Bad News for Squibb Park Bridge: Will Not Reopen Until Spring 2015

A story in today’s Times confirms what many locals have suspected:

“…over time, the subtle bounce — part of the design — became more pronounced, then worrisome. On Aug. 11, the bridge, which is 50 feet high, was closed temporarily for repairs, officials said.

On Friday, however, park officials said that Squibb Park Bridge, which cost $5 million, would remain closed until spring as engineers continued to study its movements.”

Last month, Brooklyn Bridge Park officials said the bridge repairs would only take 2 – 3 weeks.

A BHB tipster emailed us recently with his observation and speculation about what could be the issue – could it be tied to Pierhouse construction?:

I noted the excavations on either side of the “Squibb Bridge” support beam below the stressed area on August 10 or 9. When the bridge was closed some days later it was only noted on the entrances to the bridge that it was closed with no explanation. About a week or so after that, it was explained that the bridge was closed due to construction.

Our tipster also observes:

[A] constructing contractor had dug two substantial holes right next to the support column directly above which could be seen the structural damage. These holes were filled with water, as that level is very close to sea level.

What is really the problem? In the words of a frequent BHB commenter, “we shall see.”

Additional reporting by Homer Fink

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  • Eric

    I want to revisit the idea of putting in a pedestrian bridge from the Promenade at Montague street down to the park. Not only does it make sense in terms of mass transit connections, but it would move the foot traffic that Joralemon residents are annoyed with onto a commercial street where foot traffic would be welcome. Can someone explain if this was ever discussed and why it wasn’t favorable? It seems like the “obvious” place to put a pedestrian bridge/staircase.

  • gc

    The recent flurry of development in the Heights and in Brooklyn Bridge Park (including this bridge) are prime examples of the law of unintended consequences. Let’s slow down and consider where we’re headed.

  • gc

    I live a block off Montague Street. The extra foot traffic would not be welcome to me. Nor do I think it would be welcome to other nearby residents.

  • Cosby Hammer

    But screw the residents on Joralemon street, right? Seriously we live in one of the most high profile neighborhoods on the planet. Learn to deal with the tourists.

  • Mike from Brooklyn

    Speaking of the law of unintended consequences, check out Gallopin’ Gertie:

  • Jorale-man

    This all comes down to sensible planning. Yes, there will be tourists and people visiting from other parts of the city when you have something like BBP. But there are right ways and wrong ways of managing the traffic flow and avoiding turning the Heights into another Times Square or Disney World ride. For instance, the BBP website would direct visitors to enter through Atlantic Avenue and Old Fulton Street (and not Joralemon) and perhaps even have signs near the subway stations directing them away from residential streets.

    Of course, people’s phone GPS’s might still point them to cutting through the Heights. But there should be ways of better balancing the needs of residents with those of tourists.

  • gc

    I’d be more than happy to have them close down the entrance on Joralemon. Let everyone enter at Atlantic Ave or Old Fulton.

  • Park Lover

    Yes, it was considered years ago, as was opening the Clark Street subway tunnel entrance on Furman Street for subway users (instead of just for maintenance crews). Both were considered unfeasible. Although, given the crowds and congestion, maybe opening the subway entrance (right in the middle of the park!) would have been a sensible investment.

  • marshasrimler

    well said

  • Andrew Porter

    The opening of the bridge to BBP has fundamentally changed life for residents of northern BH, and definitely not for the better. Thousands more walking along Middagh Street, many illegally parked cars as those who have to drive everywhere realize there are no parking lots for them to use and use any spaces they find, often both sides of the narrow streets (we don’t need no stinkin’ parking rules!). Then there have been the graffiti attacks on the Columbia Heights Citibike station and on the stonework at the Fruit Street Sitting Area, and the vandalism on north Hicks Street, with planters destroyed.

