Renovation of Crumbling, Dangerous 215th Step-Street Delayed [Updated]

Residents of Inwood were excited by last year’s news that the 215th Step-Street — a block-long staircase linking Broadway to residential blocks in the northern reaches of the neighborhood — would soon be receiving a long-awaited rehab. But officials announced last week that the project will again be delayed.

215steps.jpgThe 215th Step-Street: still broken. Photo: Brad Aaron

Step-streets, staircases built in places deemed too steep for roads, are fairly common in Upper Manhattan, and can also be found in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island. With its cracked stairs and broken lamps, the 215th Step-Street has been in dire need of repair for a decade or more. Last August, DOT officials joined Assembly Member Adriano
Espaillat at the foot of the stairs to announce that a reconstruction
project would finally be completed in 2009.

It was at Espaillat’s June 25 "town hall" meeting, reports neighborhood blog Inwoodette, that the Department of Design and Construction broke the news — to a chorus of boos — that "pre-design" work will not be complete until October 2010. Said a second local blogger, Jewyorican: DDC personnel "made it sound like we wanted the city to build the 215th street space elevator to the moon."

It isn’t the first time the city has promised to fix the steps only to later renege. As we reported last year, a previous commitment was made in 2005. For whatever it’s worth, Streetsblog has messages in with DDC and Community Board 12 to determine the latest project time line.

Update: From Mark Levine, chair of CB 12’s transportation committee:

A lot of us are livid about this delay. Originally construction was to begin this year (and even that was two years after the project was funded!). DDC says they are now negotiating with the consultant on the pre-design scope package for OMB review. Espaillat has contacted the mayor’s office and DDC commissioner in an effort to expedite matters.

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