Park Entrance from Montague?

The Eagle reports that the Montague Street Business Improvement District wants a footbridge to connect the Promenade near the foot of Montague Street (photo) to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The BID says this is necessary to provide access to the Park during the time the needed repairs to the cantilevered portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway below the Promenade are being done, as this will affect access to the Park through other entrances. According to the Eagle story, the BID envisions the footbridge as resembling the “Penny Bridge” (see photo in the story linked above) that used to allow pedestrians to cross Montague Street, when it extended steeply downhill to the level of the then docks, before the construction of the BQE and the Promenade.

What puzzles your correspondent is how a footbridge, by itself, could allow pedestrians to get to or from the Park from the level of the Promenade, which I believe is about an eighty foot vertical distance. Nothing that looks at all like the little Penny Bridge could do this. The bridge would have to connect to a very long staircase (more steps than many people could easily manage), or escalator (prone to breakdowns), or — and this is the only way it could meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act — a tower with elevators. To meet the anticipated summer traffic volume, this would probably require two or even three elevators the size of those at the Clark Street subway station, and the tower could impinge on the protected view plane from the Promenade. The footbridge that does connect to the Park — the “Bouncy Bridge”– does so by starting from Squibb Park, which is below the level of the BQE, and executing a zig-zag. A footbridge from the level of the Promenade would have to go through several zig-zags between there and the Park to be easily walkable; it’s hard to see how this could be executed without creating a structure so massive that it would negatively affect views from the Promenade.

I also wonder what significant impediment to Park access will be caused by the BQE repair work. Neither the Squibb Park, or Old Fulton/Furman Street entrances could be affected by it, and it seems unlikely to me to affect the Atlantic Avenue entrance, as it is south of where the cantilevered portion of the BQE begins. The Joralemon Street entrance could be affected, at least for a period of time less than required to complete the entire project. This is likely also to bar auto traffic on Joralemon from going to or from Furman Street during that time.

DISCLOSURE: I live on Montague. The concerns I’ve expressed above relate only to the technical difficulties I perceive with the proposal; not from fear of excessive pedestrian traffic on Montague (my windows face Pierrepont Place, so we already get the mostly cheerful noise from the playground, and the tour guide who stops his group in front of 3 Pierrepont Place to enlighten them about Seth Low, and at whom my historian wife occasionally yells at out the window, “No, Robert Moses did NOT build that playground!”).

Share this Story:

, , ,

  • A Neighbor

    The city should spend millions of dollars so park-goers won’t be inconvenienced for a short time during road repairs (which, as you point out, they won’t be in any event.) Really? Do they think we’re that dumb? This is businesses wanting park-bound foot traffic in their stores.

  • redlola

    i hate the idea because i do not want anymore foot traffic. my appetite for turning my sweet neighborhood into a tourist trap is nonexistent

  • Eddyde

    This Idea is nothing new, it goes way back in park planning history.
    Personally, I think it has a lot of merit.
    1. it would help alleviate some of the foot traffic from Joralemon St. and the North Heights. Montague can handle the extra people much better than those streets can and it would be a boost for business.
    2. I think it can be done without violating the view plane. If a bridge span projected outward from the Promenade at a downward slope of 1″ per foot (ADA) at about 150′ out it would drop enough to keep the top of a tower level with the surface of the Promenade. I estimate that would keep it within the requirements of the view plane (not that is hasn’t already been violated by the Pierhouse) Yes, two elevators and a staircase would be necessary for the tower.
    3. It would make park access easier for Neighborhood residents as well.

  • Claude Scales

    One possible solution to the technical problem would be to have the bridge extend out to the far side of Furman Street, then take a sharp turn northward and descend by a relatively gentle slope to somewhere near the north end of the berm and parking lot. This should not be too challenging for people of average physical fitness. It would still be an eyesore, and very expensive.

  • Da Grippe

    Cool. Lets have the whole stretch of blocks from Court up to the promenade turned into a Fulton Mall type business model. Official made in China T shirt and gangster flat top wannabe hat stores. Pay as you go phone card outlets. Fake costume jewelers and yes terrible fast junk food counters. That would be a really nice made in Brooklyn kind of experience.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    They’d never be able to meet ADA compliance without shattering any manageable budget or footprint. I’d be amazed if it ever came to fruition.

  • Andrew Porter

    Bungee cords or zip-line.

    Problem solved.

  • ykwhthis…

    Again, BID’s are an unelected NGO. Who needs them making policy Claude?

  • ykwhthis

    It’s the insularity and security of the Heights which keeps our valuable population here. And techno talk aside, the far more important reality is that BID’s are an unelected NGO which seeks to make policy extra-governmentally. This is Unelected irresponsible power. Is That OK? This exactly why the thoughtful people object to the well, the CFR or Davos types. We need a mini edition of that telling us to take MORE of the medicine which has ALREADY made us less safe?

  • Teresa

    Interesting idea with a couple of potential benefits: spreading the traffic around the neighborhood instead of having it concentrated at a couple of points, and increased business for local merchants, which (she says hopefully) might lead to more interesting and useful stores nearby.

  • Jorale-man

    Exactly. It’s completely impractical. Never mind that I don’t even expect to see BQE repair work happening there anytime in my lifetime.

  • Eddyde

    NGO so what? Are you saying a group of citizens shouldn’t have a right to advocate a policy they deem beneficial? How un-American, are you some sort of commie?

