The Bayside Marina and the surrounding stretch of the Joe Michael’s Mile are set to get some much-needed upgrades by December, following a unanimous plan approval by Community Board 11.
“The overall goals of the project are to repair the Sandy damage and bring the marina facility up to a state of good repair, repave the parking lot and improve safety for bikers and pedestrians,” Matt Simmons of the Parks Department told Community Board 11 members at their Oct. 5 meeting.
The project was introduced in February 2019 and was scheduled for completion one year later, but several delays pushed back its finalization date until December.
The marina would remain largely unchanged, though many elements would be replaced by newer versions, such as the floating dock and finger piers and the concrete boat ramp. Other portions of the pier, such as the gangway and guide piles, would be replaced with sturdier materials made of aluminum and steel, respectively.
“The improvements were very noncontroversial,” Paul DiBenedetto, the Parks Committee chairperson, reported. The panel had heard the plans a few weeks prior, and only shared one concern: safety.
“I walk there and bike there on a regular basis and it’s a dangerous area because you have cars that come in, at a fairly high speed, that pull into the parking lot off the Cross Island Parkway,” DiBenedetto said of the parking area between the greenway path and highway.
Another board member noted that some greenway users opt to travel through the parking lot amid the moving cars because the path that wraps closely to the pier is too narrow to accommodate all the passersby.
Simmons pointed to steel vehicle gates that will be implemented as a barrier between the greenway and the lot as the answer, as well as timber and concrete barriers. Rumble and warning strips will also be placed in both the pedestrian area and the parking lot to alert all travelers to stay attentive.
“The acceleration lane currently now, it’s very dangerous — you don’t have the time to accelerate. You have to do zero to 50 really quick to get into the right lane in the northbound,” Simmons said of another safety concern addressed in the plan. “We were able to extend the lane to make it safer.”
The plan includes potential additional parking spaces, though at this time the area alongside the pier is designated for planting.
With its unanimous approval, the plan can soon move along to the procurement stage to meet its December deadline.
The board also discussed working with the Parks Department on another project: a potential farmers market in Crocheron Park near the pond on 35th Avenue.
“The committee, by and large, thought that was a great idea,” said DiBenedetto. The original plans were to have the market in the 32nd Avenue parking lot, but the Parks Committee worried it would be too loud for the nearby homes. Crocheron Avenue, or 35th Avenue, is maintained by Parks and would be under its jurisdiction. Other locations were also suggested, such as the Divine Wisdom parish in Douglaston, but nothing was finalized.