Steps are being taken to refurbish a heavily trafficked 90-year-old Kingsbridge staircase.
NYC Department of Design and Construction acting commissioner Ana Barrio and NYC Department of Transportation Bronx Borough commissioner Nivardo Lopez joined local elected officials and community leaders on Wednesday, June 28 to break ground on the $6.6 million reconstruction of the West 229th Street Step Street connecting Heath Avenue at its lowest point to Kingsbridge Terrace at the crest of the hilly western Bronx terrain.
Construction is anticipated to be completed in late 2018.
“Step streets have long been an important part of the local landscape in this community connecting areas where it’s too steep to build regular streets at grade,” explained Barrio. “This particular step street is frequently used by residents to access important bus routes as well as P.S. 360 and the Kingsbridge Community Center.”
“Cracked and uneven steps have made this step street at West 229th Street difficult to navigate for the hundreds of pedestrians that use it to get from Heath Avenue to Kingsbridge Terrace,” noted Lopez.
“I first brought these particular step streets to DOT’s attention because I was so appalled at their terrible condition,” shared Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. “I believe that this newly rebuilt step street will demonstrate how much communities can benefit from well maintained, well-lit pedestrian routes.”
The existing concrete step street is approximately 230-feet long with ten segments of stairs, nine landings and an elevation change of 65 feet from top to bottom.
Sloped terraces with concrete pavers and outer retaining walls adorn both sides of the stairs.
The reconstruction project will replace the entire stairs with new granite steps built to accommodate modern safety and construction standards.
The towering structure’s outer stone retaining walls will be repaired.
Its sloped concrete terraces and pavers will be replaced with new granite pavers set inside a concrete bedding.
New trees, drainage and lighting systems will be installed for the public staircase.
Two benches will be installed at two of the step street’s landings.
In addition, new bicycle channels will be incorporated on both sides of the new stairs allowing people to more easily walk their bikes up and down the structure.
To further improve pedestrian safety, sidewalks will be widened at the crosswalks at Kingsbrige Terrace and at Heath Avenue.
The project’s contractor is Padilla Construction Services, Inc. of Westbury, NY while AECOM USA, Inc. of Manhattan serves as design consultant.
Temporary wooden stairs will facilitate pedestrian access throughout the reconstruction phase.
“The reconstruction of the West 229th Street Step Street will enhance walkability, access to public transit, safety and improve the area’s visuals attractiveness,” expressed Councilman Fernando Cabrera.