Exclusive: Bronx Businesses Sue Mayor De Blasio Over Vision Zero Plan

By Kevin Deutsch
kdeutsch@bronxjusticenews.com

A group of Morris Park business owners sued Mayor Bill de Blasio over his Vision Zero corridor plan Monday, seeking an injunction that would halt traffic changes they say threaten their livelihoods.

Along with City Councilman Mark Gjonaj, the operators of Captains Pizza, Window King, Morris Park Bake Shop, Coquis Sales Appliance, and the Morris Park Community Association filed the emergency petition in Bronx Civil Court, the latest salvo in a battle pitting road safety proponents against a community largely united in opposition to the changes.

The so-called Morris Park Avenue “road diet” plan seeks to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety on a 1.7 mile, 31-block span that’s seen hundreds of accidents since 2010.

The local community board rejected the safety plan last May, and thousands of local residents signed petitions in opposition to the changes. Gjonaj has led public protests of the plan’s implementation, which was set to take effect Sunday.

The traffic calming project, expected to be rolled out in stages over the next few weeks, eliminates a lane of traffic in both directions on Morris Park Avenue, and makes several other changes, including restricting commercial truck loading to a single, 30-feet wide area, the suit says—a change the petitioners say would make it impossible for them to receive timely deliveries of inventory.

The Window King store, for instance, routinely receives deliveries of more than 100 windows each Monday—jobs that take four to five hours because of the need to protect the windows from breaking, the lawsuit says.

Such deliveries “would be impossible under the proposed Vision Zero plan,” the filing alleges.

City officials have said the changes are necessary in order to improve safety in the corridor.

Also named as defendants in the suit are Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and DOT’s Bronx Borough Commissioner Nivardo Lopez.

The city did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the suit.

About Kevin Deutsch 123 Articles
Kevin Deutsch is a Staff Writer for Bronx Justice News covering the criminal justice system, incarceration, and DNA use by law enforcement. An award-winning journalist, Deutsch is the author of the true crime books "Pill City" and "The Triangle." He has worked on staff at the Daily News, Miami Herald, Newsday, The Palm Beach Post, and The Riverdale Press. His work has also appeared in Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Forward, The Independent, Huffington Post, and the New York Post, among other publications. A Bronx resident, Deutsch hosts the true crime podcast "A Dark Turn" on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network.