Bridge X   •   www.bridgex.today 

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Collaborators: Design - Cy Zhang, Vita Wang  ∕∕  Planning - Jeremy Pi, Shannon Hasenfratz  ∕∕  Technology - Minzi Long  ∕∕  Traffic and Transport - Andrew Nash

Role: Landscape Architect / Project Lead

Status: 2020 Van Alen Institute Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge Competition Finalist

Location: New York City, NY

Bridge X is a proposal for Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge. Bridge X improves access to, and movement across, the bridge and enhances what is already one of New York’s most awe-inspiring experiences. 

 

Bridge X transforms Brooklyn Bridge’s automobile-focused transport infrastructure into a multi-functional linear open space of the future. The project combines open space activated by joyful programming and digital tools with sustainable transport, thereby relieving crowding on the bridge’s upper deck and providing space to help support Covid-19 recovery. By carefully blending open space design, multimodal transport planning, and digital technologies, Bridge X demonstrates how other bridges and transport infrastructure throughout New York can be transformed into community jewels.

 

Bridge X proposes a phased approach to public space design that supports flexibility and adaptability. The first phase provides a comfortable and enjoyable setting for welcoming the community back to Brooklyn Bridge – and can be implemented immediately to help New York recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Bridge X is an X-periment, a process of discovery. Brooklyn Bridge has always been an experiment. It was a test of technology – could towers be built in the East River to support the magnificent bridge? It was a test of policy – would the bridge support New York’s economic development? It was a test of community – how would the two cities change after the construction of the bridge? Bridge X nurtures the experiment, using extensive community engagement to help identify and design the improvements needed to create a Brooklyn Bridge for the future. A bridge that is welcoming to everyone, prioritizes sustainable transport and makes people happy. A bridge that is easily accessible from adjoining neighborhoods and that enriches New York’s open space and multimodal transport networks. An idea and process that can be replicated throughout New York and beyond.

 

Bridge X’s phased implementation plan gradually introduces new transport and open space improvements focused on creating a people’s bridge. In the immediate term, Bridge X converts the bridge’s existing Brooklyn-bound lanes into space for people to walk, bike, vend, and more,, providing space for everyone to cross the bridge at their own pace. All vehicle traffic is rerouted to the existing Manhattan-bound lanes, which are converted to one lane in each direction with a central break-down lane.

 

On the bridge, Bridge X creates a series of zones each offering different opportunities for: engaging with the historic design of the bridge, enjoying views of the East River and harbor, and making memories. These zones are created using a kit of design interventions including digital art, interactive platforms, playscapes, seating, and tables. The upper and lower decks are clearly delineated to provide sufficient room for walkers, joggers, sightseers, people wanting to relax, and take in the view, small businesses, and vendors, as well as including a separated cycling expressway. In short, Bridge X transforms Brooklyn Bridge into a linear park supporting transport, recreation, and respite.

 

A critical part of the Bridge X project is improving access to the bridge. To do this, Bridge X develops highly visible and welcoming bridge connections by creating anchorage plazas in Brooklyn and Manhattan. New access routes are created to connect these plazas with open space and transportation networks in adjacent neighborhoods. Access improvements include adding new Open Streets, bicycle lanes and bike-share docks. In addition, Bridge X implements an extensive set of physical and digital wayfinding improvements to guide people to and from the bridge – especially to/from transit stations, sustainable transport facilities, and major points of interest.

 

Finally, Bridge X offers a digital presence via its website and mobile phone application, in addition to traditional engagement methods. These digital elements introduce new ways for people to engage with the bridge infrastructure and community while providing Bridge X with a platform for collecting planning ideas and feedback. The dynamism of Bridge X welcomes a wide range of visitors, whom in-turn inform future interventions.

 

Bridge X distinguishes itself by placing the communities of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and New York at the heart of the process. Bridge X combines an extensive program of in-person and digital engagement strategies to ensure that the community can actively participate in developing and shaping the interventions, designs, and services that matter most for their Brooklyn Bridge. This planning process will be complemented by Bridge X’s proposed collaborative management structure. This structure brings together a diverse range of partners including city agencies, and neighborhood and advocacy groups to plan, implement, and maintain community-based ideas.

 

Brooklyn Bridge is a shared civic icon and must be shaped by a shared vision and communal caretaking. Bridge X’s community involvement and collaborative management structure are designed to help forge the partnerships between elected officials, residents, local cultural centers and institutions, vendors, commuters, and designers – that will be critical to achieving this vision. 

 © 2023 by Wendy Yifei Wang.