A step in the right direction: Repairs to Bay Ridge step street

It was a steep climb, but Bay Ridge elected officials said the New York City Department of Transportation has agreed to their request to repair a step street that had fallen into disrepair endangering pedestrians who regularly use the concrete staircase.

Councilman Vincent Gentile, state Sen. Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis wrote a joint letter on June 9 to outgoing Brooklyn Transportation Joseph Palmieri requesting repairs to the 76th Street step street, a large staircase located on 76th Street between Ridge Boulevard and Colonial Road.

On Monday, Malliotakis said that Palmieri and his replacement, Acting Commissioner Keith Bray, informed her that the repairs would be made.

“I don’t know exactly when the repairs are being made, but I’m told the work will be done by the end of the year,” Malliotakis told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Residents of 76th Street said the staircase, which falls under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) because it is considered part of a city street, is in poor condition and badly in need of repair.

In their letter, Malliotakis, Golden and Gentile informed the DOT of the damaged concrete, broken railing and overall hazardous condition of the staircase.

The work will include repair to the concrete and replacement of the broken railing. 

As the Eagle reported back in June, local resident Bert Halliday has been trying to get the stairs repaired for a long time.

“The stairs are cracked and are dangerously eroding to the point that the support rods are exposed. And the railing is missing from a section of the stairs. There is no light to illuminate the stairs at night. The street lights at the top and bottom are ineffective,” Halliday told the Eagle.

Ridge Boulevard rests on a hill in Bay Ridge that is so steep, stairs were built instead of roadways to allow people to navigate their way from the boulevard to the next street over, Colonial Road.

These so-called “step streets” are located at a few points along Ridge Boulevard, including 74th Street and 76th Street, and literally take the place of paved roadways at those spots.

“A lot of people use the stairs, not just pedestrians. People use the staircase for exercise,” Halliday said.

Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, who helped Halliday organize an April 26 clean-up of the staircase in which volunteers cleared away broken bottles and other debris, said the board is also concerned about condition of the 76th Street step street.

“The 76th Street Step Street at the dead end is in very poor condition. The steps are broken and pose a hazard to residents. The grassy areas on the side of the steps are always overgrown,” Beckmann wrote in an email to the Eagle.