Published: Friday, April 13, 2012, 9:36 AM by Michael Sedon
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A new section of bike path at New Dorp Beach Park will connect New Dorp and Midland beaches along the East Shore as the Parks Department ultimately aims to ring the Island with 50 miles of multi-use paths.
"What we are doing is helping to create a network here along the shore for bikes to ride on," said New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe at the official ground breaking for a 1.1 mile stretch of paved path. "The good news is these bike paths that go through parks are great because they keep you off the roads. They're a lot safer."
The $1.5 million project is being funded with a $1.2 million grant from the state Department of Transportation, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg allocated the additional $300,000 of city funds to complete the path.
The project is expected to be completed near the end of the year by Staten Island contractor Steve Margarella, who Benepe praised for his past work with the city and also for hiring locally.
Benches are included in the path's design, and there has been some "open space" left along the path for future development, which could include adult workout stations, an initiative the city Parks Department recently began pursuing for its parks in the last year, said Staten Island Borough Parks Commissioner Adena Long.
"There will be an additional parking lot that's being built as part of the project," Ms. Long said. "And in fact we are looking at outdoor gyms throughout the Island, and the East Shore in general is definitely on my list of priorities."
Also last year park lands operated by the city, state and federal governments signed an agreement to work together in future developments, such as this bike path, said Linda Canzanelli, superintendent of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
"Last June Mayor Bloomberg and secretary of the Interior Ken Salizar signed an agreement to work together and to manager our parks irregardless of the boundaries," Ms. Canzanelli said. "This bike path is one of the great examples of how working together really does make the best use of tax dollars that support all of our parks."
In the last 10 years about $113 million has been spent for 161 park improvements on Staten Island, and there is an additional $83 million either being spent right now or in the budget, Benepe said.
State and local legislators along with the borough president have been "very active" in bringing much of that money to Staten Island, Benepe added.