Pedestrian bridge project allowed

Rendering of the proposed pedestrian bridge. Image Credit: NYC Economic Development Corporation

Court rejected argument that the new bridge would have significant environmental impact. The City proposed to build a pedestrian bridge in Clara Coffey Park in East Midtown, which would span the FDR Drive at Sutton Place South and East 54th Street. The bridge will occupy about 25 percent of the current Clara Coffey Park and is part of the City’s plan to link the entirety of the Manhattan waterfront.

The Cannon Point Preservation Corporation, a group made up of residents of the Sutton Place neighborhood, sued the City. The group is led by chairman James Donovan and the members are dedicated to preserving their neighborhood. The residents alleged that the bridge will bring a flood of people into their quiet residential neighborhood. They alleged that the bridge violated the environmental laws, that the bridge was an illegal use of parkland, and that constructing the bridge violated the Public Trust Doctrine.

The Supreme Court dismissed Cannon Point’s petition, ruling that the petition had been filed too late and was barred by the statute of limitations.

The Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed, ruling that Cannon Point’s petition was in fact time-barred, since the four-month statute of limitations began to run upon the end of the public comment period in 2016. The Appellate Division further explained that no parkland would be affected by the proposed placement of the pedestrian bridge, and that the Public Trust Doctrine was not violated.

Cannon Point Pres. Corp. v. City of N.Y., 123 NYS 3d.587 (1st Dep’t 2020).

By: James Goldberger (James is a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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