A Queens-Manhattan bike bridge gathered steam when former traffic commissioner Sam Schwartz pitched it. But media reports left something out. The Queens Ribbon, if built, makes a mess on Roosevelt Island.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
By David Stone
Special to the Roosevelt Island Daily News
The Queens-Manhattan Bike Bridge… with a “stop on Roosevelt Island.”
Not Schwartz nor any of the media flacks took a serious look at how the combination bicycle/pedestrian bridge slams an ugly footprint in Southpoint Park. Or FDR Four Freedoms, according to one description. Four Freedoms would probably never stand for it, and Southpoint was hit hard, this year, by an uninspired “reconstruction” geared to echo Brooklyn Bridge — in a space not at all similar, except for the dirty water.
First reported in The Gothamist, the Queens Ribbon “would stretch from Long Island City, stop on Roosevelt Island that would be accessible by elevator.” Consideration rises again now as solutions for Manhattan street grid congestion return. And lately, anything using the word “bike” gets planners drooling.
Let’s take a look at the “stop” on Roosevelt Island. Renderings by T. Y. Lin (international) play it down, but the footprint on Roosevelt Island would be massive and another blow to the park.
The 20-foot wide deck would be suspended on cables. “The cables would be supported by three delta-shaped towers located near the Long Island City shore, at Roosevelt Island, and near the Manhattan shore. Each tower would be around 300 feet tall and 200 feet wide,” according to the Sunnyside Post.
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But what’s missing…?
The first thing missing from the Queens-Manhattan bike bridge is not immediately obvious… But it’s that nobody bothered talking to anyone on Roosevelt Island about it, at least not anyone quoted. Outsiders are, as always, ready to plot out our community’s future for us.
If you’re going to run a 30-story high structure with a giant, 200-foot paw print in one of our local parks, wouldn’t talking to some folks who live here and paying all the bills be a good idea?
But that’s a quibble next to the other bad news. The devastation across the width of Southpoint Park, already embroiled in controversy, would alter the space permanently.
Although the rendering avoids reality by simply flattening the park, the bridge would thump a giant paw in the middle and scrape over or just north of the rolling hill that centers it. But the real deception masked in visualizations of the Queens-Manhattan bike bridge is the worst of it.
The “stop on Roosevelt Island that would be accessible by elevator,” blithely reports The Gothamist. But you’re not going to find that ugly elevator building, shaft or bridge landing anywhere in any of the drawings.
Conclusion: The Queens-Manhattan Bike Bridge Is Really Bad for Roosevelt Island
So, what we have here is a team of New York City elites, academics and city officials, proposing a devastating intrusion on a treasured park without bothering to touch base with the community.Don’t we already get enough of that from RIOC and and their Albany handlers?
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When I saw this,one thing popped out, no consulting with anyone who knows anything about building over the river. The walkway would have to be the height of the Queensboro Bridge,
It reminds me of the Squibb Bridge and London Millenium Bridges that were pedestrian bridges that failed due to poor engineering.
To enter and exit an over 200 foot high bridge, you would need an extensive ramp on both ends or a very curved helix.
Supports for such a structure would devistate the south end of the island for years.
Sorry Sam Schwartz, this was a great PR item but not thought out,. (Maybe your should forget the experts and talk to Roosevelt Islanders)
Good points, all, Judy.
So what could we do?
Make sure that City Council Member Ben Kallos knows your thoughts. Also, follow up with his successor, probably Billy Freeland. And tell RIOC you don’t want them to give up the land necessary. That’s for starters, and if it revs up in the future, we’ll consider other tactics in the process.
Thanks for your question.
[…] year, we reported on a Queens-Manhattan bike bridge – the Queens Ribbon – threatening Roosevelt Island. The pandemic brought the idea to a slow crawl, but a city […]