To the editor:
Re: Trestle Tussle The BroadsheetDAILY, January 7
Five members of the Transportation Committee voted against 3,700 community members to advance the demolition of the Rector Street Bridge rather than explore the possibility of community engagement to save it.
CB1 had repeatedly passed resolutions over the years on the Rector Street Bridge, but would not recognize alternative community resolutions beginning in 2014.
A survey, noted in local publications, was conducted of bridge users that determined that the Thames Street Bridge was not a replacement for the Rector Street Bridge and that they would be crossing West Street at the Albany intersection despite the danger. The safety of all is compromised.
District 1 Council Member Margaret Chin issued a letter calling for community engagement to consider preserving the Rector Street Bridge in August 2019. The Council Member’s representative presented a statement for community engagement at the Transportation Committee meeting that went unaddressed.
The community sent many correspondences to agencies, contractors and public officials — almost all went unanswered. Last spring a request was made by the Battery Park City Committee for an evaluation of keeping the bridge which was never provided. Every request to learn about the decision-making process or gain access to original agreements and waivers concerning the Rector Street Bridge went unanswered.
Now that the Rector Street Bridge is gone, we see that many commuters have diverted away from the Rector Street corridor and local businesses have begun to suffer.
All appeals to the electeds (including the Comptroller and the Public Advocate) were unsuccessful because their first point of reference on local issues is the community board — and here, the unchallenged string of resolutions had their force. Although the Transportation Committee resolution recommended that demolition be held up until safety precautions were taken at the Albany Street intersection, demolition commenced within days afterward.
Losses: The destruction of the bridge turns a cold eye on the blind man who uses the bridge to get independently to work; on the family that bought an apartment next to the bridge for the safety of their children; on the classroom students that cross the bridge to play in the sports field; on the person who is afraid of the turning traffic at West Thames Street; on the people who are forced to cross the glaring parking lot alone late at night; on the Battery Park City night laborers who cross the Rector Bridge directly to their subways after midnight; on the executives, lawyers, secretaries and workers whose lost time will never be calculated.
It is important that the public and the community board remember that the contract for the West Thames Street Bridge was awarded for an $18 million bid. The last available completion estimate was $45.5 million. At a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Board Meeting ion 2018, a Deputy Mayor was quoted in Crain’s as saying, “We will make sure that all resources are thrown at this to make sure that we move expeditiously.” The Rector Street Bridge cost $3 million to build. The demolition along with the restoration will run to $12 million. It is highly important that the public and the community board track expenditures on local projects on a regular basis.
In the end, the Rector Street Bridge is being demolished, but at what immeasurable loss to the community?
Bright spot: The people of the bridge came together as an open and aware community with a cause, and now they know each other as neighbors and are familiar with their community board.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades ~ Respectable Employment ~ Lost & Found
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