Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Need for a New Stairway to the High Bridge in Washington Heights

c 2015 David Comora

Now that the city has committed to the demolition and reconstruction of the Grand Stairway between the High Bridge and the waterfront on the Bronx side of the bridge, it seems only fitting that they should also reconsider the reconstruction of a more friendly stairway on the Manhattan side.

Complaints have been coming in from pedestrians and bicyclists alike about the awkward situation in Highbridge Park.  The stairway is very steep, very long, very dangerous, and impossible to navigate for many.  The only alternative right now is to travel all the way down to 165th Street and Edgecombe Ave. and enter Highbridge Park on the path there that goes toward the High Bridge or visa versa.  This adds about 16 additional blocks to the trip!

It isn't as though the hillside where the current stairway is located can't be re-sculpted to accommodate a 'Petit Grand Stairway' and bicycle ramp to allow access for the disabled, handicapped, and bicyclists.

Courtesy Jon Sobel @ Park Odyssey

This past week we have reports of people being daunted by the stairway and an incident of a woman receiving extensive burns from the Victorian Era railing.

copyright Roy Levit, with permission
Certainly, after spending almost $62 million to rebuild the High Bridge you would think that the City could come up with the extra dollars necessary to get the crowds of expected visitors safely to the bridge from the Water Tower Plaza some 100 feet above the entrance to the bridge. Even the John T Brush Stairway to Heaven over on Coogan's Bluff has a recent redo.

And what about those restrooms we all need?


  1. I agree completely. This is lame. Spend all that money and have to go through hell to get there.

  2. You know, they say that those railings are real old and they went to all that trouble to restore them, when they could have put that money into something useful. They don't have to destroy that stairway to put in another one with a ramp right near it to the south.

  3. If you Parks & Rec people are reading this, let's hear what you have to say about the stairs and what you intend to do about it.