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Local Groups Break Ground at Brooklyn Bike Park

7 May 2013 No Comment
Left to right Martin,George,Blake,Matthew,Daniel,Chris,Jim,Guy and Christopher present the track design.

L to R, Martin, George, Blake, Matthew, Daniel, Chris, Jim, Philip and Christopher present the track design.

Ten volunteers from local MTB groups gathered in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to pitch in on the ground breaking effort for the borough’s first bike park. Led by course builder and designer Jim Dellavalle of Pennsylvania, group leaders met to develop an action plan to manage the construction of the park, which is slated to open on Memorial day weekend, May 27th. The park is one of a variety of interim community uses planned for Site E of the Domino Sugar Factory site, which has been made available by Two Trees Management for residents to enjoy before construction begins on the Domino redevelopment next year.

The bike park and adjacent community space will transform what was recently a vacant 55,000 square foot lot on Kent Avenue between South 3rd and South 4th Streets. The mixed-use space will include a reading room, community green space and local food vendors as part of Two Trees’ commitment to provide great neighborhood spaces.

While the the park will have limited hours, the operating schedule has yet to be determined. Once opened, Local shop Ride Brooklyn will assume operation of the park with an onsite Kiosk providing basic repairs, Information and free bike and helmet rentals to patrons looking to give dirt a try.

Ride Brooklyn is currently developing a website for the park.  The planned site will be easy to navigate and provide a simple concept of what the bike park offers. Pages are to include a downloadable waiver and trail map, mission statement, event page with calendar and most importantly, a place for volunteers to sign up for scheduled maintenance days.

Pete Kocher of Ride Brooklyn and George Zilahi prepare to install silt fence along Kent ave.

The yet-to be named bike park is a three component design, featuring two pump-tracks and a skills loop. The tracks are surrounded by an XC-style trail with several skills stations. These three unique elements allow riders with no introduction to the sport to learn basic skills and practice drills designed to mimic on-trail experiences.   Youth and adult programming at the Domino park will be a key part of it’s operation. To ensure that success, the New York City Mountain Bike Association (NYCMTB) and Brooklyn Mountain Bike (BKMTB) leaders will conduct free skills clinics and track maintenance seminars to teach riders about trails.    The concept is quite fascinating if you think about it……people of all ages and abilities. Learning and celebrating dirt culture, growing the sport. The enthusiasm reflected by the community around projects like these are the key to opening up legit MTB trails in urban environments.

Chris and guy taking shots with the lazer range finder.

Chris Steffens and Philip Kiracofe take shots with the lazer range finder.

NYCMTB is leading the efforts in NYC to establish bike parks in each borough as support vehicles to the larger trail networks that exist here. Tasked with the maintenance efforts for the park, NYCMTB will hold free maintenance seminars covering all aspects of trail maintenance at the site starting the weekend of May 17th. Stay tuned here for more details as the programming schedule develops.

Arguably one of the most dynamic track designers in the country, Jim Dellavalle’s bike park designs incorporate a schedule of plants, trees and shrubs native to their area which are sustained by a system of rain water recapture designed into the track. It becomes a hydrological study of sorts for park users during/after rain events, and is a great way to introduce new riders to the rich environment found just alongside their local trails.  The empty site is situated on a slope and as the park develops, it will incorporate a series of shallow ponds within the track to capture runoff from the upper community spaces of the park and the track itself. This collected water is then able to reabsorb into the ground and nurture the new plants and trees within and around the track.

Jim explains stormwater management concepts to participants at Saturday's ground breaking.

Jim explains stormwater management concepts to participants at Saturday's event

Stormwater management is one of the most critical considerations in any development. Ensuring that the  total runoff from a 100+ year rain event will not exceed the capacity of the system and release into the street or sewers is paramount in securing approvals for parks like these. Well designed plans are the first step toward making a convincing case to your city council, and these principles were adhered to closely when developing the Domino site.

George Zilahi of BKMTB prepares a prototype culvert system.

BKMTB has stepped up to help manage volunteer coordination at the site. One of several MTB communities in NYC, BKMTB is leading the push towards growing volunteerism around local riding opportunities, and sustaining MTB culture in one of the most densely populated areas on the planet.

While volunteers are welcome, construction regulations prohibit access to the site outside of advertised volunteer events. Interested parties are strongly encouraged to check in with BKMTB.com or NYCMTB.com to keep up on upcoming volunteer opportunities and events.

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