Bicyclists will have to endure another summer of rubble on the Plumb Beach bike path, as the city has again postponed repairs to the 300 feet of asphalt swept away by Hurricane Ida in 2009.
Authorities from the Parks Department confirmed to Sheepshead Bites that work on the Plumb Beach bike path – part of the popular Shore Parkway Greenway – will not begin at least until the Army Corps of Engineers replenishes sand at Plumb Beach. That task is not expected to begin until early fall.
Once that’s done, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will need to assess the area and give the green light for a new bike path, according to Martin Maher, Parks Department chief of staff. Then the Parks Department will work with the local elected officials and the Department of Transportation to begin repairs.
The bike path was destroyed by Hurricane Ida in 2009, pulling 300 feet of asphalt into the sea, washing away a portion of Plumb Beach, and making the Belt Parkway vulnerable to future storms. In 2010, the city finally prepped the path for reconstruction, clearing away broken asphalt and laying down gravel – but declared the project complete before laying new pavement for bikers.
This makes it the third summer in a row in which bicyclists are forced to either dismount and walk 300 feet across the gravel, or, as many do, take their bikes around the guardrail and ride on the eastbound Belt Parkway’s right lane.
But even with a total of approximately $9 million going to repairs around the bike path – including the Army Corps beach replenishment project and a brand new city park at the bike path’s entrance on Brigham Street – it’s not clear if any funding has been set aside for the bike path itself.
When Councilman Lew Fidler announced that he had secured nearly $4 million in funding for the development of Brigham Street Park, he said he had made clear to Parks officials that he wanted a portion of the funds to cover the bike path repair.
“When I went out to the site with Parks Department a few months ago, I told them that I wanted the path reconstructed within the project, that it made no sense to leave it undone,” Fidler told Sheepshead Bites yesterday. “We have since gotten an additional sum of money from Assemblyman Alan Maisel [for Brigham Park] that would likely cover it.”
However, while Parks gobbled up the new funds, the agency seems to have missed the message. In a statement to Sheepshead Bites, they wrote, “Bike path reconstruction is not included in the project scope for Brigham park.”
During last night’s Sheepshead Bay / Plumb Beach Civic Association meeting, Parks Chief of Staff Maher took public input on the Brigham Park project, and noted that Fidler did indeed make clear that the bike path would be reconstructed – but not from the park’s budget.
That means that before work can be done on the bike path, residents and cyclists will not only have to wait for for the Army Corps to wrap up sand replenishment, but also for the city to allocate funds for the project.
All in all, Maher is still confident the path will be repaired soon.
“It’s not an impossible thing. One way or the other, it’s going to get done,” Maher told Sheepshead Bites. “The Army Corps needs to finish up, and then we’ll figure it out.”