Monday, July 22, 2024

A bicyclist uses a lane in North Cambridge in January 2022. (Photo: Marc Levy)

The Superior Court dismissed on Tuesday a lawsuit against the city over parking-space changes brought on by its Cycling Safety Ordinance.

The plaintiffs, a group called Cambridge Streets for All, went to court in June 2022 in hopes of stopping the city from adding more protected bike lanes under the CSO and removing existing lanes that took away parking spaces. In November, the city made a motion to Judge Maureen B. Hogan to dismiss the suit.

The Tuesday decision found that Cambridge Streets for All hadn’t supported its claims adequately, according to the city’s Law Department. Cambridge Streets for All had argued that Cambridge was making changes to Massachusetts Avenue that it could not because the avenue belongs to the state; that the City Council lacked the authority to pass its Cycling Safety Ordinance in 2019 and an amendment the next year setting a timeline for bike lane installation, and that the city lacked a required traffic board to hear appeals; that having bike lanes “interferes with the right to free movement”; that there was a lack of due process in the passage of the law in 2020; and more. The city has since reinstated a traffic board.

The judge’s decision “upholds the CSO and the city’s inherent authority to regulate its public ways. This decision also allows the city’s ongoing and future bike lane projects to continue to move forward,” the Law Department said in a memo shared with Cambridge Day. The city said it was “pleased with the decision.”

The group could yet appeal, but was not ready to say if it would when reached Tuesday.

“Clearly we’re disappointed by the court’s decision,” said Joan Pickett, chair of the group, who was reviewing the finding and other materials when contacted. More information would be available later, Pickett said.

The city also faces a second legal action against the bike lanes with similar arguments. It was filed in August 2022 by 20 new taxpayer plaintiffs led by Madeleine Aster.