The 21-story, air-conditioned elevator connects the Poughkeepsie waterfront to the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park and a new 18-mile network of trails in Dutchess and Ulster counties.
The Walkway is a former railroad bridge that was completed in 1889. It draws over 700,000 visitors every year. The elevator will provide easier access to the park near the center of the pedestrian bridge for senior citizens and visitors with disabilities.
The elevator is expected to increase tourism by providing more direct access to the railroad station in Poughkeepsie. Metro North recently invested $56 million to restore the station. Officials hope that people will travel to the Walkway by train once they learn how easy it is to get from the station to the Walkway.
The glass elevator transports passengers from the waterfront to the top of the walkway in 70 seconds. Two people can take bicycles in the elevator at a time, as long as they are dismounted. The elevator’s rated capacity is 7,500 pounds. It is designed to stand up to the elements, including wind, rain, sleet, and low temperatures. It is considerably noisier than elevators used inside buildings.
The elevator uses a rack-and-pinion design with a rotating gear that is engaged in a rack bolted to the tower. The gear is driven by a shaft connected to a gearbox and motor at the top of the elevator cab. The elevator has two 35-horsepower motors, two shafts, and two pinion gears at the top of the car. Side rollers guide the elevator as it moves up and down and keep it stable between the two towers.
The $2.8 million elevator project was funded by a $2.4 million federal Transportation Enhancement Program grant, as well as other grants obtained by the non-profit Walkway Over the Hudson friends group.