Add This Sinkhole to the List of Indignities East River Greenway Users Have to Deal With

The sinkhole situation deteriorated for weeks before the city took action.
The sinkhole situation deteriorated for weeks before the city took action.

People biking and walking on the East River Greenway have been dealing with a widening sinkhole for weeks as DOT ignored calls to fix it, DNAinfo reports.

The hole, in the vicinity of the 23rd Street marina, was reported via 311 on July 5, and again six days later, DNAinfo says. DOT finally cordoned it off, leaving people to skirt the barrier.

The resulting pinch point was something to behold:

[T]he large obstacle reroutes cyclists and pedestrians alike through a narrow arrangement of large rocks directly next to the path.

On Wednesday evening, clusters of cyclists and pedestrians threaded their way through the rock network, carefully avoiding the conspicuously marked sinkhole on one side and a growing crowd of marina visitors on the other.

“The amount of space for people to walk or bike is dramatically reduced, and it’s dangerous,” Janet Handal, of the Waterside Tenants Association, told DNAinfo.

DOT has not provided a timeline for repairs. A Streetsblog reader who sent the above photo said a crew was there Thursday evening, so work appears to have started.

Can you imagine a sinkhole consuming a lane of Sixth Avenue and waiting three weeks for repairs to start?

The sinkhole is emblematic of the East Side greenway’s status as the red-headed stepchild of NYC bike infrastructure. It’s riddled with uncomfortable choke points, long gaps, and uneven pavement. There are plans to fill the main Midtown gap, eventually, but two long gaps along the Harlem River are languishing.

A continuous greenway could do wonders for bicycling on the East Side, as long as the city treats it as a real transportation route and doesn’t let pieces of it sink into the earth for weeks at a time.

Update: DOT sent us a statement:

DOT conducted emergency repair at the location to make it safe. The sinkhole was determined to be the result of a leak in a water pipe under NYC EDC jurisdiction. EDC has since deployed repair crews, and the hole will be covered to ensure safety until the repair work is complete.

  • Vooch

    It time to reallocate 1 motor lane of the FDR to cyclists.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Good luck with that.

  • Vooch

    I think it too soon to reallocate 2 lanes for the most efficient mode.

    Let’s start gradually by just reallocating 1 lane on the FDR to improve through-put, even though it’s a sub-optimal solution.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Parts of the ped path are also closed off between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges because of subsidence/bulkhead collapse, forcing people walking into the bike path, which has a rising hump that’s borderline dangerous to hit with a bike straight-on.

    On the design front, what’s the timeline for implementation of this project? http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/east-river-greenway-nov2016.pdf

  • AMH

    This is the norm for the East Side. Uptowners have been dealing with these for years. The only route is often through or over a bush, or a six-inch gap in barricades, and so on. This is the developing world.

  • Wilfried84

    This morning, that spot was a construction zone, and impassible. I ride in the street to get around it.