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

4:26 PM EDT on July 21, 2017

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.

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