On the southwest
corner of the Bowery and Canal Street, at the entrance of the Manhattan
Bridge, another old graceful bank stands. Currently the HSBC Bank,
this beautiful bank resides on the west side of the Bowery. It may
be highly probable that Moses' engineers realized that there were two beautiful
banks that lined the west side of the Bowery. Destroying these buildings
for the highway's right-of-way may not have been extremely popular, so
maybe they thought that the buildings on the east side of the Bowery could
go in order to save the several large bank buildings located on the west
side of the Bowery. This is purely speculation on my part, as maybe
Moses and his engineers didn't care one way or another about the buildings
on either side of the Bowery. Only they know why one side of the
street was chosen over the other for the highway alignment.
This is the Manhattan Bridge Plaza. From nycroads.com: "It [I-478] would then turn southeastward to connect directly with both decks of the Manhattan Bridge."
Would this structure have stayed where it currently resides had LOMEX been built? Probably not, depending how the expressway was aligned in this area.
Would this structure have been moved or demolished? Churches and
other religious buildings were typically relocated if a highway's right-of-way
was to go through the establishment's property. I don't know if the
Manhattan Bridge plaza would have been protected from demolition.
It would have been interesting to see what they would have done with this
Canal Street, looking west, from the Manhattan Bridge entrance. The large HSBC bank is located on the southwest corner of the street. Canal Street serves as a major cross-town arterial for lower Manhattan, as evident by all of the commercial vehicles that travel along the street.
The Manhattan Bridge, with eastbound traffic going away from us and westbound traffic (traffic entering Manhattan) coming towards us.
For a historical perspective of the Manhattan Bridge, please visit Steve
Anderson's Manhattan Bridge page at nycroads.com.
The Manhattan Bridge has an interesting configuration. The lower level carries three lanes of traffic in to Manhattan. The upper level lane to the right of the picture also carries traffic in to Manhattan. The outer two lanes to the right of the picture carries traffic to Brooklyn and all other destinations east.
The blue steel girders and the overpass in the background is interesting in that it was built specifically to accommodate the I-478 spur. According to the facts gleaned from nycroads.com, both the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges were to be modified to meet interstate highway bridge standards in order to accommodate the new I-478 and I-78 LOMEX approaches. In the mid-1960's, work started on the Manhattan Bridge in order to retrofit the bridge for the I-478 approach. I-478 was never built, but the "ghost" structure remains on the Manhattan Bridge, showing motorists that at one time there were big plans for the bridge.
Why is there so much traffic entering Manhattan from this bridge?
To the chagrin of many environmental and community groups, there is an
economic reason why this is occurring. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
that connects Brooklyn to Staten Island, in conjunction with the Staten
Island Expressway (I-278) and the Goethals/Outerbridge Crossing bridges
to New Jersey, is one of the ways for vehicles to get to the mainland from
Long Island. Since Long Island relies on trucks for freight delivery,
trucks have a few options to move their freight from the mainland to and
from Long Island. One way of doing this is by utilizing the Verrazano
Bridge. Unfortunately for truckers and other motorists, the bridge
toll on the Verrazano from Brooklyn to Staten Island is very expensive!
People try to get around paying this toll by using the free Manhattan Bridge
to cross-over in to Manhattan, then take Canal Street to the Holland Tunnel.
Once in Manhattan, Canal and Broome Streets take a beating as traffic and
the associated pollution overtake the area. Community and environmental
groups want the Verrazano to be tolled in both directions, as it once was
before the toll collection methodology was changed. They also propose
that the East River bridge crossings, which includes the Manhattan, Williamsburg,
Brooklyn, and Queensboro bridges, be tolled as well as to provide an economic
disincentive for crossing the bridges at these locations.
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