Letter: Make Wurts Street Bridge into pedestrian walkway

(Photo by Will Dendis)

I’m hoping to call attention to my petition to turn the Wurts Street Bridge into a pedestrian walkway.

The bridge, which connects downtown Kingston to Connelly and Port Ewen, is the only safe pedestrian or bike route over the Rondout. Since its closure in late September, I’ve seen too many people risking a walk or bike ride on the shoulder of 9W, which has no pedestrian infrastructure and a speed limit of 55.

According to the city of Kingston, the state has deemed the bridge too expensive to restore to full use as a road.

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It’s certainly a venerable old bridge and perhaps it can no longer support automotive traffic. If that is truly the case, I’d love to see it turned into a beautiful, functional walkway – a safe route for walkers and bikers, an attraction for visitors to the area, and a way to preserve a piece of architectural history.

It would be a fantastic addition to the recent expansion of Kingston’s Greenline trail system.

The bridge was one of my favorite features of life in Connelly; I used to jog or walk my dogs over it daily, and ride my bike over it to visit friends in Kingston.

So far my petition has received nearly 150 signatures, and counting! I’m hoping to gain support for this idea and submit it to the city for consideration.

Thank you!
MK Burnell


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There are 10 comments

  1. Susan Spencer Crowe

    I want to see full restoration. The State of New York needs to step up to the plate and fix the bridge for cars and pedestrians.

  2. Dave Dexter

    Mr. Brunll, you grew up here in Connelly you said.
    How long have you been gone ? .
    That bridge is a state registered historical site.
    State says they can repair it but they can’t demo
    It. I’ve done some similar work years ago. 1st. You
    sand blast or soda blast the old paint and rust, and you must recover ALL the debris.Then you coat the infra-
    structure with 2 part epoxy. Next would be a good time
    to apply a quality marine paint. I have no idea what’s going on UNDER that bridge, but I CAN’T be much
    worse then the the CSX trestle just south on Abeel st.
    And as for pedestrians only. Screw that it cost slot of $
    to live here, and I’d like my bridge back

    1. IQ

      Somebody was drunk typing…I live here and I pay taxes and I agree that a Pedestrian/Bike Only Bridge is a really smart way to improve our transportation options FOR EVERYONE! (Not just the folks who jam around in their pick-ups and cars).

      You, Mr. Tipsy, have a 4-lane, 55 mph bridge less than 1/4 of a mile East that you can use to roomy zoomy over the water.

      Remember — you aren’t the only person living here 🙂
      Have a lovely day.

      1. Susan Spencer Crowe

        Restoration for all, not just pedestrians. Stop with the anti-car and anti-truck rhetoric. Have you ever taken into account all the seniors that live in this city and that need their cars for transportation?

  3. Me

    The bridge needs tens of millions of dollars in work (which is already in NYSDOT’s budget btw) to make it stable. Pedestrian-only with that much money involved really isn’t an option. It has to be multi-use to justify the expense. It definitely helps to ease traffic on Route 9W during rush hour when open.

  4. Senior Resident

    Drive the 9W bridge at rush hours and coming into Port Ewen it is a disaster. You now come up the bridge, not at 55 mph as you state unless you’re one of the folks that disregard the 45 mph. Wurts Street bridge is a traffic release for 9W at certain times. It’s a state neglected bridge and needs to be addressed by NYSDOT. What about the folks in Connelly who would have to go the long way around up to the traffic light in Port Ewen to get into Kingston. Make more stupid changes like the bike lanes on Greenkill and parking your cars in the middle of the road to your house. Someone has gotten a hold of abd drank tainted Koolaid.

  5. Joanne Chack

    I would LOVE to see it as a PEDESTRIAN/ BIKE/WALKWAY. We need more people to walk safely and it’s better for the environment… quiet… peaceful… What a view too.
    Where do I sign??

  6. Lynn Woods

    I support restoration of the bridge, both as a pedestrian/bike walkway and/or for traffic as well. Didn’t the state already commit to this? I have a flyer distributed by our alderman a couple of years ago from the DOT stating that fact. It’s frustrating the state has been taking half measures over the years–for ex. repainting only sections of the bridge. I don’t get it–isn’t this a waste of money, leaving the future of the bridge up in the air? The Wurts St. Bridge is special, historic, its graceful towers and cables such a contrast with the ugly 9W concrete highway, which makes no concession to elegance or the creek.

    I agree with the former commentator that repairing and restoring the bridge should be a bigger priority than the bike lane and new parking spaces on Greenkill Ave. It definitely is useful to motorists as well as everyone else. Restore it!

  7. Erica

    I walked under that bridge today and saw nets hanging from underneath to catch what I
    assumed would fall…onto the roadway below. There is zero evidence of structural repair. Though I respect your advocacy…at these times, your desire for a bike/walk path is wrought with insensitivity to the real plight the people in our community face. Hunger, food insecurity, back rent, back mortgages, children without internet connection for schools. If I were you, I would sacrifice my effort for a foot bridge to a substantial bridge of community. I do my part in my town, will you do yours?

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