Ten Months Later, Parks Department Fills in Hudson River Greenway Hole

Greenway users need this like a hole in the head. Will the Parks Department fix it? Photo: BornAgainBikist/Twitter
Greenway users need this like a hole in the head. The Parks Department says it filled the cave-in today. Photo: BornAgainBikist/Twitter

Last June, we reported on a sinkhole in the Hudson River Greenway just north of 181st Street in Washington Heights. The Parks Department, which manages the path, said it had cordoned off the hole and was assessing the situation. As of yesterday, nothing much had changed in ten months — except the hole has filled with leaves and grown slightly larger, swallowing more of the greenway path along with it. Now, the Parks Department says it has filled in the hole as a temporary measure.

With the weather warming up, more and more people are using the greenway, which is a vital connection for bike commuters in Upper Manhattan. Streetsblog readers have contacted us to express their concern and frustration. “It’s so large at this point that you have to either dismount and walk through or ride through very carefully to avoid falling in,” wrote reader James Rather. “It’s a huge hazard.”

Streetsblog asked the Parks Department today if it has done anything to fix the hole since it first surfaced, or if it has plans for repair. This afternoon the agency said the hole is being filled in as a temporary fix:

While a long-term solution for this situation is being determined, on Monday we filled in the holes with gravel and dirt to allow users of the greenway to pass safely. Cyclists will have to dismount for a few yards. This work should be complete by Monday evening.

We’ve asked the Parks Department whether the dismount zone is just for today or will be in place indefinitely until a permanent fix is installed. Update: Parks says cyclists will “likely” have to continue to dismount after the hole is filled in.

  • Kevin Love

    I am now looking for repair announcements from the city about roads for cars that contain the words, “Due to road repairs, in this area car drivers will have to get out of their cars and push them.”

  • Alex

    Oh you mean like the closed section of the Greenway just above Chambers where they detour you and there’s a nice sign asking cyclists to dismount for about 8 blocks? Of course, no one does. But I’m just waiting to hear about a ticket sting.

  • That closed section at Chambers is ridiculous – and it’s preposterous that on the Greenway, where the bikeway is constantly clogged with runners, they ask cyclists to get off and walk for such a long period over a relatively lightly-used path. It’s one of those little signs that They don’t get it.

  • Holy cow

    I’m curious. I haven’t been up that way since the hole opened up. How is it that you can dismount and walk next to your bike, but you can’t ride through it?

    Futhermore, I’m surprised the whole thing didn’t go sliding down the hill with the winter we had this year.

  • Reader

    Remember when there was a huge gaping hole on the Brooklyn Bridge roadway and drivers had to call the city, file 311 complaints, and write letters to get it fixed?

  • BBnet3000

    While not the hazard that this is (and im guessing for most users a strictly recreational path), the Jamaica Bay path has a ~50ft section of sand where the path was washed out by Sandy that still hasnt been fixed.

    Its literally the only problem on the path (not counting a few shitty old bridges), and its quite close to the Brooklyn end of it at Emmons.

  • afk

    Part of that section was gone before Sandy, maybe from Irene? Even earlier? But Sandy left the sand section a good bit longer than it was, a few hundred feet, not 50. Unless you mean something other than just west of Plum beach, I haven’t been there in about a year I guess.

    You can see tracks in the sand where people are riding their bikes onto the belt parkway for a bit over there.

  • Kevin Love

    Sometimes a cartoon is needed to express how I really feel.


  • BBnet3000

    I do mean west of plum beach. I moved to Brooklyn after Sandy so I hadnt actually seen the path before, and the Bike Map said its from Sandy (along with parts of the path east of the Verrazano, which I think actually was from Sandy?)

    Ive seen people riding on the belt parkway when ive been there, all the way to the plum beach parking lot. It didnt occur to me that they might be trying to avoid the sand part, i assumed they were just clueless riding on Emmons all the way down the onramp.

