Bridge to Beach is Officially Open

November 30, 2012
By

Taking the first walk on the new Markey Bridge (in honor of John and Christine Markey) at Revere Beach are Congressman Ed Markey, Mayor Dan Rizzo and Malden Mayor Gary Christianson. The first walk followed an hour-long ceremony held at the foot of the bridge on the Boulevard Monday.

With a black and white photo showing the late John and Christine Markey enjoying Revere Beach placed prominently at the mouth of the new bridge bearing their last name, Congressman Ed Markey (D-Malden) said he believes the new bridge will help bring the wonder back to Wonderland and continue to fuel the resurgence of the City of Revere.

“This is a tremendous honor for our family and my mother and father were emblematic of the millions who came to this Beach,” said Markey. “More than 100 years ago, the MDC took down 300 homes on this beach to make the first public beach in America. They did this this so that those who did not have a summer home would have a place for summer recreation. My family was one of those families.

“This was the place where my mother would take my two brothers and I – loading us up on the Blue bus in Malden Square with peanut butter sandwiches, potato chips, and a Thermos of Kool-Aid,” he continued. “We spent the day down here at Revere Beach in the summer. After my father got out of work at the Hood Plant, he would come down and we would swim in the evenings and then go home. That was our summer vacation.”

Markey also said that, later in life, Revere Beach was the one place that brought his mother solace as she suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and his father struggled to care for her at home.

“He vowed to never step foot in a nursing home,” said Markey. “They would come down here to Revere Beach and he would spread out a blanket and sit on the Beach and look out at the ocean. Nothing cheered my mother up more than Revere Beach during that time and I think it was because of happy memories we had at this Beach. This Beach had a very special place in their lives.”

The bridge is known as the Markey Bridge and is named in honor of Congressman Markey’s parents. The engraving on the granite marker in front reads, “In honor of Christine and John Markey, an extraordinary couple representing the millions of families past, present and future who have and will enjoy relaxation, respite and recreation at Revere Beach, a national treasure and urban oasis along the Atlantic Ocean.”

Mayor Dan Rizzo kicked off the ceremony noting that the project is substantially completed at the moment, with but a few loose ends to tie up, and thus making it meet the goals of its funding source – the federal Stimulus Package.

The bridge and accompanying pedestrian plaza are funded by a $20 million federal TIGER grant, which is part of the federal Stimulus Package. The western monumental stair and elevator were funded by a $1 million MassWorks grant.

The bridge spans 107 feet across Ocean Avenue and is a replica of the monumental cable-stayed Zakim Bridge in Boston. Both bridges were designed by the same man, Miguel Rosales, of the Back Bay’s Rosales + Partners.

In addition to the bridge, the Wonderland Transit Center has a new $59.3 million parking garage and new bus terminal, funded in part with $22.7 million in Recovery Act funds, both completed in June 2012. The transit projects complement a planned $500 million privately funded mixed-use transit-oriented development project to revitalize Revere’s waterfront – a project under the auspices of EuroVest, owned by Revere’s Joe DiGangi.

Rizzo said some of the finishing touches that will be put on the bridge in the coming months include granite finishes, an elevator, stainless steel and programmable lighting.

“This bridge will be bathed in blue lighting and will be able to be programmed with other colors to highlight significant occasions,” he said. “This bridge and the pedestrian plaza behind it are iconic symbols of the new Revere Beach.”

The naming of the bridge had taken on a good deal of controversy in Revere as Markey’s parents were not from Revere, and also due to the fact that the naming was approved on Beacon Hill in an uncharacteristically quiet way.

Many were concerned, some vocally and some in their own quiet way.

However, by the end of the ceremony on Monday, just about everyone in attendance felt it was appropriate and honorable.

“It is very fitting this bridge will stand to memorialize the Markeys – a truly great family,” said House Speaker Bob DeLeo during his remarks.

Other notable presences at the ceremony were former Mayor Tom Ambrosino, who spent most of his 12 years in office laying the groundwork and getting the project started. Also, Malden Mayor Gary Christianson was in attendance, former Saugus Town Manager (and Revere Auditor) Andrew Bisignani, State Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein, State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, as well as several City Councillors and School Committee members.

