The Times Checks In On Squibb Park Bridge

Just like the rest of us, the New York Times wonders just what the heck is going on with the bridge from Columbia Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park. For the third time since last fall, the Times takes on the story.

When it opened in the spring of 2013, the bridge, based on catwalks found in state parks, was hailed for its innovative design, which let the walkway bounce slightly as pedestrians used it as a shortcut down to the 1.3-mile-long park along the East River waterfront.

But by August of last year, park officials said that the bridge was moving too much, and abruptly shut it down.

At the time, officials of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, which operates the park, said the closing was temporary, so that engineers could fix the problem.

In October, they said it would remain shut until spring for more extensive repairs.

In May, the corporation, which had commissioned a prominent engineer, Ted Zoli, to design the 400-foot wooden bridge, said repair work was nearing completion and forecast a “late spring” reopening. Park officials said the bridge suffered from a “misalignment” issue, according to Belinda Cape, a spokeswoman for the park corporation.

Now, late spring has turned to high summer, and the bridge remains closed.

The article doesn’t tell us what we most want to know–when the damn thing will be re-opened–but at least the local paper of record isn’t letting this go unobserved.

Read the whole story.

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  • Willow Street Watch

    What we all want to know is, how much money is THIS new bridge is going to cost. What did the old flawed bridge really cost? And who’s pocket is all the funds are flowing into? Er, why! those figures arent totally clear in the wonderful, always transparent and available BBPC books?!? Hmmm…Imagine that!

  • Seinfeld Fan

    To paraphrase my fave TV character:

    “You know how to build the bridge, you just don’t know how to keep it open. And keeping it open is the most important part of building the bridge”

  • Roberto Gautier

    The wobbly foot bridge with “issues” in the million-dollar Brooklyn Bridge Park development with its luxury hotel and condos and the Brooklyn Bridge’s Rehabilitation Project with its multi-million dollar cost overruns paint a picture that’s troubling in a state with widespread corruption.

  • jrak

    It’s a sad commentary on the state of engineering in this country that it appears we can no longer build a simple footbridge that is safe to use. And it’s so ironic that such a poorly conceived and designed structure is the shadow of a bridge that represented the triumph of American engineering ingenuity in the 19th Century.

  • Druce

    Maybe just take it down… actually takes about same time to take the bridge and walk around –

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Somehow that didn’t strike me as entirely “scientific”…but if we look at it from a legal standpoint, my guess is that the hill on Columbia Heights actually would not pass ADA regulations, while the descent into the park via Squibb and the footbridge probably would. Anyway, nobody’s complaining about having to take a few extra seconds for a more scenic view.

    My personal suspicion is that there was never a real safety issue with the wobbly bridge, although the wobbly “interactive” element provided the perfect excuse for certain interested parties to see that it was closed. (For whatever it’s worth I enjoyed the wobbliness, and seeing others’ reactions to it!)

    I think the bridge was, and will remain, closed in order to ensure a barrier is maintained between commoners and those who feel their investment in the Pierhouse entitles them to a degree of separation from the walking public, particularly where park traffic near their windows is concerned.

  • Brooklyn Heights Guy

    I couldn’t agree more. The park corp is so deceitful that you can’t trust anything they say. I agree that “safety” is a very convenient way for them to stall why they figure out a way to take the bridge down completely and keep the fat cats separated from the riff raff.

  • Willow Street Watch

    Again, what is the new structure going to cost?

    How much of the original money paid for a flawed, ineffective design/construction is going to be (gasp) recovered from the
    “Professionals” who planned and constructed walkway one.
    How were the original “designers” selected. How open (sic)
    was that process?

    What is the cost of the new bridge? How are the designers/con
    tractors being selected? How open is that process? (Don’t ask

    You know, as resident of an area greatly effected ‘d like to have access to the BBPC books…..Er, I’d ALSO like access to the federal reserve’s gold swap program records…..

  • Andrew Porter

    Is it the same architect who designed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, aka “Galloping Gertie”?

  • Jorale-man

    I share your suspicions that there’s really nothing wrong with the bridge. But I actually think they had to close it because it’s simply too close to the construction, and there’s no way to build a protective shed over it. As others here note, the park corp. has lacked any sense of transparency or good will to the neighborhood.

  • ShinyNewHandle

    Yes, the Bouncy Bridge is too close to the construction, so reopening it just now might be pointless. But before it closed, a walkway section definitely listed to one side. At the least, adjustment was needed.

    Meanwhile, Middagh street has been calmer, so I’m not complaining about continued closure, even tho’ I enjoyed trotting down the thing myself.

  • Druce

    Ok, will revert when better scientific data is available. Inquiring with NASA about getting some time on the Hubble telescope. Also inquiring with the Attorney General whether hills are required to be ADA compliant. And yes, that’s indeed a very fascinating theory that the condo folks conspired to shut down the bridge a year ago.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Well, if your argument for taking it down was about the time it takes to get from the bottom of the bridge to Columbia Heights, then I think it’s fair to say the measurement ought to be accurate…slipped the ADA thought in there because maybe the bridge might have served as the only access to the park from our neighborhood that someone in a wheelchair might comfortably be able to use. I dunno…

    Anyway, yeah, it’s a theory. Earlier Jorale-man made a good point about the difficulty of building a construction shed over the bridge, and if it’s reopened once construction is complete I’ll eat my words– happily and bouncily. In the meantime, I think it’s apparent that whoever is in charge of telling us what’s going on with the bridge is being duplicitous.