There’s something trippy going on south of Fort Greene Park — especially to those of us with less-than-stellar eye-foot coordination.
The sidewalk along the park’s DeKalb Avenue edge is sinking. Literally. It’s going down like the Titanic, albeit more slowly. It’s been doing that for at least eight years, according to local leaders.
I’ve been tripping on the uneven hexagon pavers between Washington Park and Fort Greene Place for nearly as long. Granted, I have the coordination of a toddler. But other, more graceful types, seconded my opinion.
“It’s a trip hazard,” said Ruth Goldstein, the founding chair of the Fort Greene Park Conservancy. “I don’t walk on that side usually, because it is uneven and there are puddles.”
Goldstein told Greene Acres that the problem dates back nearly 10 years — a decade! And still, nothing has been done.
Why has it taken so long for a city agency — any city agency — to address the problem?
Maybe it has something to do with this: “Parks keeps saying this is a problem below the surface [and, therefore, the purview of the Department of Environmental Protection], and DEP keeps sayings, ‘No, it’s not,’” said Rob Perris, the district manager of Community Board 2.
The agencies demonstrated better coordination when responding to this reporter: they unanimously agreed that it’s the Parks Department’s responsibility.
Our favorite Parks flack, Phil Abramson, said that the 10-year hold-up was due to one thing only: money.
“The sidewalk is made of historic hex-block pavements, so to repair the sidewalk and have it be consistent with the surrounding pavements, we need capital funds to restore it,” said Abramson. “Indeed, the Parks Department is making every effort to obtain these funds.”
Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) confirmed that she was seeking funding, but added that before Parks could begin work, DEP would have to repair the pipes underneath the sidewalk.
That the two agencies are cooperating at all — or merely claiming to cooperate — was news to Perris, who took the opportunity to encourage the un-dynamic duo to “address this situation. It’s long overdue. And while they’re at it, they can put the benches back too.”
Seriously. For the sake of the city’s liability-prone coffers, if nothing else.
Though bucolically lined with horse chestnut trees, this sidewalk is a menace. It ripples, as though the hexagon pavers are breaking into tides, humps in the middle, and sinks into depressions along either side. It may be the loveliest hazard-strewn sidewalk in the borough.
Oh, and there are gaping holes. At the intersection of South Oxford Street, a deep rutted depression lies in wait for the next weak ankle, like a Venus flytrap waiting for its prey to land. And then snap! It’s broken.
But that hole can’t hold a candle to the foot-deep chasm between South Elliot and Fort Greene places. That one, with its discarded Slim Jim wrapper, is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Then again, which agency would the litigant sue?
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