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December 3, 2013- By Steven E. Greer
For the first time since June, the team from the city, led by Matthew Best, presented more detailed plans for the $30,000,000 West Thames Bridge, called “Speaker Silver’s Bridge” by some. Recall, the LMDC is being phased out, and Speaker Silver has managed to get the state to allow $20 Million to be used to build the bridge. Somehow, even though designs were never officially made, the bridge was estimated to cost a whopping $30 Million, requiring the BPCA to pitch in at least $7 Million. Progress with the bridge stalled in April when it became clear that Governor Cuomo and the BPCA were unwilling to go along with the plan.
Assuming the bridge could actually be built, the city’s bridge team presented fancy architectural drawing in June before the CB1. The plans were mostly imaginary since the actual real designs were not yet drafted. However, a contentious component of any bridge design quickly arose: should ramps be built on each side the highway, making it more reliable than the elevator/stair design that has broken down so often with all of the other bridges connecting BPC to FiDi and Tribeca?
The main proponent of the unreliable elevator design has been CB1 member Jeff Galloway, a lawyer and Partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, and dog activist, who helped get the West Thames dog run constructed in 2009. The new bridge would drop down right by the dog run on the West side of the highway, and a ramp would take up more space from the existing dog run than stairs would, therefore Galloway opposes the ramp idea.
BatteryPark.TV previously reported that Mr. Galloway was meeting in secret with the city bridge team lobbying them to not build a ramp. After the June presentation, the decision on the ramp versus elevator was undecided. Tonight, the decision to build elevators was fully decided and met with no opposition from the CB1, which clearly knew the outcome ahead of the presentation.
Most residents of BPC following the bridge design issue strongly support the idea of using ramps to access the bridge. Not only is the elevator unreliability taken out of the equation with ramps, but accessing the bridge via strollers is much easier.
When BatteryPark.TV tonight asked how the city decided to go with the more breakdown-prone elevator design, CB1 co-Chair Anthony Notaro screamed out, “I am only allowing one question. You (the city team), do not have to answer (BP.TV).”.
Conspicuously, CB1 member Jeff Galloway, who has been lobbying the city to build elevators, was not present at the meeting. However, he was in town and available. He was seen walking his dog at Gateway 20-minutes later.
The entire issue of bridge design could be moot. In a separate article, BP.TV reported that the BPCA has not budged and is still not agreeing to pitch in the $7 Million needed to build the bridge.