The Belt Parkway is the main conduit linking Brooklyn to Queens and eventually to Long Island. Designed by Robert Moses, this highway is a throwback to the 1950s,when traffic was light and traffic jams were the exception,not the norm. As you should know, only passenger cars are allowed on parkways such as the Belt.There are many reasons for this. First of all, in the easternmost [Queens] section,there are several low bridges that many high truck trailer cannot clear. Secondly, the lanes on most of the Belt Parkway are not wide enough to accodomate such trucks. Still another reason is the 1950s era metal guardrail that still divides most of the Parkway. In my opinion this so unsafe and outdated that it defies logic. In an age of oversized SUV's, this little metal guardrail does little to deter a head on accident. Every year NYC DOT repaves miles and miles of the Belt,whether it needs it or not, but never do they address the need of a permanent concrete divider. Quite a few people have been killed on and around the Mill Basin Drawbridge
The Belt Parkway has quite a few older bridges that are quite photogenic.Probably the best known bridge is the The_Mill_Basin_Drawbridge which is the only bridge on the Belt that opens to allow tall boats to pass under it. Just east of the Mill Basin Drawbridge is the Paerdagat Basin Bridge
Take a look at the picture above,which I took on 12/17/06. This is something that really bothers me. You are looking west,toward the Paerdagat Basin Bridge, having just passed the Rockaway Parkway Exit. See the warning gate and the lights? They were installed a few years ago at a cost of...well way too much money because....the Paerdagat Basin Bridge is stationary, it does not raise for ships!! So why did NYC put this expensive gate in place? I have done extensive research on this issue and the answer is so preposterous, that it will blow your mind. OK, you remember that we just discussed how large trucks are not allowed on the Belt right? Well over the years, the Paerdagat Basin Bridge has deteriorated quite a bit as you will see in the pics below. The city engineers feel that it is not strong enough to support 18 wheelers, so some bozo came up with the following idea: Lets say an 18 wheeler accidentally gets on the Belt and is going Westbound [or even Eastbound]approaching the Paerdagat Basin Bridge. Supposedly, the driver is supposed to know enough to pull over beyond the gate and wait for police.Then the gates on both sides of the highway are supposed to be lowered, thereby blocking all traffic. Then the lost trucker would suposedly be u turned onto the other side of the Belt and way from the crumbling Paerdagat Basin Bridge. Now there are many problems with this idea, specifically:
Given that the trucker is lost in the first place, how is he supposed to know enough to pull over beyond the gate?
Since he is from out of town, there is no way he would know the condition of the Paerdagat Basin Bridge or the reason for the gates. Heck highways are my hobby and it took me forever to get an answer.
Lets say,defying all odds, a trucker does indeed stop by the gates. There is no way to turn around as there is a metal guardrail in the middle of the highway! Oh yeah I know Gridlock Sam claims that there is a movable barrier but I have never seen it move in my life. I have seen a few semis lumbering over the Paerdagat Basin Bridge though.
Lets take a closer look at this bridge shall we? Here are some more pics I snapped on 12/17/06.
In the pic above, I am standing underneath the northwest corner of the Paerdagat Basin Bridge.The traffic above me on my side is heading east to west.The dirt path you see is used mostly by 4 wheelers and horses as there is a large stable nearby.If you look closely at the green railing of the bridge, you will notice that on the far left the railing is a darker green. The reason for that is a few years ago, a ship went out of control and slammed into that section of the bridge. There was a huge gash in the railing that pushed the steel almost into the far right lane. The entire section was eventually cut out and replaced, and all the work was done by floating cranes in the water.
Same area, but a close up of some local Canarsie grafitti artists.
Above,on the westbound shore facing east. Look at all the planking underneath the right lane. I bet not one motorist has any idea about what they are riding on. Also, as you can see, the grafitti guys do pillars too.
Here is a view from the other westbound side, also looking east.
The base of the westbound bridge, looking west.It seems "Mr. C" tagged a good bit of this wall, this was not there last time I was there, wonder who will paint over it
This pic and the one below it are both taken on the eastbound side facing east.Very symmetrical, except for the places that cars have crashed into the railings