City approves 7-ft. fence for Queensboro Bridge

By Philip Newman

Diane Jackier, a spokeswoman for the commission, said the vote was 6-0 in favor of issuing what the agency calls a positive, binding permit allowing the city Department of Transportation to put up the fence.

Jackier said eight of the 11 members of the commission were present for the vote and two members abstained from voting on the fence, which would be high enough to prevent walkers and bike riders from falling into the river below.

She said the commission decided that the fence would not “diminish the architectural characteristics of this landmark.”

Noah Budnick of Transportation Alternatives, an environmental and transportation activist organization, expressed disappointment.

“We are disturbed by this decision, which we feel will degrade the character of this bridge,” Budnick said. “The addition of a 7-foot-high chain-link fence will lead to decreased use of the bridge by pedestrians and bicyclists and will result in the path being deserted and thus less safe.”

“Aesthetically, a chain link fence across the entire path would have a disastrous effect on the elegant flow of the bridge's existing ironwork,” a Transportation Alternatives member said. “A 7-foot-tall chain link also evokes an era of high crime rates and creates paranoia and fear of public spaces.”

The Queens Historical Society also opposed the 7-foot fence.

The Queensboro Bridge opened in 1909 and links 59th Street in Manhattan with Long Island City in Queens and passes over Roosevelt Island. It was the third of eight bridges spanning the East River.

The span is 7,450 feet and is 135 feet above water level.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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