LETTER: Speak Out to Save Rector St. Bridge

To the Editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to report progress on saving the Rector Street Bridge to the Battery Park City Community. 

Carl Glassman, in the Tribeca Trib, brought this issue clearly into view with his compelling article, “Can One Man Save the Rector St. Bridge?”

Early in July, the majority of residents, workers and tourists crossing the Rector Street Bridge did not know that it was threatened with demolition. Realizing that they might lose their bridge, and few seeing the West Thames Bridge as a replacement, residents of the neighborhood rallied together to collect over 1,500 signatures to support the preservation of the Rector Street Bridge. 

On August 9, Council Member Margaret Chin wrote a letter urging community engagement. “I write to join residents of Battery Park City to call on the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Battery Park City Authority and Manhattan Community Board One to reconsider the demolition of the Rector Street Bridge. 

With the West Side Highway remaining one of the most heavily utilized thoroughfares in New York City, this bridge has dramatically reduced the safety risk for pedestrians—especially the seniors and children who cross it every day to go to school or their neighborhood community center. If New York City is to achieve its Vision Zero goals, then the Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge should be preserved and renovated, not demolished. …

While I understand, that the demolition of the Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge was part of the discussion around the construction of the West Thames Bridge, I urge you to delay the demolition and join my office in starting a community engagement process that weighs all options and alternatives.”

And now, the local community is engaged –– people are taking action and choosing to make a difference. 

If you want to keep crossing the Rector Street Bridge, you can make you voice heard by writing to the Economic Development Corporation (wfisher@edc.nyc), the Battery Park City Authority (info.bpc@bpca.ny.gov), Department of Transportation (epincar@dot.nyc.gov) and Manhattan Community Board One (man01@cb.nyc.gov) –– Or you can stand up and take the opportunity to speak out for 2 minutes during the public session of the next Community Board Meeting at 6pm at the Southbridge Towers Community Room, 90 Beekman Street on September 24th. —ROBERT SCHNECK