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    The bridge may be “officially open”, but it’s not actually open yet. Work’s been moving along fast, but some essential things (like railings) aren’t finished.

  • drensber

    I also thought it a little bit odd that the article didn’t mention that “officially open” doesn’t really mean open. My understanding is that it will be open to the public in January. I’d also be interested in knowing when the remainder of the plaza is slated to be completed.

  • RuffRyder

    Will it have an immigration check point on it to screen for “illegals” ?????

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=887555472 Al Barile

    I think it would make allot more sense if the other end of the bridge actually went to somewhere. People form outside of the city will never use the parking garage to go to the beach so who is the bridge actually for. I have crossed Ocean Ave. a million times and it’s safe. Would I walk down the street to use the Bridge. Don’t think so. So is the bridge must be for the commuters from Boston who use the beach. Nope. they get off at Revere beach station. So that leaves the 200-500 patrons who will live in whatever hotel/condo will be built. Is Ocean Ave as dangerous as the Lynnway or Storrow drive. Nope. So would the state or Federal government prioritize building pedestrian bridges based on safety data. So shouldn’t the Lynnway have gotten the money for a scaled down pedestrian bridge first. I don’t think they need a cable stayed bridge.
    Who does ? Are we walking elephants across the bridge. Maybe something to think about Mayor Rizzo. I mean I think this is taxpayer dollars and who decided the taxpayer needed a cable stayed mini version of the Zacam bridge across a small boulevard in Revere. Someone thought this is creative use of taxpayer money. Was this a condition of the developer accepting the project. That sounds Right. If the developer wanted a gateway to the rarely used metal huts along Revere beach then he should have paid for it. It’s my opinion, this albatross doesn’t fit the cityscape and the architecture is overstated for it’s intended purpose. A nostalgic crossway with hints of the past would have been more suitable and more of an attraction for people to use the bridge. This bridge is not an attraction and more of an eyesore with it’s overstated cables. Who the hell had this idea ? City Planner Developer ? Mayor ? Right now it is the Bridge to Nowhere. The only way it would ever make sense if that’s where they constructed a pier but I think that might be a pipe dream. i would rather have seen a developer ask for a bridge to a pier which would have made sense. So for the next 50 years, resident who live and commute along Ocean Ave. will have to witness the Bridge to Nowhere until it starts to fall apart in 30 years because government won’t be able to figure out whose responsibility it is to maintain and keep it clean. Put something on the other end of the bridge besides the ocean. Maybe a small ferris wheel or a modern stage for a summer concert series to remind folks of the glory filled past.

  • drensber

    Wow, it’s almost April now and hasn’t changed much at all in the past 4 months. Did funding run out or something?

  • Guest

    Work really slowed down during the winter, but it’s moving along. They’re still working on railings and other finish work on the “elevator towers”. I’m one of the few people who will actually use the bridge to get to the station. I hope they don’t forget to include bike racks on the plaza! The picture below was taken yesterday (3/27/2013).

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    Work really slowed down during the winter, but it’s moving along. They’re still working on railings and other finish work on the “elevator towers”. I’m one of the few people who will actually use the bridge to get to the station. I hope they don’t forget to include bike racks on the plaza! The picture below was taken yesterday (3/27/2013).

  • drensber

    I will certainly also be using the bridge pretty regularly as it will make it significantly easier to get a bike from Revere Beach Blvd. to the bike cage on the other side. It’s kind of disappointing that the grocery store at Wonderland closed, because it would have made the prospect of riding a bike from my house to pick up a few groceries much easier.

    Isn’t the “plaza” supposed to eventually cover the entire area that was previously the MBTA parking lot (not just the narrow strip leading from the bridge to the station)? That’s the way that the artist’s rendering looks.

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    I believe the other space is planned for private development (condos, hotels, shopping centers, etc.) that will be directly connected to the plaza. The buildings’ ground levels will contain loading docks and parking, so the plaza elevates pedestrians above all the vehicular traffic. It’s a nice concept, if and when all the surrounding development occurs.

