Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge to be Made of Wood

The pedestrian bridge connecting Squibb Park, at the foot of Columbia Heights, to Brooklyn Bridge Park, expected to be completed by summer of 2012, will have an innovative design by MacArthur Genius Award winning engineer Ted Zoli, using timber as the principal material.

Popular Mechanics: Supported by poured-concrete pillars and suspended by steel cables, the primary construction material will be 6- and 10-inch-diameter pieces of Robinia pseudoacacia, or black locust, a tree found widely in the Southeast but also prevalent in forests of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Black locust is extremely rot-resistant, durable and sustainable, Zoli says. The rough-sawn decking and wooden structural posts will have a natural finish that changes color and even warps slightly with exposure to the elements, a desired effect.

According to the Popular Mechanics article, the bridge will “zigzag gracefully through a clutch of tall oaks, between buildings and over a street, descending 30 feet in elevation from its starting point to its endpoint in Brooklyn Bridge Park.”

Image: Popular Mechanics

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  • Still here

    Bravo, Joe B.

    The bridge shall be a great relief to the crowds coming down Old Fulton, and far less dangerous.

    I prefer the wood over a previous metal design.

    The bridge is quite wide and is ADA compliant.

  • Monty

    This raises one big question for me: what is wrong with all of you? This is going to be yet another great addition to a beautiful park in the world’s greatest neighborhood. I just spent a week on a beach in Mexico and couldn’t wait to come back. And thanks to Joe for an excellent article.

  • JoeyJoralemon

    @ Resident:

    I am guessing you are new to the neighborhood and lack common sense?

    Watch when the park it completed, what it will attract from the projects. Say good bye to a nice quiet neighborhood, especially in this economy.

    It is too bad, because the park itself is very cool-but with all it’s good will come a lot o bad.

    And try keeping a few jobs for NYC school teachers with the money that will be wasted on that bridge.

  • resident

    “Watch when the park it completed, what it will attract from the projects. Say good bye to a nice quiet neighborhood, especially in this economy.”

    And that’s what I was looking for. I didn’t figure anyone could give me an answer, not including Demontor’s poor logic, without being overtly racist.

    The same complaints were heard when the floating pool spent a summer on one of the piers and that didn’t result in an uptick of crime in the neighborhood (I checked). Neither did the opening of part of the park last year. There is no reason to believe that crime will increase because of the completion of a wonderful amenity for the community.

    Whether the bridge is a worthwhile expenditure is a different story, but it certainly won’t bring more criminal behaviour.

  • Brooklyn Tea

    Has anyone seen Tarzan????

  • Tony

    So here’s Joey adding to the misanthropic musings about imaginary minority meanderings. I’m glad the racist underbelly of the Heights surfaces here occasionally as a reality check for the rest of us. The reality is and had been that most of the people in Fulton Park (for years) or the new B. Bridge Park are very local or tourists and are overwhelmingly white and Asian.

    Plus, even though I don’t think the bridge is a priority in this economy, I like the design and materials.

  • Monty

    I suspect (read:hope) that all of the racist comments are actually coming from one or two people with multiple sock puppet handles. This site doesn’t require login, so it would be pretty easy. I also strongly suspect most of the racism is just trolling in an attempt to bring nascent racism to the surface.

  • WillowtownCop

    I like the bridge.

    I don’t see how it will lead to more crime.

    Using some people’s logic on this thread, we could reduce crime in NYC by requiring everyone to move to Kansas … hardly worth it.

  • velobrooklyn

    WillowtownCop — thanks for this; I like your logic!

    I like the design.

    On the question concerning the bridge’s necessity or efficiency: In parks, the most efficient way to get from A to B is not the over-riding factor. Parks are most successful when they include elements that surprise and delight and allow discovery, qualities at odds with efficiency but which the bridge provides.

  • http://bivforbrooklyn.com Doug Biviano

    I’m with CobbleBobble on this one. The only functions the bridge offers are as follows:

    1. to divert $4 – $5 million in capital that could complete the park itself.
    2. yet another capital reserve item to drive up inflated annual maintenance costs to justify housing in the park.
    3. to allow the proposed Pier 1 hotel and condos “direct access” to Brooklyn Heights.
    4. politicians get to say they built a bridge connecting Brooklyn Heights to BBP.

