Via Mike Thelin’s blog at Portland Spaces, a recent proposal from local firm Path Architecture envisions a new bridge across our Willamette River. Not an actual proposal, but a visionary idea that aligns with the proposed future crossing of the new MAX Orange-line light rail alignment, along with bus, bike, and pedestrian. A very car-less and Portlandesque bridge…
:: image via Path Architecture
From Path Architecture: “Bridge as a connector, a center of commerce, and an icon worthy of representing the city of portland to the world. A glass enclosed, auto-free street with dedicated lanes for pedestrians, bikes, and trains, with over 100,000 square feet of bustling commerce. A city-level commerce and transportation bridge that creates a seamless connection between east and west Portland.”
:: images via Path Architecture
Portland Spaces mentions some of the details and challenges: “Of course, pulling this off will be challenging. For one, the proposed site near Riverplace is located outside of the city’s retail core. Second, adding office and retail space would certainly add cost to the bridge, whose funding will be sourced from a variety of streams, including federal transportation funds… Still, the addition of 100,000 square feet (that’s 2.5 Portland city blocks) of commercial space could also create revenue and enliven the waterfront like never before.”
Also mentioned in the coverage is the allusion to other bridges for commerce, particularly the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.
:: image via Portland Spaces
:: inside the Ponte Vecchio – image via Wikipedia
Another example I’ve never heard of, mentioned in the comment stream, was the Galata Köprüsü bridge in Istanbul. From commenter Rob: “The river deck of Galata primarily cafes and restaurants on the lower level, which is where pedestrians walk, below traffic level and pretty much at water level. It’s a cool spot in Istanbul summer. Popular for fishing too.”
:: image via Wikipedia
:: image via ArkiteraForum
This idea of dual purpose bridges is powerful, especially in a city where bridges make up a good portion of the identity of the space. This reminds me of the ill-fated Interstate 405 capping project from the 1990’s, which attempted to expand urban space and remove some of the severed downtown connection from the depressed interstate corridor.
:: I-405 scheme – image via The Aesthetic Condition of the Urban Freeway
The ability to provide not just commerce, but perhaps some green, harkens to Bill Badricks interesting cartoony and verdant pictorial representation of green bridges (shown here for the Columbia River Crossing) – and a proposal for a very green Willamette River span, that’s even wind-powered…
:: image via Bill Badrick