    I agree, it’s a shame that the S&S at Wonderland Plaza closed. Having a supermarket right across the street from a mass transit station was very useful. The city should have done something to encourage another supermarket to open there, instead of giving tax breaks for Marketbasket at traffic clogged Northgate, which already has another competing PriceRite store.

    It’s nice to hear that you use the bike cage inside the garage. For me, it would be too much trouble. I like parking my bike close to the outbound platform so I can hop off the train and be on my way in a matter of seconds, even in the snow!

  • drensber

    Yes, the Marketbasket seems like yet more 1953-style automobile oriented development courtesy of the regressive elderly white guys who run Revere.

    The bike cage is definitely inconveniently located, but I like to use it because I have a fairly expensive bike and I think it’s a good idea to have a “secure” cage. I wish the MBTA would do more to make it truly secure though. I went to the trouble of getting a special “Bike Charlie Card” that you supposedly need to get into the cage, but it seems that the door is always unlocked anyway and they didn’t bother to take down my information to get the card, so I don’t quite see what the point is. There do appear to be cameras there though, and one thing that’s good about Revere is that it seems like people here are too busy stealing cars to even bother with bikes.

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    My strategy is to use patched up old bikes with no seat and that are so rusted and ugly looking that nobody wants to steal them; and if they did, I wouldn’t really care.

    With Stop and Shop gone, the whole eastern part of the city is now a food desert. Yes, Billy Tse’s has pretty good Chinese, Bianchi’s has fabulous pizza, and Kelly’s is open until 3 am; but there’s no grocery stores selling fresh food whatsoever! It would be great to have a Trader Joe’s where S&S used to be, or better yet, as part of whatever is built connected directly to the new bridge/plaza.

    Some sort of full-service grocery store should be a main feature of the new development. People would love to be able to come home from work on the T, and walk from the train into a grocery store on their way to their new oceanfront condos. Being able to live your life without depending on a car for everything adds tremendous value; it is the future.

  • drensber

    Yes, I wish that the scoundrels trying to hock “luxury” condos on Revere Beach understood that it would be a much more desirable place to live if it had some of the markings of a real “community”. One of the essential characteristics of such a place is to have a few stores that sell all of the essential things within walking distance of where people live. A grocery store is definitely part of that equation. I personally think that Trader Joe’s is probably a little too high-end for the area’s demographic, but I wonder if an Aldi store (which is actually owned by the same German company that owns Trader Joe’s) would make sense. I’d definitely do part of my shopping there.

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    Yes!!! The bridge finally opened yesterday! It is, indeed, quite lovely.

  • drensber

    Used it yesterday! It’s still a little bit squirrelly to actually get from the station to the bridge because some of the areas around the entry points are still fenced off, but it’s quite convenient once you figure out how to get up to the plaza. The plaza is larger than I expected. Hopefully it will be put to some good use during the summer.

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    As you can see, they did forget to include bike racks; a major oversight because it’s such a wonderful place to ride your bike to for taking the Blue Line. Fortunately, there are plenty of railings on the outskirts of the plaza that will suffice for now.

    It’s actually more impressive than I imagined; and I’ve been watching it all since day one. I hope the bridge will bring good luck to Revere!

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    Getting off the train last night and then just gliding across the span towards the ocean was truly spectacular! It’s a gentle slope downward from the top of the plaza and done in such a way that you forget about the ugly traffic on Ocean Avenue and are focused instead on the ocean itself, with the clock punctuating the very center of your view.

  • drensber

    I’m just waiting to hear that bikes are not allowed on the bridge or plaza. That would be a very Revere thing to do.

  • Brendan @ WalkBoston

    WalkBoston is helping present a guided walking tour of the new Christina and John Markey Memorial Pedestrian Bridge & Plaza, Revere, MA on 10/17.

    We’ll start at the Revere Beach Station at 5pm, walk along the beachfront and end at the bridge/Wonderland Station. Tour will be led by Miguel Rosales, the lead Bridge Architect & President of Rosales + Partners.

    More info:
    http://walkboston.org/what-we-do/event/guided-walking-tour-markey-footbridge-plaza-revere

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