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    You can *maybe* ride on the paved side of the greenway provided you have narrow handlebars like drops. The margin for error is next to nil. There is a grassy “median” on the other side of the pothole , between it and the concrete barrier separating the greenway from the parkway, but it’s not much wider than the narrow gap on the paved side.

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    Parks knew this pothole was a problem when it was first reported last spring. How long does it take to work on a “long-term solution”? They’ve had 9 months. I find it hard to believe that they don’t understand how potholes/sinkholes work.

  • JK

    Parks is starved for operating funds — including maintenance. Good bet Parks is waiting until they can fix the path crater as part of a capital project. Park’s budget is 1.8% of the city’s discretionary funds. ($426m of $23,767m 2014 “controllable expense” budget.) Out of those operating funds Parks not only has to maintain parks, is has to operate all of the pools, rec centers, maintain beaches, prune/plant street trees etc.

  • Clarke

    Still no word on the busted bollards they removed along the two-way buffered path on South St between John St and Old Slip…have two 311 requests in on that (one is past due). At least it’s a paper trail for when a driver enters the bike way as a high-speed passing lane and maims or kills.

  • Yak

    Don’t consider this positive news or even a 1-week fix. I have been relentlessly pursuing this issue from day 1. Please keep all of your complaints coming into the DEP, Community Board 12, City DOT, state DOT and the Parks department. The Parks department probably submitted this news for some good PR on this embarrassing problem. This is the 3-4th time they have filled this hole with either top soil, sand or gravel. This fix will be completely washed away as soon as we get some good rainfall. As of last night’s rain, the sink hole has already continued to erode. I stepped on the gravel as I squeezed through the gates and my foot sank down about 6 inches as the ground gave way underneath me. Our only option has been reduced to riding through 5 inches of sticky, slippery mud. Wheel chairs, Rollerblades, jogging strollers and trikes may not be able to pass this section at all.

    Here is a letter I got from the Parks Department on April 4th.

    Dear ______,

    NYC Parks’ Interagency Division had called an all agency meeting out on site with the various agencies that have jurisdiction in the area: the State Department of Transportation, the City Department of Transportation, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection.

    Following the meeting the State Department of Transportation did an analysis and determined that they were not responsible for the repairs, that the source of the issue was not the state segment of roadway, rather it was the City given the apparent deterioration or break of the water line under the highway. Parks did interim filling of the sinkhole and placed barriers at site. Our Interagency Coordination Division has circled back to the city agencies and we will be identifying ways to have a more permanent repair. Potential lane closures for access and mobilization make it a somewhat challenging site to address.

    We will keep you updated on the progress.

    Jennifer M Hoppa
    Administrator Northern Manhattan Parks
    Executive Director Fort Tryon Park Trust
    Fort Tryon Park Cottage
    741 Fort Washington Avenue
    New York, NY 10040

  • Yak

    …and this, 50 yards north of the sink hole taken at 8:30 am this morning. About 40 feet of water 10-12″ deep. These two problems may be related.

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  • Bike rider

    I reported this to the Borough Chief for the Parks Dept. who happens to live not far from the location. I think my note to him went into another sink hole at the parks dept.

  • afk

    A few feet after the pavement ends heading east there’s a gap in the metal railing, there might be a fire hydrant there or something, or maybe there was at one point, the hole is in that sense ‘supposed’ to be there. And yea cyclists will take that onto the highway, most of the way to the Plum Beach exit is the exit lane for it, so it’s probably one of the better places to ride a bike on a highway I guess.

    I haven’t been around there in a while, there’s a gap east of the Verrazano from Sandy? Where? Before Sandy it didn’t continue past the Toys R Us if that’s what you meant.

  • BBnet3000

    There were parts of the path that were screwed up by Sandy (again according to the NYC bike map), but as of last summer they were working on them and had actually put asphalt detours over the grass around where they were working on them.

  • So long as I don’t see the club cars with Hudson River Park personnel getting out and pushing their little cars, I feel no need to dismount. Actually, one of those club cars almost ran me over this morning within the detour zone.


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