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As City Tries to Transform Continental Bridge Into a Park, a Visit to Manhattan's West Side

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The Continental Bridge won't be converted into a pedestrian park till the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is done -- spring 2011, so they say. Of course, the city's starting to look about for role models, and on Tuesday the Trinity River Corridor Project Committee will get a briefing from Dorcy Clark (former downtown economic development coordinator turned city planner) in which she'll direct council members' attention toward New York City.

Specifically, she's going to give the council a virtual tour of the High Line in Manhattan, a former elevated freight-train line converted into a public park. One piece of the High Line opened this summer to great acclaim, but it remains an ongoing process that's taken more than a decade, with huge sections of the park still more conceptual than tangible. Should make for an intriguing presentation: How, for instance, do you compare a park that connects Manhattan's Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen -- and includes as one of highlights the see-through Standard Hotel -- with one that sits on top of the Trinity River?

Oh, and speaking of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the Trinity committee is also set to cut Santiago Calatrava another check ... this one, for $456,795. Why come? Says this agenda item, "for additional services provided during the design and construction phasing of the bridge," including "increased reviews of shop drawings and erection procedures." The jokes write themselves.

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