Brooklyn Bridge Park velodrome to be elevated in new plan

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A $40 million indoor bike track in Brooklyn Bridge Park will offer more space for other sports after critics bashed project backers for only catering to a niche group of cyclists.

Under the new plan, designers will raise the velodrome to create an eight-foot-tall ground-floor space that accommodates teams and community groups near Pier 5.

The plan adds 3,000 extra square feet of recreation space — slightly smaller (and far shorter) than a high school basketball court — which is perfect for activities such as yoga, pilates, and weight-lifting, project supporters say.

“We discovered an overwhelming demand for diverse recreation,” said the project director Greg Brooks. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for the community.”

Some Brooklynites cheered the still-in-the works plan, saying it’s a creative way to make the most of the site.

“It’s a really imaginative way of maximizing space,” said Larry Weiss of Brooklyn Friends School, who said his students would likely use the new, low-ceilinged space for activities such as gymnastics and fencing.

Some critics say the new recreation area will still cater primarily to practitioners of niche sports, while others cited concerns about traffic in nearby neighborhoods, saying streets will be backed up unless parking spaces are added.

“Parking is not part of the plan; it raises questions about how people are going to get there,” said Jane McGroarty.

The new proposal comes after bike-boosting philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz announced he would give the largest-ever park donation in the city’s history to build a year-round recreational facility where people of all ages can rent and race fixed-gear bikes.

Rechnitz did not return calls seeking comment on Monday — but Brooks said project backers had met with more than 50 organizations to discuss the plan, adding the facility could prompt a cultural shift in the way the city enjoys and defines year-round recreation.

The facility will feature “drop in” cycling for all ages — for $10 to $32 — and be open to summer camp and after school programs and feature about 1,200 spectator seats.

At a Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Advisory Council meeting on Monday, some panel members said they would not support the project until representatives present a formal rendering and proposal.

“We need a full opportunity to go through this in detail,” said project opponent Peter Flemming.

But others — even some of the harshest critics of public-private partnerships — called the new plan a big win for Brooklyn.

“It sounds great; more recreation is what we need,” said park advocate Roy Sloane.

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Reader Feedback

Pru from Heights says:
This is great. Nice to see that the park will be in use year round. Even when it's cold there will be something to do there indoors!
Sept. 25, 2012, 9:34 am
SwampYankee from runined Brooklny says:
Jane McGroarty is is concerned about parking and is wondering how people will get to a cycling facility in Brooklyn? Hmmmmmmm, I give up. Guess there is no other way besides driving. Got us there Jane
Sept. 25, 2012, 9:52 am
ty from pps says:
Uggh... Swampy. I just found myself agreeing with you. Don't do that. It hurts.
Sept. 25, 2012, 10:52 am
SpankyWanky from spelChalunged says:
You're right Swampy. When cyclists come from, say, Boston for a competition, they'll probably bring their expensive track bikes on Amtrak, then change to the Number 2 and walk over from Borough Hall.
Sept. 25, 2012, 12:45 pm
ty from pps says:
Yeah, SpankyWanky... every venue in New York has parking to accommodate everyone for everything. I can't think of a solution... hmm... perhaps unloading your equipment and then parking somewhere else? No. That's crazy, right?
Sept. 25, 2012, 12:59 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
Ty, we agree on this. someone is paying, it's a nice facility, this will take some of the "hard core" cyclists into a more appropriate environment, everybody wins. Believe me, they could build 5 of these and it wouldn't be enough.
Sept. 25, 2012, 7:36 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
The venue will never be accessible in the way that Prospect Park is, because there is only that one street and that one bike path that run by there. Else, you have to come in from Atlantic Avenue or from the ferry landing to the north. When they complete the pedestrian ramp that comes down from the overlook that will give some additional access, but it won't help much.

Still, it will be good to have the facility there. How great would it be to practice there and see the Manhattan skyline as you do your laps.
Sept. 26, 2012, 3:03 am
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
Same old neighborhood BS - "OMG, something will change!"

This is why we don't have nice things.
Sept. 26, 2012, 9:19 am
Ian from 11211 says:
I like that they only “discovered" that people want "diverse recreation,” after the original proposal.
Sept. 26, 2012, 10:04 am
Vic from King's County says:
Is quite sad when someone is opposing this project because they believe their parking space is more important than developing a better and more competitive cycling culture and as a sport in NYC. That person needed to be slapped silly, big time.....
Sept. 27, 2012, 11:17 pm
Harry from DaHeights says:
TEN FEET???? Is that after flooring, ceiling & lighting, etc? Little on the midget size for a first floor, don't you think?
Sept. 28, 2012, 9:39 am

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