Where the sidewalk ends: Cyclists demand fix for torn-up Flatbush Avenue path

Hardly a bike path: Jimmy Gannotta from Canarsie says he’s been riding along the path since he was a kid but it’s never been this bad.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

It’s Marine Park’s road to ruin.

Southern Brooklyn pedal-pushers advocates are demanding the city fix a crumbling sidewalk along Flatbush Avenue that bicyclists use to avoid cars whizzing to and from the Belt Parkway.

The pathway — on the golf course side of Flatbush Avenue just before exit 11 on the Belt Parkway — looks more like a dirt road than a safe haven for two-wheelers, and the city must fix it up before someone gets hurt, avid riders are warning.

“It is dangerous,” said Marine Parker Jim Schmidt, who rides his bike on the path nearly everyday during the summer. “The sidewalk is torn up and destroyed. The one spot that has asphalt sidewalk is cratered and crumbling.”

But the city won’t fix it, because it claims private utility workers caused the damage and are responsible for making repairs, according to a Department of Transportation spokesman.

“DOT is aware of the conditions in this area, caused by utility work. We have issued an order to repair to the utility responsible,” he said.

But agency officials refused to say what utility did the work.

The city has recently issued National Grid work permits in the area, records show. But the utility is not sure whether it is responsible for the damage, a spokeswoman said.

The bike-way’s sorry state is a sign of disinvestment in the area, another bike-rider said.

“It’s disgusting,” said Jimmy Gannotta of Canarsie. “I don’t remember it being like this when I was a kid.”

However, help may be on the way. The city is planning a protected bike path along Flatbush Avenue.

But the plans are in early stages, and officials ought to pony up and fix the sidewalk now, Schmidt said.

“The other plans they have for Marine Park, that’s great, but they are misplacing their emphasis,” he said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
A path for repairs: Avid byclists say fixing the part of Flatbush Avenue’s sidewalk that utility workers destroyed should be a top priority.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

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