Queensbridge Park Greenway Path Looking Great — Except for the Illegal Parking

The path linking Queens Plaza to Vernon Boulevard was recently repaved and striped. Officials are still working to clear away the cars.

Soon, this greenway segment next to the Queensbridge Houses should actually function as as a greenway. Photo: David Meyer
Soon, this greenway segment next to the Queensbridge Houses should actually function as as a greenway. Photo: David Meyer

Earlier this week, new pavement and bike lane markings went down on the walking and biking path that connects the western Queens waterfront to Queens Plaza and the Queensboro Bridge. The path is still cluttered with illegally parked cars, but that’s about to change, according to DOT.

The quarter-mile path — which is technically a part of Queensbridge Park — has been lined with illegally parked vehicles for at least the last year. Before the repaving, it was hard to tell that the unmarked asphalt, sandwiched between Queensbridge Houses and Parks Department property, was supposed to be a greenway segment. It looked more like a back alley for overflow parking or a quick driving shortcut linking Vernon Boulevard, Queensbridge Houses, and 21st Street.

A few weeks ago, DOT towed the cars to a nearby location and put down new asphalt and markings. It looks a lot better. But now that the markings have dried, people are parking illegally on the path again, which means they’re also driving on what’s supposed to be a car-free route.

With funding allocated by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer to build a new field house by the waterfront and rehabilitate the Queensbridge “Baby” Park, located alongside the greenway path, DOT and the Parks Department want to ensure safe walking and biking access. DOT says it will “work with the NYPD and DSNY to clear any illegally parked vehicles as well as remove derelict and abandoned vehicles from this parkland.” (At the foot of the Queensboro Bridge by Vernon Boulevard, sidewalks that last year had been cluttered by parked cars, some of them obviously abandoned, are now clear and unobstructed, but that is not Parks Department land.)

Some of the cars on the path display parking placards from city agencies, others are obviously abandoned, but most belong to residents of Queensbridge Houses. A staging area for construction had taken up NYCHA permit parking spaces, which are available to residents for a low fee, and car owners started using the greenway as a free parking lot. Now the staging area is gone but the greenway parking habit remains.

This car is technically parked on park-land. Photo: David Meyer
This car is technically on parkland. Photo: David Meyer

Last year, the Parks Department said it tickets illegally parked cars “when they are observed,” but yesterday only two of the two dozen or so vehicles parked in the path had been given tickets.

At this point, that’s intentional, according to one DOT official. Over the next few weeks, DOT plans to work with NYCHA and the Queensbridge Houses Tenants Association to inform residents that the path is off-limits for parking. After that, the no-parking rules will be enforced.

And then, finally, there will be a safe walking and biking connection between the waterfront, Queens Plaza, and the bridge, unencumbered by motor vehicles.

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Photo: David Meyer