Lawmaker fed up with lack of progress on ramp to popular park, threatens to sue city
Councilmember Justin Brannan, condemning the fact that the Parks Department has taken three years to finish a ramp from Shore Road to nearby ballfields as “a monument to dysfunctional bureaucracy,” has now threatened to sue the city.
“Now they’re saying June [for completion]. I said if it’s not open by June, we will sue,” Brannan, who represents Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, tweeted on Sunday
Earlier the same day, he tweeted, “There is a ramp to a popular park in my district that has been under construction for 3 years with no end in sight. 3 YEARS. 3 MILLION DOLLARS. For a RAMP.”
The ramp at Shore Road and 97th Street was closed in 2016 after its foundation collapsed. There are two other nearby entrances to Shore Park at Oliver Street and at 101st Street, but they are further away from the ballfields, which are inside the park.
This inconveniences not only young athletes and their coaches, who have to carry large bags of sports equipment, but also Parks Department workers who clean the bathrooms and perform other tasks within the park.
“That ramp has needed fixing since I was a kid. I once rode a bike down it and almost killed myself,” Brannan told the Brooklyn Eagle. He added that the ramp, built before the Americans With Disability Act of 1990, “was not ADA-compliant.”
“This has been an issue even when I was working on it for my predecessor [former Councilmember Vincent Gentile],” he said. “The Parks Department tells us they’re expediting the process, but they keep moving the date up.”
Anthony Marino, a local resident who co-founded the brooklynONE theater company and works in real estate, added that work on the ramp has proceeded “on and off” for several years. “We are waiting with great expectations for it to be finished. A lot of good people need it,” he said.
Plans for a new ramp, which would be ADA-complaint, were revealed in July 2017, according to the Eagle’s John Alexander. At the time, Brooklyn Borough Park Commissioner Marty Maher said that the park would reopen in fall 2018.
In July 2018, the Parks Department “promised Brannan that a crew would be out there every day, except for weekends, working until the ramp was complete,” Alexander reported earlier this month.
A Parks Department spokesperson, in an email, replied, “This is the first major update to this access point in decades. It required complex engineering and ADA compliance, and most importantly, it needed to be built to last.
“While we understand the inconvenience of having this entry to Shore Road Park taken offline, this project is crucial for the safety of the public and the many Little Leaguers who use the park. We look forward to reopening the ramp in June.”
The people who replied to Brannan’s Twitter post overwhelmingly agreed with him. One tweeted, “Every look at costs to do these type of jobs outside the NYC limits? It is 1/4 of the cost and jobs don’t take as long. The city needs to stop letting this happen. The city is horrible at finding decent contractors.”
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