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BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | The CitiBike battle of Petrosino Square is up and rolling once again. Opponents of siting a bike-share station in the Soho park recently filed an appeal in the State Supreme Court Appellate Division.
Last October, State Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern, ruled against the plaintiffs, writing in her decision, “Bicycling is an important form of recreation that has had a proper ‘park purpose’ for many years. The infrastructure to support bicycling, such as bike paths, bicycle racks and rest stations, are common incidents in parks.”
The plaintiffs in the appeal, filed on July 7, include the Friends of Petrosino Square; Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino Lodge No. 285 of the Sons of Italy in America; the Soho Alliance; Minerva Durham, of Spring Studio Life Drawing; the Chinatown Civic Association; the Noho Neighborhood Association, and former Councilmember Alan Gerson.
The suit is lodged against the city’s Parks and Transportation departments, including former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
It’s known as an Article 78 lawsuit, meaning it’s a challenge of a city governmental action — in this case, the decision to site a station for the phenomenally popular CitiBike program on the small park triangle.
The appeal contends it was wrong to have located the bike-share docks in the square, which is a “small, but treasured park” and “a park of vital importance to the local community.”
Responding to Kern’s ruling, the appeal counters that the bike kiosk does not “serve a valid park purpose,” adding that CitiBike is a transportation — not a recreational — program, since it’s based on the premise of short trips of a half hour or 45 minutes.
“…[P]etitioners respectfully request that this court reverse the trial court’s denial…of the petition and compel respondents to remove the bike-share kiosk from Petrosino Square Park,” the appeal concludes.
The opponents’ attorney is Jim Walden of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.