Bay Ridge

Repairs postponed again for collapsed ramp at Shore Road Park

Construction To Begin In Late August

July 31, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Shore Road Park ramp closed off at 97th Street in Bay Ridge. Eagle photo by John Alexander

Repair work has not yet begun on the collapsed Shore Road Park ramp at 97th Street. The long-delayed repairs were promised to begin by early summer. Well, summer’s halfway through and nothing has been done. Now the Parks Department is promising that work will begin at the end of August, marking yet another postponement on repairs that were supposed to have started last fall.

Brooklyn’s public parks are among the jewels in the borough’s crown, and all neighborhoods take pride in their local city parks. For residents with disabilities, the elderly and coaches carrying large bags of sports equipment, getting to Shore Road Park without the ramp has not an easy task. With the 97th Street entrance closed off, the other closest entries are located at 93rd and Shore Road, and 100th Street. However, both of those entrances require the use of stairs, and the nearest ramp entrance is by the Belt Parkway, which is a greater distance away.

City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, long a proponent of seeing the park ramp repairs get underway, invited the Brooklyn Eagle to join him at the ramp site, survey the situation and offer an update on the progress that has been made.

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Gentile originally addressed the issue in a letter to residents in the neighborhood detailing his frustrations with limited access to the park.

“As you know, this was a complete structural collapse. It wasn’t just a pothole, but a complete structural collapse here,” said Gentile. The complete understructure of the ramp was corroded so none of it was safe.

Gentile said that the problem is that they can’t simply replace the ramp with a similar one. “The angle of the incline here is so steep that it poses a real challenge because unlike when this ramp was put in 60 or 70 years ago, the city now has to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which means that they have to construct the ramp in such a way that those with disabilities, either canes or walkers or wheelchairs, need to have access and use the ramp to get down to the park. So, that required a complete redesign of the access, including a design team taking measurements, looking through everything and then doing an actual design.”

The new design is a zig-zag that makes it a gradual decline and a gradual incline on the way back up. “They had to figure out the best way to do that and how the grade would be so that it makes it possible for a wheelchair to go up and down. So that added time to the whole project,” said Gentile.

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But after two years, residents and parkgoers are frustrated with the amount of time it has taken to begin the repairs, with one postponement after another.

“Now that the design has been approved,” said Gentile, “it’s gone through all the approval processes, the RFP (Request for Proposal) had to go out for a contractor. The RFP period has to last 60 to 80 days, and now that’s over with. The Parks Commissioner called me last week to let me know that they are scheduled to start work here at the end of August.”

With fall fast approaching, the problem is even more urgent as the St. Patrick’s Field will be utilized for a variety of sports including soccer and football. “Well, people have to understand that when the construction begins it may take 12 months,” said Gentile.

And that would certainly impact next spring’s little league baseball in the park.

The reason for the most recent delay according to Gentile is that the RFP process took longer than expected. The vetting process was lengthier than anticipated. They had to vet everyone who bid on the project.

“I know the inconvenience it has caused,” said Gentile. “I’ve been pushing them. From the average person’s view of it, it’s just a ramp, so just pave it. But that’s the problem. It’s not just a simple ramp. What they sometimes estimate as design and contract time sometimes takes longer than it should.”

Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann is confident that the work will begin soon. “I was delighted to learn that construction to repair the collapsed pathway at the 97th Street entrance to Shore Road Park will commence shortly,” said Beckmann. 

“I understand this has been an inconvenience since its abrupt closure following the collapsed pavement.  The good news is that work will begin very shortly to restore the pathway that has been in dire need of refurbishment for many years and its new ADA compliant design will provide greater access to all!” 

As far as the end game for the ramp, Gentile said they finally have a contractor in place and are ready to go. He feels that this is it and the work will commence next month. “I said to them that by the end of August, you have got to be here and start this.”

 


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