New York City Council Member was joined by community members and his fellow colleagues in government at Van Cortlandt Park on September 20th, 2019 as he announced the full funding of the Van Cortlandt Park pedestrian bridge. The project has received the $11,500,000 additional capital needed to fully fund the $23,500,000 project. The Council Member has been committed to seeing this project through to completion, and fought to ensure that the short-fall in capital was rectified with the passage of the City’s most recent budget.
Council Member Cohen worked with Mayor de Blasio, Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie, the New York State Senate, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., United States Congressman Eliot Engel, and New York State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz to secure the $12 million needed for the full funding of the design and construction of the pedestrian bridge in 2015. Since securing the necessary capital over four years ago, the NYC Department of Design and Construction commenced the planning and design work, which revealed that the cost of the bridge was projected to be $10 to $12 million more than the original estimate made by the City in 2015. In 2019, Council Member Cohen worked the Mayor’s Office of Management & Budget to ensure that fully funding this pedestrian bridge remained a priority of the City.
The construction of a Van Cortlandt Park pedestrian bridge has been a goal of the community for several decades as a way to combat the devastating impacts that Robert Moses and the Major Deegan Expressway have had on Van Cortlandt Park. The addition of a pedestrian bridge to the City’s third largest park would allow members of its neighboring communities to easily access both sides of the 1,146-acre landscape, which they are currently unable to do easily without a car. By uniting the western and eastern halves of the park back together the park will be made more equitable for all New Yorkers, giving easy access to all the facilities and beauty that Van Cortlandt Park has to offer.
“I am thrilled to announce that the Van Cortlandt Park pedestrian bridge project has finally received full funding!’ said New York City Council Member Andrew Cohen. “The community has been requesting a pedestrian bridge to unite the east and west sides of Van Cortlandt Park for several decades. Van Cortlandt Park is a New York City gem, but it is ridiculous how difficult it is to navigate from one side of the park to the other. Since my announcement that the bridge was fully funded in 2014, the City found the design required an additional $11.5 million in funding to complete this project. For years, I have worked to ensure that this project remained a priority of the City, and I will continue to do so until the project is finished. I am thankful for the ongoing support and partnership of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York State Legislature, Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel, NY Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance team, and all our north-west Bronx community members.”
“The Van Cortlandt Park Alliance is thrilled that the Pedestrian Bridge is going to be constructed to bring together the two halves of Van Cortlandt Park now separated by the Major Deegan. This is a project that the Alliance, our two predecessor organizations, and the Bronx community have advocated for over the last decade. This is a momentous occasion for Van Cortlandt Park.” said Nina Habib Spencer and Carol Samol, Co-Chairs Van Cortlandt Park Alliance.
“Securing funding for the construction of this pedestrian bridge in Van Cortlandt Park means greater accessibility for Bronxites who frequent the park grounds,” said Speaker Carl Heastie. “This park is the third largest here in our city and is home to baseball fields, basketball courts, golf courses, running tracks, tennis courts, hiking trails as well as a host of other family fun areas. By making much needed investments to its infrastructure we are illustrating how important parks are to the wellness of our communities.”
“Van Cortlandt Park is one of the jewels of our city’s park system, and this bridge will connect the communities on either side of this park and make this wonderful amenity whole. Congratulations to Council Member Andrew Cohen on securing the money for this critical project. I look forward to crossing the bridge, like so many other Bronxites and park users from all over the region, in the near future,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
“This is a big win for the community,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. “We have been requesting a pedestrian footbridge to connect Van Cortlandt Park for years, and now thanks to the efforts of our local elected officials, the funding is in place to make it happen. I thank my partners in government, Assemblyman Dinowitz, Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Heastie, Borough President Diaz Jr. and especially Councilman Cohen for all helping to make this day happen.”
“Our community has been fighting for a pedestrian bridge to connect the two sections of Van Cortlandt park divided by the Major Deegan for two decades. I am proud to have helped secure $3 million in funding from the New York State Assembly towards this project. While it is frustrating that the cost of this project has continued to balloon, I am excited that Council Member Andrew Cohen was able to secure the necessary additional funds to ensure this project is seen through to the finish. I look forward to a continued dialogue with all stakeholders to ensure the bridge is built in a way that reflects what our community wants – cost efficient, aesthetically appealing, and environmentally sensitive which will not needlessly cut down trees.” said New York State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz
“Members of our community must be able to safely travel to and from Van Cortlandt Park without having to cross busy highways, and it is essential that Bronxites have easy accessibility to such a special green space. I am grateful for the dedicated work of Councilmember Andrew Cohen in securing the funding to build the Van Cortlandt Park Pedestrian Bridge, and providing our constituents with the necessary infrastructure to further explore Senate District 34,” said New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi