June 28, 2017
Bronx, NY - NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio and NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Bronx Borough Commissioner Nivardo Lopez joined local elected officials today to break ground on the $6.6 million reconstruction of the West 229th Street Step Street, which connects Heath Avenue at its lowest point to Kingsbridge Terrace at its highest in the hilly terrain of the western Bronx. Construction is anticipated to be complete in late-2018.
“Step streets have long been an important part of the local landscape in this community, connecting areas where it’s too steep to build regular streets at grade,” said DDC Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio. “This particular step street is frequently used by residents to access important bus routes, as well as P.S. 360 and the Kingsbridge Community Center. We are very glad to work with our partners at DOT to provide a safer and more beautiful structure, with improvements such as additional trees and lighting.”
“Cracked and uneven steps have made this step street at 229th Street difficult to navigate for the hundreds of pedestrians that use it to get from Heath Avenue to Kingsbridge Terrace,” said NYC DOT Bronx Borough Commissioner Nivardo Lopez. “I am happy to have DDC make the necessary upgrades that will allow this step street to flourish, and create a safer, more efficient passageway for the community.”
“Step streets are an important part of our neighborhood transportation network and give residents direct access to areas that would otherwise be hard to reach,” said Councilmember Fernando Cabrera. “The reconstruction of the West 229th Street Step Street will enhance walkability, access to public transit, safety and improve the area’s visual attractiveness. I’m happy to work with DOT and DDC to make this happen.”
“I am thrilled that the Department of Transportation has responded to my request to take action and reconstruct the West 229th Street steps. Steps streets like these are not found in very many places outside the Bronx, and are an integral part of the community when they are not overlooked and allowed to fall into disrepair. Step streets are an important transportation route for pedestrians in communities such as mine where there are many steep hills. I first brought these particular step streets to DOT’s attention because I was so appalled at their terrible condition. I believe that this newly rebuilt step street will demonstrate how much communities can benefit from well maintained, well-lit pedestrian routes,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz
The existing concrete step street is approximately 230-feet long with 10 flights of stairs, nine landings, and an elevation difference of 65 feet from top to bottom. On either side of the stairs are sloped terraces with concrete pavers and outer retaining walls.
The reconstruction project will replace the stairs in their entirety with new granite steps, built to meet modern safety and construction standards. Outer stone retaining walls will be repaired, and sloped concrete terraces and pavers will be replaced with new granite pavers set in a concrete bedding. New trees, drainage, and lighting systems will be installed, as well as benches at two of the step street’s landings.
New bicycle channels will be included on both sides of the new stairs for people to more easily walk bikes up and down. To further improve pedestrian safety, sidewalks will be widened at the crosswalks at Kingsbridge Terrace and at Heath Avenue. Temporary wooden stairs will allow pedestrian access to be maintained throughout the project.
The West 229th Street Step Street and other step streets in the community were highlighted in a 2012 real estate story in The New York Times. In February 2016, DDC and DOT completed another step street reconstruction at West 215th Street in Manhattan. That project has since been recognized by the Construction Management Association of America New York/New Jersey as its 2016 Project of the Year, and by the publication Engineering News Record as its 2016 Best Project in the category of Landscape/Urban Development.
The contractor for the project is Padilla Construction Services, Inc., of Westbury, NY. The design consultant is AECOM USA, Inc. of Manhattan.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.