Why Not Build a Bridge Over Delancey Street?
As we reported last week, Community Board 3 has approved the city’s plan to improve safety on Delancey Street. By early summer, the DOT will have narrowed the width of the busy street in several locations, reopened Clinton Street as an access point to the Williamsburg Bridge, changed signal timings and altered certain traffic regulations. The plan has received generally good reviews in the community.
But there’s one question in particular we keep hearing. In our comments section and elsewhere, residents ask, “why can’t the city build a pedestrian bridge over Delancey Street?” Last year, CB3 approved design guidelines for the Seward Park Development Project that stated, “a pedestrian overpass should be built over Delancey Street.”
In several public meetings, city officials have explained why they believe the idea is unworkable. First off, they have said, pedestrian bridge entrance/exit ramps take up a lot of room. At Clinton Street, for example, a new bridge would mean carving out a portion of the site (on the south side of Delancey Street) that will eventually be sold to a private developer. On the north side of the street, there’s a similar problem in that the buildings are all privately owned.
The other problem, DOT planners argued, is that people don’t really use pedestrian bridges — at least that has been the conclusion in other locations where bridges are in use. As the public review process for the Seward Park project gets underway, it’s likely the issue will come up again.
For the moment, DOT officials have indicated the big residential and commercial development will not trigger any large scale changes on Delancey, beyond the improvements already announced. At the same time, these officials have indicated, they’ll be studying traffic patterns after the Delancey Street alterations in place, with an eye towards possible tweaking of the plan.