Proposed East River Bike Bridge Wins CB Committee’s Backing
UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — An Higher East Facet neighborhood board committee voted unanimously this week to maneuver ahead with a doable decision backing the development of a brand new pedestrian and bicycle bridge between Queens and Manhattan.
The vote Wednesday night time adopted a presentation by Samuel I. Schwartz, a former metropolis site visitors commissioner who’s now a most important drive behind the push for the brand new, car-free bridge, which comes amid a surge in cycling through the coronavirus pandemic.
No main bridge has been constructed into the town’s central enterprise district for the reason that Manhattan Bridge was accomplished in 1909, Schwartz informed Group Board 6’s transportation committee.
The present infrastructure does little to accommodate cyclists — just one p.c of the three.8 million individuals who enter the Manhattan enterprise district day by day achieve this on a bicycle.
“I have been excited about this for nicely over a decade,” Schwartz stated.
That led Schwartz, together with a gaggle of different engineers and the agency T.Y. Lin Worldwide, to design the Queens Ribbon, a modern suspension bridge that will hyperlink Lengthy Island Metropolis in Queens, Roosevelt Island, and Midtown East. The plans have been first revealed in June.
The bridge itself would value an estimated $100 million, Schwartz stated, plus about $50 million to assemble the terminus factors on every finish. It could be about 20 toes vast, with separated lanes for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The primary concern raised by board members Wednesday was the bridge’s value, given the town’s dire pandemic-era monetary state.
In response, Schwartz identified that the timeline between a undertaking’s idea and approval typically lasts as much as seven years, which means the funding wouldn’t be wanted till round 2027. Plus, he argued, actual property builders could also be prepared to contribute, on condition that the bridge would terminate close to the sought-after Long Island City development site previously eyed by Amazon for its canceled headquarters.
Schwartz additionally pointed to the dozens of main building initiatives that the town launched into through the Nice Melancholy, arguing that the present disaster was no completely different.
“The most important pondering occurred throughout probably the most dire occasions in our historical past,” Schwartz stated.
Board member Ann Seligman additionally advised that the bridge ought to terminate on East forty eighth Road in Manhattan — reasonably than East 51st, the present plan — to encourage closing the remaining gap on the East River Greenway. Schwartz stated the terminus spot was versatile.
The committee’s 11 members voted unanimously to deliver a decision to the complete board calling for the bridge to be constructed.
Finally, Schwartz goals to assemble a complete of three pedestrian bridges, with the others connecting Brooklyn with Decrease Manhattan, and Manhattan’s West Facet with New Jersey.
Metropolis Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in June that she and her workforce would contemplate Schwartz’s proposals. The bridge would additionally want state approval with the intention to be constructed.