  • MaryT

    This feels questionably desirable and completely wrong. Montague is at the heart of a tight little HISTORIC neighborhood. Merchants have landmark restrictions. If they don’t like it, they can move.

    Too bad if the ‘park’ can’t expand it’s reach. It’s done more than enough damage already.

  • Cranberry Beret

    I like the concept of a Montague St connection down to the waterfront. And I don’t have a problem with their advocating for more foot traffic to local businesses; I agree.

    But this particular proposal is misguided. As Claude points out, a bridge seems unlikely to be necessary due to the BQE construction. Rather, the real point here is that the occasion of construction is probably the only possible time when such a bridge would be built. The proponents should be upfront about this timing; the “necessity” argument is easily refuted.

    Unfortunately, the BQE reconstruction project seems all about making the minimal amount of repairs and revamps to stop the roadways from deteriorating and bring the ramps closer to 21st century standards. I don’t see a whole lot of appetite from the city (and zero from the state) to do anything innovative to improve on the awkwardness of the BQE cantilever itself and a highway running in between what have become, in the time after the BQE was built, 2 jewels of the city (the Heights and the park).

    Also, the proponents’ appeal to the quaint image of the “Penny Bridge” is deceptive. Again, Claude points out that there’s no way such a little bridge could work. Not to mention that the historic bridge didn’t lead DOWN to the water but instead just CROSSED the real access to the water, which was a ramp. Either the proponents are being disingenuous or they simply misunderstand.

  • Claude Scales

    The BID is not “making policy”; it’s just advocating for policy.

  • Andrew Porter
  • ykwthis

    OK, so the NGO’s “arrange” for policies to be set in place. To at this point say that unelected
    NGO’s have not decided which social and economic policies is to deny perhaps the last 50 years of history. We need a private group directing things? really? This is all extra-governmental rule. NOT good….

  • Claude Scales

    I seriously doubt the BID has the power to “arrange” for the bridge to be built. In any event, you need to review the First Amendment.

  • Daddyo

    I read online somewhere that the US gov’t is close to perfecting Star Trek-like teleportation. Think that would solve the problem. That’s not Fake News, is it?

  • MaggieO

    giant inflatable slide.

  • StudioBrooklyn


    “Back in the 1990s, scientists realized they could use this link to transmit quantum information from one point in the universe to another. The idea is to “download” all the information associated with one photon in one place and transmit it over an entangled link to another photon in another place.

    This second photon then takes on the identity of the first. To all intents and purposes, it becomes the first photon. That’s the nature of teleportation and it has been performed many times in labs on Earth.”

  • ykwhthis….

    BID’s are unelected orgs which perform many functions which government used to perform. The selling point is premise is rather tht rather than get governments to do what they should(!), it’s just easier to install a private group, additionally fund them (!!) and they will clean the streets and they say, provide security. Really?, Claude? Is that how we should shape civic life of this city..and country? Unelected power centers whether it’s some NGO on the upper east side, or it’s lower cousin in the form of BID’s an end run around basic civil responsibility that for our taxes government should function and should be under the control of residents. Claude, the centerpiece of our constitutional system is….the People are sovereign…NOT the NGO’s or for that matter key international Banks who also “prompt” policy “adjustments” whenever they please….

  • Jeffrey Smith

    But spooky action at a distance cannot be explained with PC approved standard particle physics. We are now at the point that we are going to have to admit that (gasp) there may be an either and, (oh Noooo-) all energy may not be tied to a particle and we cant model. many energies in vector equations (!!!) And gee, perhaps hundreds of the best minds, prior to the absolute defunding of every branch of physics EXCEPT what we have now, were right. No, we can’t say any of the that openly.,…

  • Arch Stanton

    What utter hypocrisy. Your beloved “AFP” was an NGO.

  • Arch Stanton

    Perhaps you should move to North Korea, No NGOs allowed there…

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Oh, hi, Jeff. Are you a white supremacist?

  • ykwhthis….

    I am coming to believe that studio is, well, not some A.I. generated post but some kind of Taverstock induced/ programmed posts. It is set to revert to ONE topic. This DOES warrent a study being instituted. Are there any funders out there? Let’s see how I could write a grant proposal for a study of Studio….

  • ykwhthis

    There are open advocacy groups and publications which have a focus and/or editorial viewpoint which are obvious to readers. NGO’s, as I think you know, promote or more often cause policies to be put in place, entirely or almost completely, OUTSIDE of the public’s sight and knowledge. This is (one of) the reason(s) they are repugnant to our system of open government. NGO’s operate as much as they can causing new directions in administrative or social point!icy outside and going around the electorate/average American. And it’s no wonder why…who voted for the Vietnam war? Who voted for so much American industry/jobs being shipped overseas?, the social changes of the 1960’s??? NO ONE. But those policies were successfully put in place by a gaggle of unelected quiet operating NGO’s. Now what? You want a mini edition of that totally altering life in the Heights?

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Hah! Go find the surviving sitter in the painting I posted on OTW and ask him for a donation. Be sure to show him the picture first.

    Seriously Jeff just wish you would answer the question. You’ve been evading it now for a couple weeks.

  • Claude Scales

    Do tell: which of the following to you consider to be NGOs; or, if not, why not?: (1) the National Rifle Association; (2) Opus Dei; (3) AIPAC; (4) Breitbart.