Adding to the urgency to the desire to take control of the bridge is the incipient rumor that CSX may be contemplating closing the Broad Street crossing for safety reasons, which would make the Ferry Street Bridge the only access to riverfront park and the boat launch. If this were to happen, having a new bridge that belonged to the City and was sturdy enough to bear the weight of firetrucks would be critically important.
There has been concern about losing the historic bridge, which has been in place for at least a hundred years. Common Council president Don Moore seemed to be acknowledging this concern when he mused aloud at the Economic Development Committee meeting on Thursday night about the possibility of incorporating the visible trusses of the existing bridge into the new bridge.
If the Broad Street crossing were to close, a new and sturdier Ferry Street Bridge, whose safekeeping were in the hands of the City, would solve the problem of getting passenger cars and pedestrians--and emergency vehicles, when necessary--over the railroad tracks to riverfront park and the boat launch and whatever else gets developed down there, but what about the gravel trucks? Hudson can't seem to make plans for its waterfront without making accommodation for the rock coming out of the quarry, so in a scenario that eliminates the grade level crossing, how would the dump trucks get to the port? The City certainly will not want enormously heavy, aggregate-laden dump trucks rumbling over the new bridge and past Henry Hudson Riverfront Park.
The recently released revised zoning map holds a clue to what may be an inevitable solution. The area of lighter green labeled "R-C" is the Recreational Conservation District that is South Bay. The rat tail of emerald green cutting through it is the causeway. Note how the tail attaches to the emerald green body labeled "C-R"--Core Riverfront District--right about where the port is located. It continues uninterrupted over the railroad tracks. If CSX were to close the Broad Street crossing, would it mean that the City would have to accept a conveyor over the railroad tracks at this point to allow gravel to get from the end of the causeway to the port?
Comment 3.1.32 on the Generic Environmental Impact Statement, made by John E. Franzen of the Athens Waterfront Advisory Committee (see pages 3-34 and 3-35 of the FGEIS), expresses concern about "port enhancements" and mentions specifically "elevated conveyors." The response to that comment seems emphatic enough: "The Draft LWRP does not mention, contemplate or countenance an 'elevated conveyor' at the riverfront."
later, we bemoan the evil that won out.
If CSX were to close the Broad Street crossing, Hudson will find itself once again between a rock and a hard place, having to choose between allowing gravel trucks across the Ferry Street Bridge--assuming the City has built a better, stronger bridge that can support their massive weight--or permitting an elevated conveyor at the western end of the causeway.