in the middle of the night on April  27, 2013. 

Read More:

A Walk In The Park - February 16, 2015 - By Geoffrey Croft 

A Walk In The Park - October 15, 2013  - By Geoffrey Croft 

A Walk In The Park - May 28, 2013 - By Geoffrey Croft 

A Walk In The Park - December 3, 2012 - By Geoffey Croft 

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