NEW YORK - Cyclists rallied Thursday outside an Upper West Side condominium where board members are suing to block construction of a 50-block protected bike lane.
"This lawsuit is threatening our lives and that is not acceptable," said Marco Conner of Transportation Alternatives.
Advocates say they're angry because the Century Condominiums board members are suing to stop the installation of the lane along Central Park West that come at the expense of the neighborhood losing some 400 parking spots.
"A parking spot, a life is much more important than a parking spot," said Kevin Robins, a cyclist.
The rally comes one day after a judge rejected the board's request to block the project. Their attorneys argued that the city failed to conduct the proper environmental reviews. But the judge ruled that transportation officials will have to prove that the project — from 59th to 110th streets — complies with appropriate codes.
Demonstrators who claim the lawsuit is a stall tactic say the current bike lane along Central Park West just is not enough.
"Unprotected bike lanes are almost useless because people park in them people swerve in to them, they open their car doors into them," said Elise Engler of Transportation Alternatives.
The push for a protected path came after the death of an Australian tourist who was struck and killed by a truck after a car blocked the bike lane she was riding in along the stretch.
Advocates say the danger is real.
"I was hit by a truck. I spent close to a week in the hospital, I had four surgeries," Engler said.
"It really hit close to home for me because last year I was hit by a cop car," Robins said.
But some residents who are against the new lanes say it's cyclists who often ride recklessly and are worried about the impact that protected lanes will have.
"On more than one occasion I have been struck by a bicyclist in the past two years," said one Upper West Side resident. "These things don't get reported as a statistic as a police report and I don't understand why there's no enforcement."
Transportation officials are due in court to fight the lawsuit on August 20.
Construction is set to begin this summer.