Advocates are pushing to turn the disused Tappan Zee Bridge in New York into another sprawling elevated park - much like the super popular High Line. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that the proposal is an exciting option, and designers have already submitted plans to turn the bridge into a green getaway for leisure, sports, and sustainable transportation.
The Tappan Bridge Park Alliance, lead by Paul Feiner, the supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh, and Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona, is working toward making this park a reality. Lecuona is coordinating an international design competition, while schools like Cooper Union are challenging their own students to re-imagine the bridge.
The High Line is not just a model to follow, but also an inspiration as the idea of turning a bridge into a park was once thought of as unrealistic. The High Line proves this isn’t so — and that residents will not only use it, but flock to it for events, activities, and general meeting.
The early proposals for the Tappan Zee have already begun rolling in. One plan calls for walls to line the edges, holding in a rich forest inside. Another creates two bridges, by removing the central truss of the current bridge. Lecuona’s own sketch imagines a pedestrian walkway, complete with ornate street lamps, flower beds, and fountains, that stretches from one shore to another in a continuous park. Other class groups from Cooper Union see the park as being a green space for events, with a central area for dining, concerts and other activities.
Lecuona concludes that the project could be completed in phases, to offset costs. Transformation of the space into a park could be considerably less expensive than the actual costs of demolishing and removing the bridge after the new one is built.