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HB HIGH BRIDGE TEAM: Stephen Kennedy Laura Manville Dominick Tribone

HIGH BRIDGE & DEPOT PLACE MASTER PLAN THE DRAMATIC TOPOGRAPHY OF THIS SITE IS A CHALLENGE, BUT ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE UNIQUE SPACES FOR BRONX RESIDENTS AT THE HARLEM RIVER.

These boards present infrastructural, ecological, and culturally-based ideas and plans for reclaiming the water edge in the High Bridge neighborhood. In particular, the site focuses on interventions around Depot Place, the High Bridge Plaza, and several of streets that connect the site into the neighborhood.

Graphics and design concepts by Stephen Kennedy, Laura Manville, and Dominick Tribone, along with the members of the MIT Bronx Site & Systems Planning Studio in Spring 2011.

SECTION HIGH BRIDGE & DEPOT PLACE INTERVENTIONS 0’

20’

40’

80’

160’

TRANSECT Currently, there are significant physical barriers for residents wishing to access the water at this part of the Harlem River. The dramatic elevation changes, the Major Deegan expressway, and several rail lines currently stand between the neighborhoods and the river. But this area is also fortunate to host existing infrastructure that can be adapted for pedestrians. These include Depot Place, a vehicular access route over the Major Deegan and Metro North tracks, and the stone steps of the High Bridge. The diagram at left shows the complexity of this site.

HB

Bronx, Meet Your Waterfront Plan

SITE & SYSTEMS PLANNING PRACTICUM

A HISTORIC RESOURCE High Bridge is the oldest standing bridge in New York City. The bridge is a beautiful and important neighborhood asset that connects Manhattan and the Bronx. Its tall masonry arches create majestic spaces beneath and an unparalleled view of the Harlem River from up top.

DEPARTMENT OF URBAN STUDIES & PLANNING

HARLEM RIVER PROMENADE Our ideas fit into a larger vision for this part of the Bronx waterfront. The Harlem River Promenade will create a dramatic park under the High Bridge,

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

HTTP://BRONX.MIT.EDU

featuring a boathouse, greenhouse, and space for active recreation. Our ideas respond to resident feedback on these planned waterfront improvements, and focus on connecting the proposed new recreational spaces to the community.

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HB HIGH BRIDGE TEAM: Stephen Kennedy Laura Manville Dominick Tribone

HIGH BRIDGE & PLAZA SITE DETAILS HIGH BRIDGE STONE STEPS LANDSCAPE REDESIGN

CURRENT VIEW OF THE STONE STEPS Currently, you could pass by the steps and hardly know they were there! Overgrown trees and vegetation have obscured this important path and historic asset.

STONE STEPS RENOVATION The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is planning to restore the High Bridge steps. The steps are crumbling and damaged from years of foot traffic. With planned investment along the Harlem River, and with the renovation of this historic resource, the steps will undoubtably see more use as people travel from the neighborhood to the water.

The rendering at the top of this poster was inspired by the historic image of the steps at right. The high visibility of the redesigned steps responds to neighborhood residents who want to see the steps become a safer and more convenient access point. Our idea is to prune the vegetation around the stairs and to install rain gardens to prevent erosion and control some of the stormwater run-off from this steep slope. A dramatic vision of the steps from the new Harlem River promende, and from Manhattan, will highlight that the Bronx side of the bridge is a destination.

HIGH BRIDGE PLAZA ENTRANCE DESIGN Currently, High Bridge Park in the Bronx is situated below street level. When visitors to the renovated High Bridge approach the park from the north or east, they won’t see the bridge or the plaza until they get all the way to University Avenue. Additionally, the ramped park entrance is currently off-set more than a block from the bridge’s actual entrance. The site plan at left shows the plaza featuring a new entrance that steps down to the park from University Avenue at 170th Street. The rendering below shows the view as one approaches this new gate.

TEMPORARY ACTIVATIONS OF PUBLIC SPACE: CHAIR DAY! As part of our design process, we brainstormed ideas to bring new visitors and current residents together in the first stages of the bridge’s re-opening. One idea was “Bring Your Chair Day,” where neighborhood residents could bring their own lawn chairs or other furniture to the High Bridge to enjoy the sun and the views. This is a low barrier, low cost event idea that has potential to transform the bridge for an afternoon, and bring people together from both sides of the river.

