The bouncy Squibb Park Bridge, a zig-zagging link between Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge Park, has been closed to the public for exactly one yearand there's no telling when it might re-open. When the bridge first closed last August, park officials said it was just a temporary closure for repairs. The bridge, designed by prominent engineer Ted Zoli, had become too bouncy and started to tilt. But the park's self-imposed deadlines were repeatedly missed, and local officials and residents are getting pretty annoyed at the park. State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, and City Councilman Stephen T. Levin wrote a letter to the park corporation last week, demanding an explanation for the lengthy closure and an opening date, but no response has been issued. In a statement provided to the Times yesterday, parks spokesperson Belinda Cape said, "We know how much the public loves the bridge, and we're eager to get it reopened."
In May, parks officials provided more details about what went wrong with the $4.1 million bridgeevidently it was a misalignment issueand steps being taken to correct the problem. The repairs cost $700,000, and the park plans to recoup this cost from responsible parties. Last week, park officials said that they were simply awaiting final inspections and occupancy permits from the city.
But there is some speculation that the bridge may never actually re-open. The Brooklyn Eagle points to commenters on the Brooklyn Heights Blog who have suggested that the Pierhouse development will keep the bridge closed for awhile, or perhaps forever. Parks officials have previously said that construction of Pierhouse, which rises on either side of Squibb Park Bridge, had nothing to do with the closure, but one neighbor thinks "it's simply too close to the construction, and there's no way to build a protective shed over it." When the bridge closed, Pierhouse's structure was not yet rising, but now it is several stories taller than the bridge.
A more cynical commenter believes that Pierhouse will keep the bridge closed, as the owners of the multi-million dollar condos won't want people strolling past their windows. However, as much as people love to believe an evil developer is always the enemy, this is probably unlikely, as the bridge was planned long before the development plans were revealed for these sites (but hey, it could always be an evil millionaire buyer pushing for the bridge's continued closure).
It also seems like not all of the area residents want it to reopen. Several commenters on Curbed have spoken out against the bridge. "I live in the area and wish it would stay closed," wrote EHinBH. "I supported the Park at first, but that was before it turned into Disneyworld. I thought it was going to be green areas for the most part, and it's mostly activity-orientated; so the BH hood has been taken over with parkgoers..." Andrew Porter echoed the sentiment, "I too live in the north Heights. When the bridge was open it generated vandalism on Hicks Street, plus thousands more people in the immediate neighborhood." BKMommy added, "We live near the park and it is a zoo on the weekends and is not enjoyable. [...] I moved to Brooklyn almost 10 years to get away from the crowds of tourists in Manhattan and those tourists seemed to have followed me."
They'd probably prefer it if it was in Williamsburg.
· One Year Later, 'Bouncy Bridge' in Brooklyn Remains Closed [NYT]
· Will Squibb Bridge Bounce Back? Brooklyn Officials Push for Answers [BK Eagle]
· All Squibb Park Bridge coverage [Curbed]