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City Island continues efforts for new bridge design

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In defiance of an agency many feel are hurting their community by imposing a bridge design, City Island residents are once again expressing their frustrations with the design of the bridge that will replace the current artery accessing the mainland.

While the Department of Transportation maintains that the design, which has a scaled-down super structure of a cable stayed bridge rising approximately 150 feet in the air in the shaped of a sail is the right move to add some flair to the only approach by land to the island, many residents remain unconvinced.

Recently, the City Island Garden Club, a group not known for its political activity, reached out to Councilman Jimmy Vacca and other elected officials, asking that the design for the construction of the new bridge be reconsidered, and a causeway similar in design to one built in Minneapolis possibly substituted.

“The feedback I am getting from the membership is that this bridge design is being forced upon us,” said Bill Stanton, acting president of the City Island Civic Association. “We consider City Island a unique community. It is ultimately Islanders who will have to drive over this bridge every day.”

Stanton said that he felt that it was disingenuous for the DOT to say that only one type of design can be used to bridge the 500-foot gap between City Island and Pelham Bay Park.

The Garden Club of City Island wrote requesting that the DOT consider smaller version of a bridge that replaced a collapsed one on I-35 in Minneapolis. The bridge does not have stanchions that would be placed in the water, which is one of the requirements that DOT set forth for the new design.

Barbara Dolensek, of the City Island Civic Association, also clarified the organization’s position even further in a letter to the DOT press office published in the Bronx Times Reporter on October 30, in which she stated that the vast majority of the membership was unequivocally opposed to the new bridge in its current incarnation.

“In May 2002, when four possible designs were shown to Community Board 10, we all raised a great deal of protest, and this protest increased in September when the same proposals, including cable-stayed options, were presented to the City Island Civic Association,” Dolensek stated, on behalf of CICA. “It was made very clear that the cable-stayed option was the one preferred by the DOT, although residents objected to the fact that it was too modern, too tall, and too out of character with City Island.”

Dolensek went on to state in the letter that when the size of the superstructure proposed shrunk from 450 feet to 150 feet, the group was told that they had no other choice, but that they never officially “accepted” the bridge.

According to sources close to the budget process at City Hall, DOT has indeed confirmed that the bridge construction has been delayed until fiscal year 2012. Many hope that this delay will provide some time for the community to provide more input as far the design is concerned.

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group