Thursday, April 5, 2012

Could A Transit-Less Tappan Zee Bridge Become The Next High Line?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 11:16 AM

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  • Sean Gaffney, Karim Ahmed, Jinjoo Yang and Genan Peng/NYTimes
Turning the dilapidated Tappan Zee Bridge into a "suburban High Line" was an idea first proposed by a Westchester County town supervisor, Paul Feiner, last year. The notion of a $5.2 billion transit-less bridge didn't stick at first, but after Governor Cuomo called the possible park "an exciting option" in February, urban planners got to work reimagining the Tappan Zee as the next High Line. Workshops at both Cooper Union and Columbia University have been brainstorming park designs, reports the New York Times.

One might think that environmentalists would receive the potential green space as good news, but water quality watchdog Riverkeeper is concerned the project would damage the Hudson River ecosystem. The environmental group described a plan without mass transit as "a fatally flawed project that is obsolete from day one," and on Friday submitted a series of comments criticizing what they see as a hasty and incomplete environmental impact assessment. The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Natural Resources Defense Council, NYPIRG, Transportation Alternatives and Good Jobs New York have also submitted similar criticism.

“Governor Cuomo is trying to circumvent all of New York’s planning and public participation laws and ‘Robert Moses’ this project,” said Paul Gallay, Riverkeeper’s president, in a statement. “The governor doesn’t get to make up his own rules, but even if he did, he’s getting this one all wrong. Riverkeeper is not about to stand by when so much damage to the river is about to be done by such a flawed project.” [transportationnation.org]

Yikes. You know that when an environmentalist resurrects the ghost of Robert Moses, New York's most infamous, love-to-hate city planner, the situation must be serious. The prospect of a High Line 2.0 might seem like a worthy, beautifying project, but city officials ought to remember what a wise Kermit the Frog once said, touching on the environmental complexities of urban planning: It's not easy being green.

[via NYTimes]

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