Queens-Manhattan Bike Bridge: Kill It Now

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: 4 minutes

By David Stone

Special to the Roosevelt Island Daily News

Southpoint Park where the Queens-Manhattan Bike Bridge would plant a giant footprint
If built, the Queens-Manhattan bike bridge would lay a 200 foot wide, 300 foot high metallic scar straight across the small and compact Southpoint Park.

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 foot print 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 years, by an uninspired “reconstruction” geared to echo Brooklyn Bridge — in a space not at all similar, except for the dirty water.

A wisp of a bridge, suspended by cables, 20-feet wide with a lane for cyclists, and one for people walking.

The Gothamist

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 droolin.

Let’s take a look at the “stop” on Roosevelt Island. Renderings by T. Y. Lin (international) play it down, but the foot print on Roosevelt Island would be massive and another blow to the park.

What’s missing in this drawing? The real impact of a 200 foot long landing dissecting the park. Where are the stairs and the elevator with the onsite electrical housing. The rendering is deliberately deceptive.

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…?

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 pay all the bills be a good idea?

But that’s a quibble next to the other bad news. 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.


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