Thursday, October 11, 2012

(Robert) Moses' Legacy Requires Serious Touching Up

Under the headline Advocates Pushing for Bike Path Over Verrazano Bridge DNAinfo Reporter/Producer, Nicholas Rizziwrites from - STATEN ISLAND — A transit advocacy group wants tourists and others in the borough to be able to bike or walk across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in a contentious push to make one of the longest spans in the world more pedestrian friendly.

So with typical, objective, reportorial finesse a bone is thrown midst the pack to argue over where there are many reasons to not correct the wrong thing that was done in the first place. Simply put in Robert Caro' s The Power Broker the transportation czar Robert Moses, under whom the Verrazano was built, was ingrained with certain prejudices supposedly more common to his era than to ours. It's debated how accurate this point of Mr. Caro's was, but in designing the highways to reach the park system, Mr. Moses created on Long Island, he neglected, or certainly, possibly built overpasses under which buses could not travel thereby limiting the system to passenger cars. Mr. Caro couldn't help but predictably question that this was a prejudiced move to keep the lower economic status-ed blacks away from the white dominated summer paradises. Sure Robert Caro admits that's quite possibly not the full truth, but New York's flawed Moses was certainly prejudiced in the automobiles favor. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was built without a walk-way and I have walked the walkway he built into his previous spectacular Triborough (Robert F. Kennedy, Bobby) Bridge and I have never been so scared walking anywhere on this planet my entire life. A joke of a walkway right next to traffic, and when not, you're a story above as if dangling for your life. i just wanted down. So that's the background? Since Robert Moses burned our bridges to a sane traveling future, we should too?

Mr. Rizzi continues - The Verrazano bridge bike path is part of the group's proposed Harbor Ring — a 50-mile route for walkers and bicyclists that connects the waterfronts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and parts of New JerseyDave Abraham, of Transportation Alternatives, is quoted saying, "It is now a bridge that lacks access for all users. The need is still very much there. Imagine being able to avoid the $12 or $15 toll and just having a pleasant bicycle route to go back and forth."

Perhaps TA missed some politicians murmuring last year that they'd like to charge everyone for crossing the Queensborough Bridge. You can feel it can't you? Paying to carry yourself across a refurbished Verrazano Bridge. Socialism must be paid for like any other capitalist enterprise. No?

Then The Five Boro Bike Tour is praised as the great photo-op when closed to car traffic, while - The MTA, which manages the bridge, said it has no plans for such a project or money allocated for it, and that the agency is instead focused on an effort to upgrade the upper level of the bridge. Judie Glave, a spokeswoman for the MTA, said, "While we understand why many people would like to see a bicycle and pedestrian path across the Verrazano Bridge, we are currently focusing on a multi-year effort to replace and upgrade the entire upper level of the nearly 48-year-old bridge"

With solar panels and green space soil for MTA heads to be further planted in the sand?

And of course the Staten Island Advance reported Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro called the idea "ridiculous" and a waste of money. "I think it's absolutely ridiculous, across the Verrazano Bridge," Molinaro told the Advance. "It doesn't make sense. How many people would use it? It's got to be worth the effort and the cost, for everything you do."

Yet it would have been worth it to us for all these many years if Moses had bothered to care for more than the affluent driving caste. Obviously his park system is shared by everyone, who can get there, now. Be that as it may, it seems the long-time S.I. King Molinaro probably never met a chauffeured limousine he didn't love with all his heart. No?

Plus DNAinfo printed -  Molinaro did not respond to a request for comments for their article.
No kidding.

While TA's - Abraham countered that except for the bridge path, the majority of the Harbor Ring route would not be that large and expensive of a project. Nearly 28 miles of the route is already in place, and the majority of work for it would involve putting up signs, benches or painted lines, which Abraham expects to be implemented piecemeal. It's going to take years, maybe decades, for it to be fully realized," Abraham said. Transportation Alternatives has not designed or planned how the walkway would be put into place on the bridge, but is simply trying to build support for the idea. He added that the bridge, which opened in 1964, was originally mapped for pedestrian and bicycle use, and engineers have told him the original plans may still be used. "It is most definitely feasible to do," Abraham said. "Maybe those plans need to be adjusted or changed entirely, [but] it does seem like it's still very much a possibility. We don't want to advocate for an idea that's too much of a pipe dream." The original mapping would put the bike path on the outer-edge of both sides of the bridge near the cables. While agreeing the cost would be great, Abraham believes the path would be worth it in the end. "I really think the payoff would be tremendous," he said. "We have all these gems that a connected Harbor Ring could give better access. It would just continue to pay off in the future." Abraham wasn't sure why the walkway was never installed when the bridge was originally built, but heard rumors that notorious urban planner Robert Moses feared suicide attempts on the bridge.

DNAinfo includes more coverage of the suicide issue.

And TA is currently taking to the crowd-funding website Indiegogo to raise funds to print maps of the proposed Harbor Ring in an attempt drum up support.

Over Robert Moses' dead body. Hear, hear.