The Kissena Park Velodrome opened in 1963, part of a design by Robert Moses. The following year, Olympic cycling trials were held at the track. But in the intervening years, as interest in track cycling waned, the track fell into disrepair. Now as the sport is gaining in popularity, more work is needed to make the velodrome a safe place for participants and spectators.
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic has been leading the fight to have the Kissena Park Velodrome upgraded. Click below to sign a petition requesting that the Kissena Park Velodrome gets the improvements it needs (the text of the petition follows the button).
We, the undersigned, support the maintenance and upgrade of a velodrome bicycle track in our community. We recognize the benefits of providing this type of sports facility in our community and believe that the city and state should provide funding for a facility and also contribute to its redesign and ongoing maintenance.
Our mission is to re-build and maintain a velodrome in Queens that will be safe and accessible to the greater community for the purposes of competitive, educational and recreational use.
This will be a venue that is open to cyclists of all abilities and will facilitate the development of prospective youth participants and competitors. We, the undersigned are increasingly concerned, as we believe the velodrome needs to be fixed, as it’s quickly dilapidating. To fully realize its potential as both a community attraction and cycling facility, we are optimistic that its development could bring in increased economic activity to Queens.
We also believe that if it is allowed to deteriorate, the opportunity for renovation may be gone forever and future generations will not benefit.
In consideration of the above, it is important that the community have a chance to discuss and support this proposal. Therefore, we also support opportunities for residents, advocates, and government officials to engage in dialogue to ensure continued interest in and growth of our efforts to provide a renowned outdoor facility for current and future cycling enthusiasts in New York.
The New Yorker created a great video showing how important the velodrome is and what bad condition it’s in.
We spoke to Assemblywoman Rozic about the Velodrome. According to her,
As one of the few velodromes across the country, the Kissena Velodrome is a track and facility we need to invest in. Partnering with local organizations and colleagues to adequately support improvements has been a priority of mine, and I look forward to ensuring it remain a functioning space to use and enjoy.
According to the American Track Race Association, there are only about 26 remaining velodromes in the United States and 8 in Canada. According to Bike Cult, there were once at least five velodromes in New York State, and the Kissena Park Velodrome the only one left standing:
- Brooklyn, Manhattan Beach Velodrome, 1890s, outdoor, 1/3 mile (536 meters), cement, 30,000 spectators, operated by Billy Brady.
- Brooklyn, Coney Island Velodrome, 1930s-1940s, outdoor, 1/6 mile (268 meters), 10,000 seats.
- Queens, Kissena Park Velodrome, 1963-, renovated 2004, outdoor, 384 meters, asphalt, 17 degree banking.
- New York, Madison Square Garden, 1895-1925, indoor, 1/10 mile (161 meters), wood.
- New York, New York Velodrome, 1921-1930, outdoor, 1/6 mile (268 meters), wood, 20,000 seats.
Without the needed repairs, the Kissena Park Velodrome will become unusable and eventually succumb to the fate of the other tracks. Please ask your friends to support the velodrome by signing this petition so this part of Queens history can live on for generations to come.