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You can help modernize the Brooklyn Bridge walkway through new design contest

Climate change activist Zayne Cowie walks on the Brooklyn Bridge during a youth climate march in New York City, U.S., May 3, 2019. Picture taken May 3, 2019. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

How would you make the walkway of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge meet the needs of 21st century New Yorkers?

That’s the challenging question posed in a new international design competition launched Tuesday. “Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge” allows the general public, students and designers from around the world to submit their ideas for modernizing the walkway, increasing accessibility and reducing congestion.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the nonprofit Van Alen Institute are spearheading the contest seeking “creative, unconventional designs that respect and enhance the bridge’s landmark status” while also addressing the need for greater accessibility and better accommodations for pedestrians, bicyclists and vendors who use the bridge’s walkway.

“People from all over the world flock to the Brooklyn Bridge to soak in its history and breathtaking views of Manhattan. Commuters rely on it to easily walk or bike-ride between the boroughs,” Johnson said on Tuesday. “We need to make sure they are not competing for space because we want the number of people using the bridge to continue growing.”

The “Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge” contest is divided into two categories: “Professionals” for teams 22 years of age and older; and “Young Adults” for teams 21 years of age and younger. All entrants should focus on redesigning the bridge’s walkway; they may include recommendations for the bridge’s roadway as well as nearby public spaces.

Entries must be submitted to vanalen.org by no later than 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 5. A panel will select three designs from both categories based on factors such as composition, accessibility and safety, environmental benefit and security, respect for the bridge’s landmarks status, feasibility, and “magic” – such as surprising, delightful or fascinating ideas.

The six finalists will then have a two-month period to refine their proposals, then resubmit them for a mid-July public presentation leading to an online vote. The winner of the “Professionals” category will receive $13,000, while the “Young Adults” winner will earn $3,000.

For more details or to enter the contest, visit vanalen.org.

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