City says condo violated deal keeping bikers off public roads – Queens Daily Eagle
By Jacob Kaye
Owners of a condominium in Astoria were found to be in violation of their agreement with the city after posting a sign restricting access to bicycles on a public greenway behind their apartment building.
Shore Towers Condominium, located at the south end of Astoria Park, has had a zoning violation imposed by the New York City Department of Buildings for hanging a sign on a fence stating that bikes, skates Inline skates, skateboards and scooters were not permitted on a public waterfront. Greenway.
The building occupancy certificate – a document issued by the city’s building department that describes a building’s legal use – states that Shore Towers, which maintains public space privately, is required to “provide access at [the] pedestrian and bicycle path for residents and non-residents.
Following the Eagle‘s report on sign, the Building Department sent inspectors to the building at 25-40 Shore Blvd., and endorsed what a group of cyclists called QNS Ride has been saying for years – the condo cannot block cyclists.
“I’m glad the city has finally confirmed what we complained about,” said Eric Harold, founder of QNS Ride. “I hope Shore Towers will take this opportunity to see their waterfront property not as a burden but as an opportunity to help beautify the Queens waterfront and to see it as an asset to both their shareholders, their condominium owners and the community at large. “
The sign in question is no longer on the fences in front of the greenway.
Shore Towers Condominium could not be reached for comment.
The long stretch of a block of path by the water is covered in gray concrete with several benches scattered around. Although it offers a beautiful view of the East River, little has been done to beautify the space, which is surrounded by tall black fences.
“It might not be a big space that they have, but it’s still an available space,” said Harold. “It’s an empty canvas right now.”
The group of cyclists also complained about the building’s indiscriminate practice of locking the doors. Cyclists say they understand if the gates are closed at night but complain that they are sometimes not reopened in the morning.
If the gates are locked, cyclists are forced to use streets devoid of cycling infrastructure and riddled with potholes as they attempt to connect with the rest of Astoria’s waterfront greenway.
During the DOB inspector’s visit to the green lane, the doors were open and no violations were reported, according to the agency spokesperson.
“Having it open and not having the sign lets cyclists know they are free to use it,” said Harold. “It cuts a few blocks which are a bit more dangerous and allows for a shorter trip, a shorter trip and gives everyone access to the waterfront, which is rightfully ours.”
Although short, the greenway also allows for a better connection with the rest of Astoria’s waterfront cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, which cycling advocates say is lacking in the borough.
“In Queens it always feels like you have second-rate infrastructure,” said Juan Restrepo, the Queens organizer with Transportation Alternatives. Eagle in May. “Much of the waterfront is built with the idea of preserving parking and forcing you to take small detours or just take a less safe path.”
A hearing will be scheduled at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings for the building’s zoning violation, according to the DOB.
Additional reporting by Emily Lever.