With the proposed new Tappan Zee Bridge having attained and a significantly lower price tag, a new question has surfaced: what happens to the old bridge?
While demolition has long been the reigning solution, some officials and residents think giving the crossing a fresh start with different purpose is the best idea.
Paul Feiner, town supervisor of Greenburgh, noted he wants to keep the span as a gateway from one county to the other—but sans cars. He recently announced the idea of turning it into a pedestrian walkway, much like Manhattan's High Line, a former rail track that was transformed into an elevated walkway and garden.
"The [Tappan Zee] high line could save the state hundreds of millions of dollars since demolition will not be necessary," Feiner wrote on his website. "A high line could help our region attract tourists, increase property values and help local businesses."
(Feiner also proposed placing power-generating wind turbines on the bridge a few years back.)
Feiner's idea has garnered local support and media attention, but has yet to draw comments from higher brass. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Transportation have not addressed the concept.
Officials have noted, however, that the new bridge would accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. "Although not required for an interstate highway, a shared bike/pedestrian path would be included with the project to connect existing and future pathways on each side of the Hudson River," reads an information packet put out by the Department of Transportation earlier this month.
Currently, pedestrians and cyclists looking to cross the river must travel 15 miles south to the George Washington Bridge, or 18 miles north to the Bear Mountain Bridge.
Feiner's idea for opting out of demolition could mesh with a popular sentiment in South Nyack, where residents hope to turn the end of the bridge into a park. The —titled Lid Park—would partially restore the downtown South Nyack lost when the current bridge was built.