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Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge Update

Oct 16 2019
Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge

NYCEDC is moving forward with the Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge deconstruction and restoration project. The Rector Street Bridge was built after after the attacks of September 11, 2001, as a temporary pedestrian bridge to replace bridges that were destroyed in the attacks.

NYCEDC is finishing construction of the permanent replacement, known as the West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge, located one block south of the Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge.

When the permanent bridge is completed at the end of 2019, the Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge will be deconstructed and removed. This will allow for enlargement of the existing community garden and basketball courts, using new space currently being taken up by the bridge’s western landings.

Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge
Project work area

The Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge: A Temporary Solution

The Rector Street Bridge was always intended to be a temporary structure, built to replace older bridges that were destroyed or damaged on 9/11. Because of the bridge’s temporary nature and the emergency circumstances under which it was originally built, the City waived several non-compliance issues:

  • It is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • The east landing constrains the sidewalk and does not allow it to accommodate high volumes of pedestrians.
  • The bridge’s proximity to the Metropolitan College building prevents that building from fully satisfying fire safety requirements.
  • The bridge’s temporary footings are located on top of vital subsurface utilities that cannot be accessed during an emergency.

These are serious safety issues that cannot be corrected while maintaining the configuration and footprint of the existing bridge. Leaving the bridge standing would come at a major cost to public safety and require legislation to permanently alienate the gardens and basketball courts at the west landing—depriving the community of outdoor recreational space.

Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge
Rector Street landscape restoration

The West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge: A New Point of Connection

The replacement bridge at West Thames, however, does address these issues. A permanent replacement for the Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge, the West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge provides a direct pedestrian connection to Battery Park City from the Financial District, while allowing for the enlargement of the existing gardens and basketball courts.

The West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge is substantially complete, with final completion anticipated by the end of 2019.

Project Schedule:

  • January 2020: Rector Street Bridge will be closed to the public
  • January 2020 – May 2020: Removal of Rector Street Bridge
  • May 2020 – October 2020: Restoration of surrounding areas
Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge
Expansion to Liberty community garden and basketball courts

Questions?

Contact: [email protected]

Reach out to Wil Fisher at