FOCAAdmin  May.13.2015

A new pedestrian bridge connecting the Shandler Recreation Area and Croton Woods in Van Cortlandt Park will reconnect two large parts of the park that were cut apart by the 1950s construction of the Major Deegan Expressway. The bridge, if not directly on the Old Croton Aqueduct, will be so close to it that in effect it will also reconnect the trail, eliminating the detour to 233rd St. that has bedeviled Aqueduct walkers for decades. The bridge is the result of an advocacy campaign conducted over the last 10 years or more by community groups from neighborhoods ringing the park, Friends groups - especially Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and including Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct - and numerous elected officials. The announcement that $12 million to fund construction had been secured was made at a press conference in the park on May 8. A third of the funds will come from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, a third from the Parks Department, and a third from state legislators. The estimated completion date is 2019. This bridge will address the second of three major discontinuities in the Aqueduct trail . The first is the High Bridge; its reopening is imminent. The Van Cortlandt Park span is the second. The third - still in the advocacy stage and needing strong citizen support - is to reconnect the Aqueduct across the NYS Thruway (Route 287) in Tarrytown.