A view of the
High Line mainline trestle as it bisects West 30th Street. Low-rise
buildings were constructed in this area under the viaduct. Commercial
activity is abound on this street.
The High Line viaduct takes a position north of West 30th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. Buildings were razed in order to allow the viaduct to be built at this location.
One has to wonder why planners didn't build the viaduct over West 30th
Street, and instead chose to build the viaduct slightly north of West 30th
street. Seems to me like a lot of property on this block was condemned
in order to make way for the ROW, when just shifting the ROW several yards
could have saved some of those buildings. Maybe there was nothing
of importance residing on the site back in the early 1930's, and planners
thought the ROW would look better north of the street rather than over
the street. It would be interesting to know why these decisions were
The trestle has an extremely large stanchion support system that keeps the viaduct elevated. The main stanchion rises from the curb to the viaduct. A second stanchion, rising from the base of the building wall to the viaduct, helps to balance the load. The stanchions are only a couple of feet apart in this area.
I wonder if Robert Moses, who held several different positions in his New York City government career, had his engineers look to see how the High Line viaduct was constructed. Robert Moses was Arterial Coordinator for New York City when the Gowanus Parkway was converted to the Gowanus Expressway in the late 1950's. The Gowanus Expressway (I-278) is located in Brooklyn, and it runs between the neighborhoods of Red Hook and Bay Ridge Brooklyn. The elevated section of the highway, shown in this picture, resides in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The highway is situated over 3rd Avenue.
Notice how the Gowanus Expressway stanchions are very similar in design to the High Line stanchions. The ribbed vertical steel support on the main brace and the stanchion girders appearance and design of the High Line viaduct are very similar to the design of the Gowanus viaduct. Both stanchions are supported by cement bases, and the drainage pipes for both viaducts are very similarly designed and positioned.
Besides the paint color, notable differences in design show that the High Line has extra support braces mounted to the stanchions in order to help support the main brace; the Gowanus stanchions do not have this feature. Also, the High Line has more tightly spaced steel beams for the viaduct deck, as opposed to the Gowanus Expressway that has less beams for the highway deck. Highway and Railroad viaduct construction have subtle differences due to engineering considerations, but it is interesting to see how similar these viaducts are in comparison to each other.
If Robert Moses was alive today, I wonder what his proposal would be
for the High Line. The Gowanus Parkway was built utilizing the stanchions
and ROW of the old 3rd Avenue railroad. Would Moses propose that
the High Line be converted in to a limited-access two-lane in each direction
parkway, like the Gowanus Parkway once was? In the year 2001, that
proposal would never fly, since new highway proposals for New York City
are dead. It would still be interesting to see what the former Arterial
Coordinator would have thought.
A close-up view underneath the viaduct. The steel support beams are horizontally braced by smaller support beams. If the city and special interest groups decide to raze the High Line, the demolition company is going to have a lot of work to do - this structure appears to be very well built.
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