When the Traffic Bridge closed a couple of years ago, the city was in a near state of panic. Idylwyld Bridge was being repaired and traffic was atrocious. People screamed for a replacement bridge despite a) few people ever used it b) whenever we take one of our bridges offline, Traffic Bridge or not, downtown backs up.
Now we have a new South Circle Drive Bridge and soon will have a new North Commuter Bridge which will change traffic patterns even more. Despite that, City Council has decided that we need three bridges within a kilometre of each other and is dedicated to rebuilding what the city administration basically described as a surplus bridge.
There is another alternative and that is to turn it into a pedestrian bridge, something that could strengthen the ties between Nutana and the downtown core/River Landing tremendously.
1.new views 2.public gathering place 3.zip-line 4.enclosed vertical garden 5.separated bike/pedestrian access
As they see it.
This resulted in a ‘new’ bridge, one that retains some glory of its former self but a ‘new’ bridge that sets out to enhance the existing qualities of the river valley. While it maintains its original connection points on either side of the river it also presents new stronger connection to existing conditions. Its reconfigured spans offer new views in all directions including glass portholes that let users see below the deck. The ‘new’ bridge also proposes a zip line as a new form of passage that reconnects the bridge to Rotary Park and adds new adventure for thrill seekers alike. There is ample opportunity for gathering and a separate bicycle lane to ensure safety. It is a hub for artists, theatre groups, musicians, poets, festival and event organizers. And because Saskatchewan is known for its culture of growing, the ‘new’ bridge would provide the infrastructure required to support a vertical community garden that produces food year round.
This story ends with a ‘realized’ project that retains a piece of its past but reinterprets its trajectory to better serve and enhance the existing and future community through a representation of a perceived experience.
As other cities have shown, pedestrian cities bond a community more than a traffic bridge does. With Saskatoon unable (and unwilling) to even clean it’s bridge decks in a timely fashion, crossing any of Saskatoon’s bridges on a wet or dry dusty day is not the most pleasant experience. No wonder people prefer to use pedestrian bridges, especially ones that look like the rendering by OPEN.
Especially if there is a zip line.