By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bay Ridge residents navigating the tricky concrete staircase separating Ridge Boulevard from Colonial Road on 76th Street will soon have an easier time, thanks to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT), which has started repairing the passageway.
Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island), one of the elected officials who requested the repairs, said the DOT recently started fixing large cracks and other damages that were making the stairs difficult to climb.
“I would like to thank the hardworking members of the DOT for a job well done,” Malliotakis said. “It is extremely important that we keep our neighborhood in good condition. These repairs are necessary to ensure that community members can travel safely on a daily basis.”
The repairs will be completed once the fallen railing has been replaced, according to Malliotakis.
The DOT performed a series of repairs to the step street July 30 to Aug. 23.The lower approach sidewalk and curb was replaced entirely, according to DOT officials, who told the Brooklyn Eagle that 30 percent of the curb and 15 percent of the sidewalk was replaced in the upper approach. Damaged steps were replaced entirely or partially, depending on the condition.
In addition, the second landing from the bottom was replaced and miscellaneous repairs were performed as needed in the parapet walls. The cost of the entire project came in under $60,000, according to the DOT.
The staircase, called the 76th Street step street, is literally a street. The step street takes the place of a paved roadway on 76th Street between Ridge Boulevard, which is located at the top of a steep hill, and the next street, Colonial Road. Pedestrians seeking to travel between Ridge Boulevard and Colonial Road on 76th Street must navigate the stairs.
There are several step streets scattered throughout New York City, according to forgotten-ny.com, which reported that the city usually constructed steps on streets that were located on hills too steep to climb to give access to pedestrians.
Because it is considered to be part of a city street, the 76th Street step street falls under the DOT’s jurisdiction.
The steps are in poor condition and badly in need of repair, local residents told the Brooklyn Eagle.
“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,” Bay Ridge resident Bert Halliday told the Eagle in June.
Malliotakis, state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn) and Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) wrote a joint letter to DOT officials asking for repairs.
The poor condition of the staircase led to other problems, residents said. Noisy, rowdy teenagers hang out on the steps at night to drink and take drugs, unafraid of detection partly because the area is poorly lit at night, according to people who live nearby.
Back in April, Halliday organized a cleanup of the steps. More than 30 volunteers showed up to help. “When we cleaned the area, it was filled with beer bottles and small plastic bags used to hold drugs,” he said.
The volunteers tried to wipe away graffiti that was painted on one of the landings but were unable to get it off, he said.
Article was updated to include information provided by the Dept. of Transportation.