Safe crossing via bridge, moving forward

BY Aline Reynolds and Andrea Riquier

The long-awaited and much-needed West Thames Street pedestrian bridge moved one step closer to becoming a reality this week. Speaker Sheldon Silver announced Monday that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation had allocated up to $20 million to build the bridge.

“I am so pleased that this bridge, which has been a top priority of mine, is now set to be built,” said Silver, the bridge’s chief advocate.

“With our successful opening of the new P.S. 276 this year, children and their parents will have a safe and reliable way to cross this dangerous intersection.”

The need for a pedestrian bridge became immediately clear following a traffic routing change along West Street in late 2006. Several pedestrian safety managers were positioned and new crosswalks established, but those were always intended to be interim solutions while funding for a bridge was sought. It is hoped that a bridge will improve access to Battery Park City as well as improving safety.

The funding was announced as part of a $37 million pot approved by L.M.D.C., which also included allocations for affordable housing and utility companies. The L.M.D.C.’s next step will be to designate an agency that will oversee the design and construction of the bridge.

“I want to thank all the members of our community who joined me in pressing for this much-needed bridge,” Silver said in a statement.