HISTORIC IMAGE COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY (www.nypl.org)

HIGH BRIDGE PLAZA GATEWAY DESIGN

TEMPORARY ACTIVATIONS OF PUBLIC SPACE: HIGH BRIDGE SALSA NIGHT

EXAMPLE GATE, AS VIEWED FROM 170TH

SALSA ON THE HIGH BRIDGE

This gate, modeled on the arches of the High Bridge, is just one design idea for the plaza gateway.

Salsa night on the High Bridge, sponsored by one of the performance or cultural institutions on either side of the Harlem River, would be a low cost and interesting use of the space during evening hours.

A visible gate for the High Bridge park would make the entrance easier to see and exciting to reach. On 170th Street, we envision banners, or even changes in paving, indicating a clear path to the High Bridge. Visitors coming from the Grand Concourse or MTA stations should be able to see and celebrate the approach to the park.

HB

Bronx, Meet Your Waterfront Plan

SITE & SYSTEMS PLANNING PRACTICUM

DEPARTMENT OF URBAN STUDIES & PLANNING

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

HTTP://BRONX.MIT.EDU

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HB

Improve sidewalk and bicycle paths along Depot Place ramp and Exterior Street

Raise intersection at Depot Place and Sedgwick Avenue

DEPOT PLACE & SEDGWICK AVE ACCESS DETAILS Our access plan for the High Bridge plaza, steps, and Harlem River Promenade is centered on making paths to the river friendly to pedestrians of all ages and abilities. Below are some ideas for how to connect to existing and future bicycle

infrastructure. We also thought about how to accomodate current transportation uses at the site, and how to reconcile the current MTA and CSX tracks with a more active waterfront space.

Greenway South along Harlem River edge

IMPROVING PEDESTRIAN ACCESS Sedgwick Avenue, which runs alongside the expressway, is unfriendly to pedestrians to say the least. There are no places to cross safely and no sidewalk. The stairs from the High Bridge lead down to Sedgwick, only a few hundred feet from the Depot Place bridge, which is the only street for a mile in either direction that crosses both the Major Deegan and the Metro North tracks, providing access directly to the waterfront. However, the street was designed as an access road for the highway, with pedestrian sidewalks as an afterthought. With the reinvestment in the High Bridge and historic stone steps, Sedgwick Avenue needs to be a more inviting and safe street for the pedestrians who will make use of these assets. Our proposal is to add a visible and enforced crosswalk to aid future visitors to the promenade. The Depot Place crossing over thwe Deegan has more car lanes than is really needed. We propose removing parking and giving almost a full lane over to a pedestrian sidewalk and green space. This will also create a single visible path from the Bronx end of the High Bridge straight down to the water. Specific improvements include: • wider sidewalks • highly visible and marked intersection at Sedgwick and Depot Place • narrowing Depot Place to one lane in each direction and devoting additional space to pedestrian and bike path

SOUTHBOUND CONNECTION This bicycle and pedestrian path along the river’s edge would run from Roberto Clemente State Park at W. Tremont Avenue in Morris Heights down to the new Mill Pond Park at 149th Street, providing connections between the Gateway Center, Morris Heights, High Bridge, and Melrose neighborhoods.

PEDESTRIAN RAMP ACCESS TO THE HARLEM RIVER PROMENADE

The diagrams below show how a pedestrian path along the river could be created while maintaining important existing access to the MTA’s yards. The main parking lot would be moved to the area between the Marjor Deegan and the tracks. Employees would use the existing overpass at the yards station. Truck access would be maintained to the western side of the yards, but the additional space along the water’s edge would be redeveloped as a pedestrian path, separated from the yards by a fence or living wall.

A new pedestrian ramp will provide a quick, easy way to access the Harlem River Promenade north of the High Bridge. Adding decking as the primary landing from Depot Place will also provide a the perfect spot to view the High Bridge and watch waterfront events.

HB

Bronx, Meet Your Waterfront Plan

SITE & SYSTEMS PLANNING PRACTICUM

DEPARTMENT OF URBAN STUDIES & PLANNING

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

HTTP://BRONX.MIT.EDU

SPRING 2011

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High Bridge  

Bronx, Meet Your Waterfront Plan High Bridge is the oldest standing bridge in New York City. The bridge is a beautiful and important neighbo...

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