    Once at Squibb Park (which, btw, is operated by skate board non-profit called Open Road with no defined hours of operation that I can tell), you’re there. The elevation must be conquered either way by Columbia Heights, the proposed bridge or — as I suggested at the last hearing on the Alternatives to Housing hearing and for a fraction of capital and maintenance costs — a graded ramp from the SE corner of Squibb terraced at an ADA compliant grade along the open space south of Squibb. There’s even a gate opening where a well marked and highly visible cross walk (unlike other crossings to park) can be made on the straight run of Furman.

    Ask yourself how many bridges connect surrounding neighborhoods to Prospect Park or Central Park? None. We need softball and baseball diamonds more than this senseless bridge.

    Remember, the whole basis of the housing in the park argument is that all park infrastructure must be self maintaining. To build superfluous infrastructure such as this bridge, in this economy no less, then cry we can’t maintain anything without housing, is such a contradiction it’s not only sickening, it’s offensive.

  • Seriously?

    Doug Biviano is a pathetic loser who is trying to make a name for himself by spouting ridiculous criticisms of this wonderful park at any available opportunity in a desperate attempt to generate some name recognition so that he can win an election one day.

    That’s the only thing here is both sickening and offensive.

    1)The bridge costs around $4 million. What would something that cost that much add to build that has a life span of at least 50 years add to a capital reserve? Less than $100k. There is housing in the park because the annual budget needs are $16 million. $100k is not gonna make a difference one way or another.
    2) The hotel is going to be very easily accessible from Brooklyn Heights since it will be at the terminus of Old Fulton St, a very major road. The Bridge will not significantly improve access to the hotel to Brooklyn Heights. It will however significantly improve access from BH to Pier 2 and points south in the Park. Which is why it’s being built in the first place.

    3) There’s no bridges connecting to Central Park of Prospect Park because there is no huge highway hanging on a 50 foot cliff that needs to get traversed in order to access those parks. There are however many bridge within both parks where the geography requires them.

    Biv – noone wants to hear it. Please shut up and go away.

  • Jeffrey J Smith

    Its amazing, people who think that if you draw THOUSANDS of people through and around the Heights there will not be even
    the possibility of new serious public safety dangers.

    for the last time…if you increase the USE of an area you want MORE PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT IN
    HE DEAL. Otherwise the various, politicians, NGO types,
    real estate types and casino types are spreading your families
    safety thinner to suit thier convenience.

  • Jeffrey J Smith

    But since the question of demographics of the bridge’s use has
    been brought up…

    I wonder which address would be most closely associated with
    the greatest demographic of a bridge of this design….

    Lets see….(only one is the correct answer)

    58 East 68th Street
    144 East 39th Street
    111 East 54th Street
    2000 L Street NW Washington DC
    1156 15th Street NW washington DC
    122 East 66th Street
    4 East 60th Street
    Cor. Navy and Nassau Sts
    120 Wall Street 24th Floor

  • http://bivforbrooklyn.com Doug Biviano

    Seriously, whose payroll are you on?

  • harumph

    Actually, @seriously, I think what biv is saying is sound. There really is no need to connect Squibb – the other entrance is just not that far away and, in walking terms, probably takes the same amount of time. Lets use the money to help fund the park (which at this point is rather under-funded). I love the BBP project but seriously see no reason to have this bridge (which is highly unattractive).

  • Cranberry Beret

    By my rough estimate with google maps and a ruler, it’s almost twice the distance to go down Columbia Heights, turn on Old Fulton, enter BBP and then walk to Pier 2, compared to using the Squibb Park bridge, even with Squibb’s ramps and the bridge’s twists and turns.

    So the bridge will significantly speed access to the middle of the park for both residents of the north heights as well as visitors coming from the A/C subway at Cranberry Street and the 2/3 at Clark Street.

    My guess is that the park planners also took 5 minutes with a ruler, as opposed to most commenters on this blog who wait about negative 5 seconds before letting loose the nonsense floating in their heads.

