Sunday, January 19, 2014
City refuses to remove Citi Bike racks outside Plaza hotel
City refuses to remove Citi Bike racks outside Plaza hotel | New York Post
The city Department of Transportation doesn’t want to give up bike-share racks at The Plaza hotel — months after the landmark building filed a lawsuit to get rid of them.
The attorney for the Central Park South hotel said he had thought he was nearing a deal on the bright-blue Citi Bike station, but accused the city of backing out.
“There were settlement discussions with the hope of a different setup, but the city recently and most unfortunately terminated them,” lawyer Steve Sladkus told The Post.
Sladkus said he was hoping for a settlement at the end of December. But in early January, city lawyers told him there would be no deal. He said he got no response when asked why the discussions ground to a halt.
“It’s a shame that they’ve drawn their iron curtain. The turnaround seems awfully fishy,” said Sladkus, who has represented other well-off New Yorkers against Citi Bikes.
The city Law Department and DOT wouldn’t comment on the purported settlement plan.
A Law Department spokeswoman said the city would file court papers in opposition to The Plaza’s petition.
“We are confident the court will uphold the placement of the Grand Army Plaza Station as rational and appropriate, allowing this popular station to remain in place,” she said.
City Hall’s alleged U-turn came shortly after the arrival of Mayor de Blasio, who has vowed to expand bike lanes and the Citi Bikes program into the outer boroughs.
De Blasio’s new DOT commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, who starts work Tuesday, is also a fan of bike sharing.
Trottenberg, who worked on policy for the federal Department of Transportation, hailed DC’s bike program when it rolled out in 2010.
Still, one city official told The Post the de Blasio administration has not had an effect on the Citi Bikes cases.
The Plaza’s suit, filed in October, called the 58-bike station along Grand Army Plaza an “eyesore.”
Similar lawsuits against Citi Bike have deflated.
Last fall, a Manhattan judge tossed a Soho group’s suit against bike-share racks in Petrosino Square, a tiny park known for its public art installations.
Residents of a West Village co-op also lost their case, which claimed the Citi Bike racks blocked sanitation trucks and emergency vehicles.