The Tappan Zee Bridge in upstate New York has just been fast-tracked by President Obama for demolition and replacement. While bulldozers are firing up, some local officials are pleading to convert the old bridge into an elevated park and walkway, a la the High Line. Paul Feiner, Greenburgh Town Supervisor, presents a compelling argument for greening the walkway, one that benefits both the environment and the city’s pocketbook. Feiner proposes that transforming the 3 mile bridge into a suburban High Line would not only link Rockland and Westchester Counties in a unique and never before seen way, but would also increase property value, tourism, environmental awareness, and physical activity. Not to mention, preserving the Tappan Zee Bridge would also save the city hundreds of millions of dollars in demolition costs.
Like the High Line, the Tappan Zee Walkway would be funded by private donors, which is why the city would save so much money. Many people think the walkway is a long shot, but Feiner has pointed to the initial resistance that the High Line experienced. As we all know, the world famous park is now a sensational development, surpassing all expectations and one of the hottest spots in New York City.
The Tappan Zee Walkway would be very similar to the Walkway Over the Hudson, a hidden gem in Poughkeepsie that is also an abandoned bridge revamped into an eco-friendly and financially successful project, attracting over half a million visitors in the past year. Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart, executive director of the walkway, told the Times that the total costs for building and maintaining the walkway were far less than the $50 million it would have cost to tear it down. Though the Hudson Bridge walkway is currently the longest pedestrian walkway in the world at 1.28 miles, the Tappan Zee could steal its title!
While officials seem bent on destruction, enough support may save the bridge and create yet another incredible green walkway New York is becoming known for.
Via New York Times
images via Wikimedia Commons