Wondy Pedestrian Bridge, Plaza Opens Quietly

July 10, 2013
By
In the photo: an overview from above of the new Plaza and Pedestrian Bridge stretching from Wonderland Station to Revere Beach.

In the photo: an overview from above of the new Plaza and Pedestrian Bridge stretching from Wonderland Station to Revere Beach.

With little fanfare, the fences came down and, finally, the pedestrian bridge and plaza at Wonderland Station opened to the public last week.

Now, what looks to be the newest signature landmark for Revere Beach is ready for the eager feet of those headed to the Beach from the MBTA.

“We were substantially completed with the project in February 2013, but there were some things that were slow in coming to us like the railings and the dampening system, but they started trickling in over the last few months,” said consultant Paul Rupp. “The state building inspector signed off on it Friday, June 28th, and so, we decided to open it up to the public last week. I think it’s a very elegant and exciting feature that is added to the Beach, especially at night when it’s illuminated. There are LED lights embedded in the rails and up above too. They can be programmed for limitless combinations of colors. I think it’s pretty striking.”

So far, most Beach-goers haven’t fully discovered the bridge or the plaza. Mostly, it remains empty due to the fact that it is located in a bit of a dead zone on the Beach and also due to the fact that people are so used to crossing Ocean Avenue at grade.

That emptiness, though, is expected to change as the learning curve sets in and the larger private Waterfront Square development begins to creep out of the ground.

Those who have discovered it are shocked when they stumble upon the huge expanse of the new plaza and the miniature Zakim Bridge stretching towards the ocean. (the bridge was actually designed by the same man who designed the Zakim Bridge in Boston and is patterned after it purposefully).

“Wow!” and “Where did this come from?” are commonly heard as people walk out of the Station or the Parking Garage into an unexpected new feature.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Ashley Aguilar of Boston, who was directed to the bridge by an MBTA worker this Monday afternoon. “It reminds me so much of the Zakim Bridge in Boston. We didn’t know it was here at all. We were having trouble finding the Beach from the Station and a T worker showed us how to get up here.”

Added her friend, Jackie Fuentes, also of Boston, “I think it is really nice. It makes it a lot easier to get to the Beach, especially with kids or a stroller.”

Rupp said he had made some observations and found that people have found the bridge and do appreciate it.

“People have discovered it, and when they do discover it, they really, really like it,” he said.

The idea of putting a walking bridge to the Beach from Wonderland Station is nothing new, Rupp said, but was something that became doable only recently.

“That was a very old idea we have had floating around since I was a Planning Director for the City in the 1970s,” he said. “It was way back then that they put pedestrian access in a master plan for Wonderland. It was for aesthetic and safety reasons. It was always in the works and always something we always felt we’d do at some point. We took a run at it with this project and it succeeded.”

One of the only drawbacks to the project, however, has been the long delay – and to note, the elevators still do not function yet. Rupp said part of the problem was abiding by the rules of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Stimulus Bill), which funded a majority of the bridge and plaza.

“There are a lot of very customized features for the bridge which had to be manufactured just for the bridge – things like the railings,” he said. “We had to deal with the Buy American provisions of the [Stimulus], which means we had to buy everything from American companies and that led to some delays. We could have bought things in Germany and had this done six months earlier, but American was required and it was like a Catch-22.”

Now, Beach advocates and state officials are looking for ways to make use of the new feature.

Already, the Revere Beach Farmer’s Market has committed to using the plaza this summer, and they will set up there again this Thursday, and will continue there through October.

  • drensber

    Definitely makes the trip out of the T station a lot nicer.

  • Vereboy

    A complete waste of money. We have bridges in complete disrepair but this is where we put the money provided by the Put America to Work program.

  • drensber

    So we should never build new bridges just because there are some existing ones that are in disrepair? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’re probably also one of those Tea Party types who vehemently opposes increasing the state gas tax to fund the repair of the aging bridges. Am I right?

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    Wondy? … Wondy?!!!
    I admit I didn’t grow up in Revere, but I’ve never heard Wonderland referred to by such a name. Is it an established local slang expression that I seem to have missed, or something just made up, like the NYT recently did when they referred to South Boston as SoBo?

  • Italod

    If such a nickname does anything to help commercialize and publicize Revere so it’s placed in local circles as a good, trendy place to visit, spend dollars, and live, with relation to closeby Boston–and “Wondy” could end up losing the image and attitude in Revere of it and its residents being purposely clannish and hostile to outsiders–I say, Go for it! The new bridge is really nice. I wonder if they’re going to subsequently dismantle the eyeso…sorry, I meant actually the other bridge down in the Shirley Ave. section now?

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    Well, that’s a pretty big “if”. I like the name Wonderland; it’s on all the subway maps. The unknown and ambiguously pronounceable “Wondy” seems more evocative of the image and attitude you’d like to dispel.

  • drensber

    I like “Wonderland”, because it goes back to the amusement park of the same name that was there for only a few short years at the beginning of the 20th century. I also like it because of the move “Last Stop Wonderland”, which was critically acclaimed, but unfortunately not terribly popular. “Wondy”, AFAIK only refers to the dog track, which might as well be relegated to the dustbin of history, as far as I’m concerned.

  • RevereReporter (STAFF)

    Great conversation and questions about Wondy vs. Wonderland…Not a short answer here. Wondy is no new, trendy term. In fact, just the opposite; it’s rather antiquated. It goes back to Wonderland Park – the old amusement park. They used to refer to it as Wondy Park in the Journal advertisements about 100 years ago. (‘Take a Whirl at Wondy’). I think it’s kind of a Boston/New England thing to always want to add an ‘ie’ or a ‘y’ to everything. (i.e., packie for a package store). Anyway, that’s the first I ever saw it. However, it was really brought into the local vocab due to the dog track. The Herald and, before that, the Record American used to frequently state the race results under the heading ‘Wondy Results.’ The whole area, including the dog track is known as Wondy, but many also call it Wonderland. There seems to be no native, non-native separation in the lingua. For newspapers, it’s the marriage of two perfect worlds. We love local jargon, and we like to make things shorter. Badda Bing, Badda Boom, that’s how you get ‘Wondy’ on the front page.

  • http://elmercat.org/ Elmer

    I love hearing about history, so thank you for that part of the story. Historically, newspapers always tried to coin short names for places so they could use fewer characters but with a bigger typeface; I can see how Wondy would be a natural choice. (was it pronounced like “Blondie”?)

    Fortunately, modern technology has eliminated the need for such an awkward abbreviation. Wonderland suggests someplace that’s fun, exciting, and …well, wonderful. Wondy suggests nothing at all.

    I also really like the name Wonderland because of the song “Boogie Wonderland”, since rinding on the Blue Line always makes me want to dance!

  • RuffRyder

    Will there be a check point on it to screen for “illegal” immigrants ?!

  • drensber

    How many times do you plan to recycle the same idiotic comment?

  • Billy Bell

    First of all is the fact that the Bridge is named for Senator Markey’s parents, who lived in Malden. The City of Revere is responsible for the cost of up keep tks to the bill filed by REp Reinstein. Why is the media hiding the fact that the official name is Markey Bridge? It is embarrassing that this Revere bridge is named for out of towners. Rupp, the consulant is also an out of towner

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