Monday, August 29, 2011

Bridge of the Week #67: Mill Basin Bridge

We've finally arrived at the last bridge in the series along the Belt Parkway (Shore Parkway) in Brooklyn and Queens. The Mill Basin Bridge is the bridge west (actually more south) of the Paerdegat Basin Bridge and east of the Gerritsen Inlet Bridge and Flatbush Ave.

This is the only drawbridge along the Belt, a Bascule drawbridge, but it won't be for long. This is one of the bridges along the Belt undergoing or about to undergo total reconstruction. Apparently, the current bridge (including sidewalk) will remain open while the new bridge is being built. When I went over the bridge earlier this summer, it didn't look like work had begun yet, but supposedly the bridge will be done in 2014. Currently having 35 feet of clearance above the water when down, the new fixed bridge will have 60 feet of clearance. This is significant since Mill Basin, along with Gerritsen Inlet to the southwest, has a very active marina with a lot of sailboats and other recreational boats coming and going into Jamaica Bay.

The bridge was opened on June 29, 1940, and some reconstruction work was done in 2006-2007. It carries three lanes of traffic in each direction plus a sidewalk on the south side, which is actually the east side, since the bridge runs basically north-south. The Paerdegat Basin Bridge is about a mile eastward (though actually northward), and about a half mile to the west (south) is the Flatbush Ave. interchange, which is a full cloverleaf vehicular interchange, as Flatbush Ave. to the south leads to Floyd Bennett Field, the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge (previously discussed) and on out to the Rockaways. As the Belt turns to the west it soon crosses the Gerritsen Inlet Bridge (previously discussed). Northward on Flatbush Ave. is the nearest street access to the Mill Basin Bridge, at the corner of Ave. U and Flatbush, where there is the King's Plaza shopping mall, and a city bus stop. The nearest subway stop is still a couple miles up Flabush near Ave. H (2/5 train), or a couple miles west on Ave. U to E. 16th St. (B/Q train). But the most enjoyable running experience is to start in Sheepshead Bay, or even at Coney Island, and run along the Belt all the way to Howard Beach, about 8-10 miles depending on your start, and if you feel like going long, looping around onto the Rockaways using the Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge, the Cross-Bay Memorial Bridge and the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. Lots of nice running in New York City uninterrupted by traffic.

Pics: 1. The Sidewalk of the bridge; 2. The view east into Jamaica Bay; 3. The view west into Mill Basin - note the towers of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the far distance!

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