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Bike Lane Markers Missing From Rebuilt Rockaway Boardwalk

By Katie Honan | May 27, 2015 8:46am | Updated on May 28, 2015 12:09pm
 Markers on the bike lane on the new boardwalk in Rockaway Beach were missing at its opening, and it's only separated with a darker colored concrete.
Markers on the bike lane on the new boardwalk in Rockaway Beach were missing at its opening, and it's only separated with a darker colored concrete.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ROCKAWAY BEACH — This is a wheelie big whoops. 

The first stretch of the rebuilt, multi-million dollar Rockaway Beach boardwalk was unveiled last week without promised markers that were supposed to delineate the stretch's bike lane — or signage giving bikers rules of the road — leaving confused cyclists with no idea when or where they can ride.

Parks Department renderings of the new boardwalk presented at dozens of community meetings since 2014 showed a two-lane section marked with bright yellow bike-lane decals, as well as a darker concrete intended to separate it from the pedestrian walkway.

The lanes were specifically requested by the community, who asked for a designated place to ride bikes.

But when the boardwalk was officially unveiled last Friday, the bike markings were nowhere to be seen. In addition, Parks Enforcement Patrol officers were out in force over the Memorial Day weekend, stopping cyclists as they rode on the boardwalk and ordering them to get off their bikes. 

"There's no bike riding on the boardwalk. You need to dismount," PEP officers told bikers on the boardwalk over the weekend — citing a rule that bans biking on weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Only one sign on the boardwalk, which runs a half mile between Beach 97th and Beach 86th streets, had the rule displayed in its list of beach regulations. 

"The signs always tell the rules, but nothing's posted," said Larry McDermott, 63, who walked with his grandson Declan on the new boardwalk on Tuesday.

"The bike lane should be marked, it's important for pedestrians and riders," said Denise Oliva, 45, who biked from Howard Beach to check out the new boardwalk.

Community Board 14's district manager Jonathan Gaska said the bike-lane markers were supposed to be installed, but they weren't given a clear timeline by the city.

Gaska added that the lanes are one of several issues that have been left unfinished, including lights that are supposed to illuminate the boardwalk after dusk.

The correct lights originally designed for the boardwalk are on backorder, and the current ones aren't bright enough, according to Dolores Orr, the board's chairwoman, who sent an email to the Parks Department on Sunday calling attention to the outstanding issues.

"I'm hoping they get a lot done in the next week," Gaska said.

It was a confusing start for the new boardwalk, which opened Friday to pomp from politicians including Mayor Bill de Blasio. And it's the latest blunder for the multi-million dollar project, which has gone over its initial budget and is now able to spend as much as $480 million to rebuild thanks to a cash infusion from the federal government. 

The project has been delayed multiple times based on complications ranging from the piping plover hatching season to new design elements, which nearly led it to miss the Memorial Day deadline.

A spokeswoman for the Parks Department said the agency is "currently in the process of modifying our beach rules signs" to explain that biking is prohibited on the boardwalk on weekends and holidays during beach swimming hours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.

Permanent light fixtures should be installed by June, she said. The bike lane markers will be added by July 4.