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article imageActivists suggest public park be built atop old Tappan Zee Bridge

By Leigh Goessl     Jan 22, 2012 in Politics
Tarrytown - As plans move forward to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge in N.Y., not only must plans be developed to build a new bridge, but also provisions made for what to do with the old.
Some activists are suggesting the state create a park on top of the old Tappan Zee Bridge, a bridge that is over 50-years old and in dire need of repair; currently not built to handle its current volume of traffic.
According to LoHud.com, a Gannett publication that focuses reporting on the lower Hudson Valley area and its counties, a group of elected officials and activists said last week state and federal transportation authorities should consider constructing a public park on top of the Tappan Zee Bridge after the new span is built.
The group is requesting an analysis be conducted to determine what would be involved with building an elevated park as a means to save money on the demolition of the Tappan Zee. The bridge covers about 30 acres of space.
“It could serve as a major tourist attraction, as a recreation area in a very congested area,” Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, D-Greenburgh said. “Let’s face it, land is very expensive in Westchester and Rockland and they ain’t making any more.”
What the group is interested in finding out is what it would cost to take down the bridge vs. what it would cost to build and maintain a public park, and want this idea included in studies on how to go about building a new span connecting Westchester and Rockland Counties, and in doing so, this would help provide insight as whether or not a park would be feasible.
Last year President Barack Obama gave the Tappan Zee Bridge high priority as an infrastructure needing to be fixed. The overpass was already pegged in 2006 as handling 40 percent more traffic than it was designed to carry.
This week Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged $5 billion for a new bridge to be constructed. The query many are asking is where will the money come from? New York is struggling financially and the state is already a heavily taxed one.
Those in favor of a park said that there has already been a "tremendous investment" in the bridge and "they really need to seriously think about not tearing it down." (LoHud.com)
“The [New York]Thruway (Authority, which owns the bridge) has invested $500 million in the bridge over the past 10 years,” said David McKay Wilson, executive director of the Bike Walk Alliance of Westchester & Putnam, a proponent of a Tappan Zee Park.
And just this week it was announced by the NYS Thruway Authority deck replacement work is scheduled to be done on the bridge.
If this plan were to evolve into a reality, instead of a traditional bridge connecting Westchester and Rockland Counties, residents and visitors could be bridged from one side of the Hudson River to the other by elevated simulated 'land'.
The Chappaqua Daily reported "proponents say the park could make the Tappan Zee Bridge a destination for tourism and bring in much-needed economic growth."
In Oct. 2011 Digital Journal reported the Tappan Zee Bridge was one of many New York bridges categorized as "fracture-critical." Three bridges in the lower Hudson Valley, including the nearby Bear Mountain bridge, were designated with this label.
Currently no solidified plan has been made for the new Tappan Zee bridge, however, as there are ideas of adding mass transit to the bridge and/or as one person suggested in an opinion-editorial, to build a tunnel instead.
More about tappan zee bridge, New york, Bridge, Park, Public park
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