On the beaten path: Park trails are walkways to the danger zone

On the beaten path: Park trails are walkways to the danger zone
Photo by Jaime Lutz

A walk in Fort Greene Park is anything but a walk in the park.

The park’s pathways are a mess, according to a recent study by the advocacy group New Yorkers for Parks, which analyzed the conditions of 43 open areas citywide and determined that the walkways running through Fort Greene’s green space are the worst of the worst.

“[In] addition to roots and natural trip hazards, surveyors encountered unacceptable amounts of broken glass,” the analysis reads.

The study calls out Fort Greene Park’s “severely deteriorating pathways,” which can make it hard for stroller-pushers, scooter-riders, and, due to standing puddles and muddy patches, shuffling pedestrians.

Neighborhood mom Kei Gilmer said she would love to see the park’s crumbling pathways improved for the safety of her daughter, Mira.

“When she uses her scooter, it gets stuck or fails,” Gilmer said. “Sometimes, there are injuries.”

The Parks Department is planning to mend some of the treacherous walkways, said agency spokesman Phil Abramson.

A $2.13-million renovation project slated to begin in the fall will reconstruct the Willoughby Street entrance, making it more accessible, and improve the paths, drainage, and landscape on the hillside, where the erosion is greatest.

Abramson said his agency will seek funding to restore or renovate the park’s remaining walkways — a process that should be ongoing, to keep parks in tip-top shape, according to New Yorkers for Parks executive director Holly Leicht.

“All pathways and stairs always just need periodic replacement,” said Leicht. “They have a finite lifespan. They are one of the most challenging problems in park maintenance.”

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.