The proposal Lookout Connector seeks to address issues of access, experience, and sustainability. Since that fateful day in May of 1883 when a stampede broke out killing 12 people on the Brooklyn Bridge, just days after having been inaugurated, the Brooklyn Bridge has always been too popular and too congested for its design. While “improvements” have been made to make the bridge more car friendly, pedestrian access has been only further complicated. Few residents of Brooklyn or Manhattan residents are brave enough to take the daily commute by foot or bike across the Brooklyn Bridge every morning on their way to work. Few locals might dare take a stroll down the Brooklyn Bridge on a warm memorial day weekend when tourists abound the narrow wooden corridor of the Brooklyn Bridge. In recent times The Brooklyn Bridge has become more congested than ever, at a time when COVID 19 has made avoiding congestion a central challenge to our urban spaces, decongestion has become not only a matter of comfort but also a public health concern.
With new access points, the widened bridge creates two important links between Pearl Street / Seaport in Manhattan to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. New elevator access points will make commuting between these two neighborhoods a simple bike ride through new dedicated tree lined bike lanes. One might even have the chance to STOP at the new central Lookout for an impromptu street performance or event.
Built out of mass timber, the new structure sits over the existing steel structure which frames the existing road. This existing structure provides a great opportunity for a new wider walkway. The former existing walkway now serves as space for new vegetation to occupy the bridge. The new widened walkway allows for dedicated bicycle lanes, spaces to sit and relax as well as a much expanded area for walking and events. Mass timber has a long history in Manhattan where forests once abounded, many early Manhattan buildings were built from timber. Today many historic wooden water towers still remain. In Brooklyn the recently renovated Brooklyn Bridge park utilized recycled timber from decommissioned buildings for its renovations. Today’ mass timber cut from farmed/managed forests is a long lasting material which will capture CO2 instead of generating it.
(Above) The new Brooklyn Bridge Park access proposed allows for a direct connection to the bridge from one of Brooklyn's most popular neighborhoods.