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Shorely a mess! Promenade bike path is a disaster • Brooklyn Paper

Shorely a mess! Promenade bike path is a disaster

Elia Guldan, of Dyker Heights, got knocked down by a cyclist swerving to avoid cracks on the Shore Road path six weeks ago.

Residents are demanding that the city fix a section of the Shore Road Promenade that is riddled with large cracks and partially covered with sand, creating hazards for cyclists and joggers who sometimes collide with each other to avoid the roadblocks — but officials say the cost of fixing the path, upwards of $20 million, makes a renovation unlikely in the near future.

Bicyclists and walkers that use the popular waterfront path between Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge say that the strip has been neglected by the city — unlike the segment between 69th Street and the bridge, which is pristine thanks to a $20-million renovation of the two-mile stretch in 2007 after the Army Corps of Engineers officially designated the spot a disaster area — and walkers and bikers are getting impatient for a fix.

“The condition is getting worse and worse,” said Marina Kay, of Bensonhurst, who has been walking along the path for years. “It needs a complete renovation. Runners could break their legs.”

Pols agreed that the path is dangerous — but they balked at the $15- to $20-million price tag.

“It’s just a matter of money,” said John Quaglione, spokesman for state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge). “At this point in the year, there are no funds available for capital work.”

Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) said it would require city, state, and federal money to tackle the project — as it did when previous repairs were made.

“It was ultimately a combined effort that came up with the $20 million and impressed upon the Army Corps of Engineers to declare 69th Street Pier to the Verrazano Bridge an ‘emergency site’ in 2007,” he said. “We need that same brand of cooperation now.”

In the meantime, the Parks Department says that “minor” upkeep of the path is ongoing, but a complete renovation is not in the cards for now.

Toom Van Elst, of Bay Ridge, doesn’t understand why the path is so nice on the Bay Ridge side of the Verrazano Bridge, while the Bensonhurst side is nearly impassable.

“Parks does not have the funding to repair the section south of the Verrazano,” said Parks spokeswoman Meghan Lalor. “However, we would be happy to pursue such repairs if funding becomes available in the future.”

Meanwhile, cyclists and joggers are literally running into each other to avoid the mess.

Elia Guldan, a Dyker Heights schoolteacher, was training for a marathon in September when she was struck down by a cyclist who swerved to avoid a crack in the asphalt — and she has the scars to prove it.

“I went home bleeding,” she said. “I have scars on my knee and shoulder.”

Bicyclists say that the path is dangerous and damages their bikes. So some don’t even try to navigate the treacherous terrain.

“It’s horrible. I only bike from the fishing pier and back,” said Toom Van Elst, a Bay Ridge paralegal who was riding his bike on the good side of the bridge on Sunday. “There are cracks and sand everywhere. It’s dangerous.”

This is not the first time the Shore Parkway seawall and walkway has been in the news in recent months. A portion of the seawall between Bay Eighth and Bay 17th streets collapsed during Hurricane Irene, and was repaired using emergency funds from the mayor’s office.

Since then, Rep. Michael Grimm has proposed adding three feet to the seawall from 69th Street to Caesars Bay to prevent future flooding.

Cyclists have a bumpy ride on the Shore Road path in Bensonhurst.

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