The hardscape allows visitors and locals the capability to enjoy the natural beauty of the area and cross the Hudson via the bike and walking paths.
The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge was built to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge, connecting Rockland and Westchester counties across the Hudson River in New York. Constructed in 1955, the Tappan Zee Bridge lacked the elements of a modern transportation system, such as emergency shoulders, mass transit accommodations, and notably, any pedestrian or bicycle access. The new bridge addresses each of these shortcomings.
A dedicated 3.6-mile, shared-use path creates a new transportation link for pedestrians, bicyclists, and new recreational opportunities within the regional trail network. Trowbridge Wolf Michaels, a Fisher Associates Landscape Architecture Studio (TWMFA), drew inspiration from the Hudson River context to create a signature public space on the bridge.
Six distinct overlooks punctuate the journey across the bridge allowing for moments of respite and reflection while offering breathtaking views of the Hudson River Valley and New York City skyline. Workmanship and durability were prioritized for a bridge designed to last over 100 years, yielding pedestrian spaces of exceptional quality. Curated views, environmental storytelling, and custom furnishings combine to engage and exhilarate one of the nation's premier infrastructure projects.
The shared-use path (SUP) would ultimately serve diverse user groups, from daily commuters, fitness seekers, tourists, and day-trippers, to family outings, and romantic getaways. With the many end-users in mind, the designers envisioned a project that would safely transport people over the river and offer opportunities for a deeper connection with the Hudson River landscape.
Historical and Geographical Context
The new cable-stayed bridge is located at one of the widest stretches of the Hudson River known as the Tappan Zee, named by Dutch settlers for the broad water body (zee translates as the sea) inhabited by the Lenape people (the Tappan) before European colonization. The bridge is 25 miles north of Midtown Manhattan which sits just beyond the jurisdictional boundary of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
TWMFA worked alongside the New York State Thruway Authority, bridge builders, architects and engineers, a branding consultant, and an array of community stakeholders to develop concepts for a range of issues revolving around public access to the newly conceived SUP. The design team recognized that due to its scale and proximity to the nation's most populous city, the new bridge had an immense capacity to engage its many future users and capture their imaginations. With the construction of the new bridge, the stage was set for a new public landscape experience.