This Might Just Be The Worst “Protected” Bike Path in the City

The Parks Department-overseen greenway from Third to Seventh avenues in Bay Ridge is classified as top-notch, but it is not.

The portion of the bike path between Sixth and Seventh avenues in Bay Ridge is overgrown. Photos by Gersh Kuntzman
The portion of the bike path between Sixth and Seventh avenues in Bay Ridge is overgrown. Photos by Gersh Kuntzman

Officially, the cycling path through Leif Ericson Park in Bay Ridge is on the map as a “protected” bike lane — so why do I feel so uncared for?

It’s probably because this bike lane is one of the worst in the city, with missing signs, missing curb cuts, potholes, bumps, garbage and directional signs that lead directly into parked cars.

bike map bay ridge 1

And it’s particularly frustrating because the Department of Transportation is in the process of reconfiguring Wakeman Place to link this Parks Department-controlled disaster to the popular Belt Parkway bike path that stretches five miles along the harbor from Owls Head Park to Bensonhurst Park.

Locals have urged us to draw attention to the conditions along the path, so here’s our groundbreaking (or ground broken!) report:

From Ridge Boulevard to Third Avenue

This one-block stretch is not technically part of the Bike New York map, but it is Parks Department land and it is used by cyclists. Although why, we have no idea…

On the Bike NYC map, the path between Third and Seventh avenues appears to be fully protected. It is not.

There’s no curb cut to allow for access, and the broken pavement is lined with garbage and, at least on Thursday, a man sleeping on a broken air conditioner. And without proper signs, it’s easy to think that the path wants cyclists to continue straight onto the Belt Parkway, which would not be a good move.

belt

Oh, and there’s another TV in the same stretch!

garbage on bike path in bay ridge

From Third Avenue to Fourth Avenue

Street markings and signs direct cyclists onto this stretch, which is maintained only slightly better. A huge bump hides in the shadows…

bump in br bike path

And just before Fourth Avenue, the bike path turns into a sidewalk, with predictable results…

Cars are often parked at the Fourth Avenue entrance to the Leif Ericsson greenway. Photo by Gersh Kuntzman
Cars are often parked at the Fourth Avenue entrance to the Leif Ericsson greenway. Photo by Gersh Kuntzman

From Fourth Avenue to Fifth Avenue

Just when you start feeling that the city’s got your back, it reminds you that it doesn’t. Midway between the two avenues, the bike path intersects with a Belt Parkway approach road. There’s no curb-cut, crosswalk or anything else to alert drivers that pedestrians and cyclists are expected to cross here.

bay ridge bike path

And there’s no “No Parking” sign to insure that cars don’t block what is mapped as a bike path but, in fairness to drivers, is not labeled as such on the street. With the cars parking along the street, the usable bike path goes from 10 feet to 10 inches wide…

When cars block the bike lane, this is how wide the path becomes. Photo by Gersh Kuntzman
When cars block the bike lane, this is how wide the path becomes. Photo by Gersh Kuntzman

From Fifth Avenue to Sixth Avenue

The bumpy pavement isn’t half bad, but there’s no curb cut on one side of Sixth Avenue, and no crosswalk to alert drivers to be safe.

Also, sharing what is supposedly a “protected” bike path with pedestrians is sometimes difficult…

Photo by Gersh Kuntzman
Photo by Gersh Kuntzman

From Sixth Avenue to Seventh Avenue

The pathway is so overgrown that it’s unsafe, as you can see in the lead image at the top of this story.

Plus, when you get to the end, the path ends abruptly, with parked cars and no curb cut. Perhaps it’s for the best, though: The bike path ends at the BQE service road.

When you finally get to the end, the bike path runs into a parked car and a highway service road.
When you finally get to the end, the bike path runs into a parked car and a highway service road.

An aide to Council Member Justin Brannan said the Bay Ridge Democrat is looking into constituent complaints about the path.

“If you look at the bike map, it makes it look this is a real bike lane,” said Chris McCreight. “But it’s not.”

An email to the Parks Department was not immediately answered. This story will be updated when it is.

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