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New Pel Bay Park bike path

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The city’s adding another missing bike link to the borough’s biggest park, and you can thank Co-op City.

Parks Department crews are now pavingba bike path connecting the southern and northern ends of Pelham Bay Park, offering riders a view of the borough’s bucolic side.

Dubbed the Hutchinson River Parkway Greenway, about 3.6 miles of bike trails will be paved, with a half-mile stretch of the Greenway abutting the parkway by Section 5 of the sprawling high-rises.

The brick path now starting to take shape will curve sharply to an underpass, towards a ramp and to the drawbridge connecting to Pelham Bay Park north.

The path itself drew concern from Riverbay Corp. ombudsman Joseph Boiko, overseeing the safety of the management firm’s residents.

“It’s a very narrow sidewalk presently,” said Boiko. “But it’ll be almost double by the time they finish the work there.”

Work on the Greenway is expected to wrap up sometime this summer.

Before the bikeway-in-progress, the only option cyclists had in crossing the south and north tips of the sprawling park was via Pelham Parkway towards Shore Road, burdening Co-op City cyclists.

The Parks Dept. project, part of the Bloomberg administra­tion’s lofty bike plan, aims to ease the tight, busy corridor at Hutchinson River Parkway East, clogged with buses, drivers and cyclists sharing a single lane.

“It’s not much room at all,” said Stephanie Clarke, a Co-op City-born bike enthusiast waiting months to see some work being done.

The introduction of the new path has been welcoming news for Clarke, who was almost “doored,” when a car door suddenly opens as a cyclist approaches.

“To have this space where you’re free and clear is great,” said Clarke, also part of a cluster of cyclists who’ve toured the borough’s greener pastures.

“I love it,” said Clarke. “It’s opened my eyes to all the beautiful places you can go.”

But if cyclists aren’t in the mood for leafy landscapes, they can head west of the Greenway to a bike route currently being worked on by the city Department of Transportation.

The DOT’s traffic de-congestion plan will create bike lanes along the three-lane stretch of Co-op City Blvd. between Bartow and Baychester avenues, a high crash corridor, according to DOT officials.

DOT is also expected to create additional bike lanes at 222nd Street from east to west, leading into Shoelace Park, connecting to the Bronx River bike path.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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