A street in Kingsbridge just took a step in the right direction…about ten flights of them to be exact.
The West 229th Street Step Street between Kingsbridge Terrace and Heath Avenue was officially reopened after a two year renovation on Friday, May 24.
The new and improved step street now boasts an approximate 230 feet of smooth granite steps split between nine different landings and at total elevation difference of 65 feet all done at a final cost of $10.7 million.
Also installed during the expensive renovation were: new trees, drainage and lighting systems plus a few benches and an outer stone retaining walls were repaired. Bike tracks for pedestrians to carry bicycles up and down the stairs were also added into the mix in efforts to meet modern safety and construction standards.
Prior to its renovation, the large flight of stairs hadn’t been touched (aside from pedestrian use) during its 90-year existence.
It was in 2017 that the dilapidated, crooked and dangerous stairwell became a repair priority by elected officials Councilman Fernando Cabrera and Assemblyman Jeffery Dinowitz.
“I first brought these particular step streets to the NYC Department of Transportation’s attention because I was so appalled at their terrible condition,” Dinowitz said at the time the repair was announced. “I believe that this newly rebuilt step street will demonstrate how much communities can benefit from well maintained, well-lit pedestrian routes,” he continued.
Fast forward to 2019, he joined Cabrera, Bronx DOT Commissioner Nivardo Lopez, and NYC Department of Design and Construction members to celebrate the escalation to the neighborhood.
“Step streets are a common feature of the west Bronx landscape and add a visual attractiveness to the area,” Cabrera said, noting that he attended the groundbreaking in 2017, witnessing what bad shape the steps were in.
“I’m very happy today to see the reconstruction of the West 229th Street Step Street completed, enhancing walkability, access to public transit, safety and restoring an easy and familiar pedestrian route,” the councilman continued.
While the popular route was out of commission for almost two years, most local residents had to take a ten-minute detour to Kingsbridge Terrace from Heath Avenue.
DDC commissioner Lorraine Grillo also made note that the step street serves as an important connector for bus routes as well as provides easy access to P.S. 360 and the Kingsbridge Community Center, both of which are on Kingsbridge Terrace.
Overall, the Bronx boasts 64 step streets, the most of any borough.