Queensbridge Park Greenway Path Looking Great — Except for the Illegal Parking

The path linking Queens Plaza to Vernon Boulevard was recently repaved and striped. Officials are still working to clear away the cars.

Soon, this greenway segment next to the Queensbridge Houses should actually function as as a greenway. Photo: David Meyer
Soon, this greenway segment next to the Queensbridge Houses should actually function as as a greenway. Photo: David Meyer

Earlier this week, new pavement and bike lane markings went down on the walking and biking path that connects the western Queens waterfront to Queens Plaza and the Queensboro Bridge. The path is still cluttered with illegally parked cars, but that’s about to change, according to DOT.

The quarter-mile path — which is technically a part of Queensbridge Park — has been lined with illegally parked vehicles for at least the last year. Before the repaving, it was hard to tell that the unmarked asphalt, sandwiched between Queensbridge Houses and Parks Department property, was supposed to be a greenway segment. It looked more like a back alley for overflow parking or a quick driving shortcut linking Vernon Boulevard, Queensbridge Houses, and 21st Street.

A few weeks ago, DOT towed the cars to a nearby location and put down new asphalt and markings. It looks a lot better. But now that the markings have dried, people are parking illegally on the path again, which means they’re also driving on what’s supposed to be a car-free route.

With funding allocated by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer to build a new field house by the waterfront and rehabilitate the Queensbridge “Baby” Park, located alongside the greenway path, DOT and the Parks Department want to ensure safe walking and biking access. DOT says it will “work with the NYPD and DSNY to clear any illegally parked vehicles as well as remove derelict and abandoned vehicles from this parkland.” (At the foot of the Queensboro Bridge by Vernon Boulevard, sidewalks that last year had been cluttered by parked cars, some of them obviously abandoned, are now clear and unobstructed, but that is not Parks Department land.)

Some of the cars on the path display parking placards from city agencies, others are obviously abandoned, but most belong to residents of Queensbridge Houses. A staging area for construction had taken up NYCHA permit parking spaces, which are available to residents for a low fee, and car owners started using the greenway as a free parking lot. Now the staging area is gone but the greenway parking habit remains.

This car is technically parked on park-land. Photo: David Meyer
This car is technically on parkland. Photo: David Meyer

Last year, the Parks Department said it tickets illegally parked cars “when they are observed,” but yesterday only two of the two dozen or so vehicles parked in the path had been given tickets.

At this point, that’s intentional, according to one DOT official. Over the next few weeks, DOT plans to work with NYCHA and the Queensbridge Houses Tenants Association to inform residents that the path is off-limits for parking. After that, the no-parking rules will be enforced.

And then, finally, there will be a safe walking and biking connection between the waterfront, Queens Plaza, and the bridge, unencumbered by motor vehicles.

queensbridge park gway3
Photo: David Meyer
  • JarekFA

    jesus christ the bending over backwards we do for car drivers in this city. Just insane.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Enforcement never seems to last. Curbs, granite blocks and bollards are the only long-term solution.

  • guest

    I run this stretch regularly and always wondered how come nobody makes noise about this. I figured it’s a lost cause, given that the sidewalk parking situation under the bridge & even along Vernon is often just as outrageous. Glad to hear this is being talked about but agree with others that occasional enforcement won’t be enough; they need solid bollards (not even that flex stuff). There are multiple ways to drive in there from inside NYCHA, and the drivers aren’t shy about driving on the grass, so the bollards would need to be placed in several locations.

  • Vooch

    Bollards Bollards Bollards

  • I’m so happy this is happening. We tried this route several months ago and it was almost impassible.

  • As my wife said, just put up signs everywhere and place them on every parked car windshield and along the path and inside the Queensbridge Houses that simply say, “Starting (date) every car parked along the Queensbridge Park Greenway will be towed and fined. There are no exceptions. NYC DOT Policy.”

  • William Lawson

    Cyclists should carry around with them large stickers like the Sanitation dept puts on cars which block street cleanings. The kind of stickers you have to go at with a scraper for a week to remove. Just put “I AM AN ASSHOLE” on them or something like that.

  • Andrew
  • William Lawson

    Damn them

  • NYCyclist

    I’ve always fantasized about someone on a bicycle riding by illegally parked cars with a spray paint can…

  • dan

    How hard is it for the NYPD and DSNY to just walk this path one morning and ticket every single car? Shouldn’t take that long.