Bridging the Gap

 

Pittsburgh is often nicknamed The City of Bridges and with a staggering 446 of them crossing the Allegheny, Monogahela, and Ohio Rivers one can see why. We have crossed many ourselves by car, but we especially enjoy crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge by foot before a Pirates' game at PNC Park. The experience of crossing the Clemente when the bridge is for pedestrian traffic only is a far more unique and pleasant experience than crossing any of Pittsburgh's bridges during rush hour.  

This got us thinking about a project currently underway in London, England called the Garden Bridge. The Garden Bridge is a new elevated public garden and pedestrian crossing the Thames River. It was designed by Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio along with the lead engineering consultant Arup. 

rendering of garden bridge

rendering of garden bridge

The bridge will allow commuters and tourists an alternative route between south and north London with an innovative urban garden. The elevated garden will boast a variety of walking paths, trees, plants, and flowers many indigenous to the river's edge. 

As residents of New York City during the construction of the Highline project, we witnessed the effect it had on the development of the Meat Packing District neighborhood. Its no wonder that other cities like London are pushing the boundaries for creating other unique elevated gardens. 

photo of highline

photo of highline

While there are obvious hurdles such as selecting an appropriate location as well as cost, we think Pittsburgh is an ideal city to jump on this trend. With its three rivers and many bridges, we believe it could benefit from a similar type project connecting the North Shore to Fort Dusquene among other possible locations. Some of the advantages it could bring to the city are as follows:

  • Enhanced pedestrian connectivity between the Cultural District and the Andy Warhol Museum, Children's Museum, Carnegie Science Center, Heinz Field, and PNC Park
  • Encourage walking and biking while decreasing vehicular congestion
  • Stimulate continued growth and development along the North Shore, North Side Neighborhoods, and Cultural District
  • Economic growth from increased tourism
  • Showcase Pittsburgh as a city of innovation, design excellence, and sustainability

What do you think could be the advantages or disadvantages of an elevated garden project for the city of Pittsburgh? What locations do you think could best benefit from a unique pedestrian bridge?