  • Cranberry Beret

    Biv’s suggestion of another ramp is interesting, although I’m not sure there’s room – the space south of Squibb looks to only be half as long as Squibb itself, which takes 2 ramps to get down, and I think the drop from Squibb to Furman is higher than from Columbia Heights to Squibb. The problem is the Cranberry Street subway ventilation building is in the way.

  • harumph

    Cranberry Beret – does your ruler take into account crossing the playground itself? And what if you want to go to Pier One and not two…Nice ruler work – is this how you figure out how long it takes to go places?

  • http://bivforbrooklyn.com Doug Biviano

    The debate is really one of utility and priorities with limited funding.

    Will the bridge marginally save a few minutes walking time if you want to go to the inner piers? Yes. But is it really worth $4 – $5 million and the upkeep costs when the rest of the park is not yet funded? I don’t think it is. If you want a larger ROI for a little more capital that will save real time then build a bridge or an elevator from Montague, Pierrepont or Clark, but I doubt that will happen.

    The problem of superfluous expenditures that seem to have been taken to a natural limit in this park is that they cost a fortune to build and maintain. Hence, the phases and an O&M that seems to run at multiples per acre compared to other parks and requires major luxury condo development in the park… i.e. the larger political goal. Private real estate development seems to be the “save all” for all economic problems in NYC.

    I give a few examples of waste: $80k for 3 SS domes (really?) and $55 million playgrounds, wetlands perched on a pier which introduces freeze/thaw and salt water attack from top and bottom (don’t believe it’s sealed with a liner as everything leaks), massive 20 to 30 ft high mountains of very expensive earthwork as seen on Pier 1 and proposed the length of Furman.

    I’m also confident that much of the street opening construction going on in DUMBO — at the ire of the residents who are finally saying “Enough!” — is probably for the infrastructure for the new luxury condos, not so much the park. This is also shielded from criticisms and budgets connected to the park as taxpayers get quietly walloped for private development infrastructure upgrades.

    A more modest park — one just as beautiful because the space is inherently beautiful — that would actually provide more active space use, would honestly bring both the Capital and O&M down by huge percentages.

    Frankly, it is the job of project architects, engineers and politicians to keep these costs grounded within economic reality and to make better choices (i.e. eliminate wasteful and superfluous features) to serve all stake holders not just those who want the luxury condos. Unfortunately, those in charge refuse to have this debate in any reasonable capacity and have back calculated to meet the result they want.

  • Big Dave

    I want a world class park for our world class city — this is what the landscape architects have given us. Period.

  • Demonter


    Re: “Poor Logic”?

    People commit crime in the neighborhood,
    There will be more people in the neighborhood,
    Therefore, there will be more crime in the neighborhood.

    My statement is logical but not necessarily true.

  • http://bivforbrooklyn.com Doug Biviano

    @Big Dave, I want a lot of things including a middle school for PS8 but someone has to pay for them.

    Btw, no matter what is built in BBP — by virtue of what and where it is — it will be world class. The Promenade is a garden and a walk that is world class and attracts people from all over the world without any other features.

  • resident

    Yes, Demonter, that is poor logic. By your logic, 42nd street near Grand Central would be one of the most crime ridden places in the country.

    Your simplistic formula ignores all other factors other than the fact that people have to commit crimes. A logical argument does not contain such glaring holes.

  • Demonter


    Many factors come into play regarding an increase in crime in a particular neighborhood. While such an increase in crime is not inevitable, it is possible. A totally positive park experience is indeed a possibility but problems can arise. Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village is a unique and wonderful urban experience although it has been the epicenter of crime in that neighborhood.

    My “logic” flies in the face of your feelings about the park and bridge development. I support the park development wholeheartedly recognizing the quality of life pluses outweigh the negatives by far. Furthermore, the proposed foot bridge project’s enhanced safety factors outweigh all other concerns including the possibility of crime due to increased pedestrian traffic through Brooklyn Heights.

  • TS McGee

    Maybe they can make Squibb Park a UFC cage and a park entrance?

  • JAFO
  • Villager

    Anders 26. Apr, 2011 at 10:45 am #
    Made of wood? What would the other options be in this era of convenience?


    So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
    Build a bridge out of her.
    Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?

  • Matthew Parker

    Some new drawings and renderings of the planned pedestrian bridge here: http://archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=5389