    I sympathize with residents of Willowtown and Joralemon Street, who are going through the same unhappy experiences. Unintended consequences of the overwhelming number of visitors to BBP, though wiser heads *did* warn this might happen. Those voices were ignored, accused on NIMBYism, or, worse, accused of racism or 1%-ism…

  • Andrew Porter

    Yes, because they’re billionaires to whom such costs are pocket change? Be realistic, not vindictive!

  • marshasrimler

    they made the decision..why should not they be held accountable. thats not vindictive. that is right

  • Rock E. Fella

    Still better than a few decades ago when northern BH was the place to go to break into a car, get to know a psychotic homeless person, purchase some crack or visit a strip club. Close the BBP bridge and bring back Club Wild Fyre! That’ll fix things!!! :)

  • monty

    As a north heights resident with a kid in ps 8, it hasn’t been a problem at all. More tourists for sure, but so what. Most are nice and spend money here. The closed sidewalk at Plymouth St has been way worse but it looks like they’re wrapping up.

  • Andrew Porter

    Yes, and I remember when everyone in the northern Heights had bars on their windows, because of break-ins, when planters and metal ornaments were routinely stolen. But that was decades ago. But those days are gone; the Heights is much, much safer. Your comment is irrelevant to the current situation.

  • Teresa

    Increasing the number of visitors to the area is good for local merchants, and it’s great to see people from all over the borough, the city, and the world using the park. I live in the North Heights as well, and I imagine that we are encountering what other people across the city in desirable neighborhoods have for decades. I agree that the illegal parking is a problem, and one that could be fairly easily curtailed if the local police wanted to do anything about it.

  • DoBro84

    I think De Blasio’s commitment to plans for the Brooklyn Strand is promising.

  • ujh

    During the public park planning process, at least one prominent resident and governor of the Brooklyn Heights Association expressed opposition to hordes of park visitors passing through the central Heights (although I suspect Montague Street business owners/operators would have licked their collective fingers). Nevertheless, this potential park access route was not only discussed later on, but Sam Schwartz, a former DOT commissioner and famed traffic consultant, presented a design of a pedestrian bridge zigging and zagging from the southern end of the Promenade into the park at a public meeting (I don’t recall the year, neither do I recall whether DOT or BBP would have been saddled with the construction costs). I doubt raising this park access will meet with any success.

  • Eddyde

    I think REF’s statement is relevant. nothing stays the same. The neighborhood has and will always change over time. The heights did have more crime decades ago but it also had more local businesses, a night life and more neighborly vibe, every decade has its pros and cons. The heights won’t ever be static as change is inevitable and not you or anyone can stop it.

  • ujh

    If I were you, I would be very careful inferring that the recent vandalism in the North Heights was caused by BBP visitors; what evidence do you have? If you’re bothered by illegal parkers, isn’t it the firemen who park on the sidewalks?

  • Hicksup

    Mark my words – The bridge won’t be back.

  • David on Middagh

    Ever? Do you know something that we don’t?


  • peterbrooklyn

    Why is it that Club Wild Fyre then seems to be your only alternative to Disney World now?

  • hicksup

    Ha, no. Just my gut.

  • Fritz

    How does a footbridge over 2 blocks cost $5 million? And then fail?

    Most other comments are DWOMS (don’t walk on my street) to NIMBY. More foot traffic = more safety.

  • marshasrimler

    ask councilman Levin. He funded it with pressure from Hank Guttman

  • fultonferryres

    Oh, so screw the residents on Old Fulton Street, who have enough to deal with as it is with 3 pizzerias and Shake Shack? No thanks.

  • fultonferryres

    We don’t need any more tourists directed down Old Fulton Street.

  • hicksup

    i have to agree with this general idea. Marsha, don’t think I’m your ally though.
    You’re too combative.

  • Eddyde

    There have been brownstone renovations in the nabe that cost more than 5 million, why does that number seem so high for a bridge? Also, it hasn’t “failed” at least not yet. It may have been damaged by the construction of the Pier House and or needs some adjusting.