Alternative transportation is having a moment in the city, whether it’s the looming shutdown of the L train or the constant headache that is riding any of the city’s subway lines. From more ferries to electric bikes or creating car-free corridors within Manhattan and beyond, everyone is looking for ways to keep the city moving.
So the time felt right for Brooklyn-based studio Crème / Jun Aizaki Architecture & Design to take its idea for reconnecting the two fast-growing neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Long Island City public. The company has launched a Kickstarter to build the Timber Bridge, a floating wooden bridge for pedestrians and bikes over Newtown Creek that would connect Brooklyn’s Manhattan Avenue to Long Island City’s Vernon Boulevard.
“Greenpoint and Long Island City are both already amazing neighborhoods,” says project lead Jun Aizaki,who’s lived in the area for close to 20 years. “We think with our connection they can be even more amazing. And given that these neighborhoods are constantly evolving with more developments, we think more options for commuting are needed.”
The bridge would allow passenger and bike traffic to pass across the creek as well as over the LIRR rail yard in Long Island City. Over the water, its pillars would be tall enough to allow small boats to pass beneath the bridge, which would be able to swing open to allow larger ships to pass.
“We chose timber for the Timber Bridge because of its sustainability as well as the ease of use, speed to construct and lower costs,” he says. “We also think timber is a really striking building material and think will make it an iconic bridge to visit.”
Right now, the only commuting option residents have between the two boroughs besides the subway is the Pulaski Bridge, which was built primarily for car traffic whose bike lanes aren’t large or protected enough, according to Crème.
Timber Bridge would be just the beginning of a bigger revitalization project called the LongPoint Corridor, reaching from 54th Avenue in Brooklyn to the LIRR rail yard in Queens. Crème has plans to revitalize the areas around both ends of the bridge, creating not just green space but storefronts.
Crème has been working on the proposal for several years, and the Kickstarter is looking to raise $50,000 by June 16 to fund further studies of the project, community events to raise awareness, and a light installation that would mirror the eventual bridge. “We can't raise the funds needed to actually build the bridge through crowdfunding,” Aizaki admits, “but $50K will help us to further work on feasibility, engineering and planning.”
While the LongPoint Corridor is certainly worth getting excited about, it’s just an idea for now and would still have to clear the city’s lengthy permitting process. The whole project is estimated to cost $32 million and would take about two years to complete.