After four days of testimony and six years of acrimony, Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Bert Bunyan has decided that the long-shelved lawsuit to tear out the somehow-still-controversial Prospect Park West bike path will go forward, and city taxpayers will foot the bill to defend the path for many more days to come.

For those just tuning in:

At issue before Judge Bunyan was whether or not there was evidence to show that the DOT had ever described the street overhaul that claimed a lane of car traffic for a two-way bike path as a "trial" or "pilot" project.

Anti-lane activists originally filed suit in March 2011, 9 months after the city installed the bike path, and 22 months after Park Slope's Community Board 6 approved the project (which it had asked for). Bunyan threw out the case later in 2011, saying that the statute of limitations had run out, and besides, their argument about the Landmarks Commission needing to approve the lane made no sense because the street's not landmarked.

In 2012, an appeals judge ruled that Bunyan had to hold an evidentiary hearing on the pilot project issue, because a trial would set back the legal clock. The long-delayed hearing consisted of former Department of Transportation officials being grilled over the minutia of community board meeting minutes and emails from angry constituents, some of whom were about to sue them, to show that while the DOT never publicly referred to the bike path as a trial, its agents also largely failed to correct reporters, local residents, and politicians who were using the term, such as Councilman Brad Lander.

Doing the grilling was a team of lawyers from the high-powered firm Gibson Dunn, which is representing the opposition groups Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Seniors for Safety pro bono, for reasons unclear.

Street-safety activist and Park Slope resident Eric McClure was on hand for the surprise ruling, and said that Bunyan came back from a 10-minute break after closing arguments and laid it down in a single sentence.

"I didn’t have any anticipation he would rule right away like that," McClure said. "On the one hand, there’s certainly part of me that hoped that Judge Bunyan would rule for the city and this lawsuit would be done once and for all. On the other hand, if the case does proceed on its merits, I think the bar for the petitioners would be nearly impossible. The ideal outcome would be to set precedent so that this kind of scurrilous lawsuit is prevented in the future."

The basis of the lawsuit is that the DOT acted arbitrarily and capriciously in installing the bike path, and the anti-lane neighbors contend that the agency fudged data to justify the redesign.

McClure said no future court date was set today. The DOT could appeal the ruling.

City Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci wrote in an email, "This ruling is a technical and procedural part of the case. We are very confident that we will win on the merits."

In previous coverage, we have emphasized the affluence and political connections of the small group opposing the lane, but former deputy mayor and Sanitation commissioner Norman Steisel begs to differ, claiming to have "hundreds" of allies in the fight, "many" of them "young people who bike who had doubts" about the lane.

Asked if he could put me in touch with some of these skeptical young cyclists, Steisel said he'd look into it, "But I don’t think that’s going to happen."

We've reached out to Steisel and his fellow activist Louise Hainline for further comment on the ruling. We'll update if we hear back.