A consortium of engineers and traffic planners have teamed up on proposals to construct a series of vehicle-free “ribbon” bridges connecting Manhattan to the outer boroughs and New Jersey. The group is led by Samuel Schwartz, former Traffic Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Transportation.
The Queens Ribbon is the first of the new bridges and would connect Long Island City and Roosevelt Island’s Cornell campus to Midtown, Manhattan. The second bridge would connect Brooklyn Bridge Park to Manhattan’s Financial District, while the third and final bridge would connect commuters from New Jersey to either Midtown West, West Chelsea, or Tribeca. The latter has not been specified in regard to on and off ramps in New Jersey and Manhattan.
Each of the new bridges would be 20 feet wide and include lanes for cyclists and pedestrian traffic. The current design documents state that each bridge could handle approximately 20,000 people daily. Considering those figures, the three bridges combined could carry the equivalent of 60 subway trains or roughly 50,000 cars per day.
The bridges are referred to as ribbons because of the structures’ minimalist design. Available renderings illustrate a concrete platform that is supported by suspension cables and three delta-shaped towers. The towers are about 300 feet tall and 200 feet wide and are described as a futuristic addition to existing sight lines. Proposals also call for the completion of new street-level bike lanes to facilitate cyclist access.
The estimated construction cost for each bridge is about $100 million, less than half the cost of construction of the High Line, and a fraction of the cost to complete a new subway line.
In addition to Schwartz, New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and T.Y. Lin International Group, a multinational engineering company, are credited in the proposals.
A thorough environmental review process known as an Environmental Impact Statement would be required before work could begin on the project. It would also require a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.