Greater City Providence

Pedestrian bridges of the world

As we are discussing the future Providence River Pedestrian Bridge, I thought it may be helpful to look at some existing pedestrian bridges aroung the world. Through the magic of Flikr, here are some:

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa

Photo (cc) nic221

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge between Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa is a 3,000 foot cable-stayed span across the Missouri River. This differs from the Providence River in that it is engineered to cross the river in one jump (the longest span being 506 feet), and with a 52 foot clearance is designed to clear river traffic that the Providence River does not have. It’s S-curve is pretty sexy though.

Henderson Waves Singapore

Photo (cc) chooyutshing

Wikipedia describes the Henderson Waves Bridge in Singapore:

Henderson Waves 900 foot long pedestrian bridge. At 120 feet above Henderson Road, it is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. It connects Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. It was designed by IJP Corporation, London, and RSP Architects Planners and Engineers (PTE) ltd Singapore.

The bridge has a wave-form made up of seven undulating curved steel ribs that alternately rise over and under its deck. The curved ribs form alcoves that function as shelters with seats within. Slats of yellow balau wood, an all-weather timber found in Southeast Asia, are used in the decking. The wave-forms are lit with LED lamps at night from 7pm to 2am daily.

Passerelle Paul Couturier Lyon, France

Photo (cc) Basilio

Lyon, France’s Passerelle Paul Couturier originally built in 1853 and rebuilt after being destroyed in 1944 is an 87 meter span across the River Saône.

Unknown Bridge Seoul, South Korea

Photo (cc) LarimdaME

This unidentified bridge in Seoul, South Korea is ornamented through it’s railing and lights on the railing rather than structures such as cable-stays or arches.

BP Pedestrian Bridge Chicago, Illinois

Photo (cc) pov_steve

The BP Pedestrian Bridge at Chicago’s Millennium Park features a striking modern design.

Unknown Bridge Osaka, Japan

Photo (cc) ykanazawa1999

This bridge connecting to a train station in Osaka, Japan features a roof to protect pedestrians from the elements. I’m not convinced that the Providence River Bridge need be covered, but some sort of wind-breaks and small sheltered areas along the path may make it more attractive, especially in the winter when the winds are whipping up the bay.

Alkaff Bridge Singapore

Photo (cc) chooyutshing

The wild paint scheme on Singapore’s Alkaff Bridge shows another way to introduce interesting design elements to a bridge. Is Providence ready for such an eclectic design? We should be.

Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge Richmond, Virginia

Photo (cc) WarriorMare

The Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge carries US 1 and US 301 over the James River in Richmond, Virginia and features this suspended pedestrian bridge under it. New Pawtucket River Bridge anyone?

Goodwill Bridge Brisbane, Australia

Photo (cc) DruhScoff

Brisbane, Australia’s Goodwill Bridge features a roof over parts of the bridge and pavillions which hang off the sides offering users areas to stop and sit.

Esplanade Riel Winnepeg, Canada

Photo (cc) Kieran 2009

The Esplanade Riel in Winnepeg, Canada is notable for having a local chain restaurant halfway across it offering spectaular views of the Red River. The piers remaining from the Route 195 bridge make something like this a possibility for the new Providence River Pedestrian Bridge.

The High Line New York City, New York

When talking about pedestrianized structures, we’d be remiss if we did not mention New York City’s High Line. The High Line was built on an abandoned elevated rail line, so differs from the Providence River Bridge in that respect, but a look at the user experience on the High Line gives some look at what is possible.

Photo (cc) Ed Yourdon

Photo (cc) Ed Yourdon

Photo (cc) joevare

More High Line photos in their Flickr Group.

Of course there are many many more examples of pedestrian bridges around the world. Share your favorites in the comments.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • How about SHoP’s pedestrian bridge over West Street in NYC? More or less appropriate scale comparison to the Providence River (though it is not subject to the environmental factors existing in our fair city). Even more so, its form is seems functional (since ornament or ostentatiousness = expense), it is unique, and can be a contemporary emblem of a new phase for the city, without having to rely on overly antiquated or contemporary forms.

  • I favor some combination of the High Line (green, unusual, inviting) and the Passerelle Paul Couturier (without any Post-Modern falseness, a look back to an Early Industrial Age when things were solidly made but still attractive).

  • You should google the The Denver Millennium Bridge and the Highlands Ped Bridge here in Lower Downtown Denver…a total of three bridges that span the railroad tracks and a major highway to connect one of Denver’s neatest neighborhoods with an expansive edge of city park and new development. It really has created a sense of place for a great new area of Denver. Bordering on Union Station (Amtrak), the area is set to be become a major public transit hub linking Amtrak with the light rail throughout the city..

    Hope to catch some nice RI pics when back there in two weeks too!

  • It may be true about the Highline’s rules, however even though it’s an elevated structure it isn’t exactly a pedestrian bridge. The Highline is a park and was conceived as a park. It would be tremendous if the Providence River pedestrian bridge had some landscape features similar to the Highline. There is no reason why a provision for bikes couldn’t be incorporated into the design. The Hudson River Park, though not a bridge might offer examples or solutions for how a narrow linear pathway might accommodate both pedestrians and bicycles.

  • Taking the practical approach with respect to the financial side of things (which I always lean towards, because we live in RI), I really like the idea of having a food venue like the bridge in Winnipeg. Tell me a D&D or a Subway or something along those lines wouldn’t be cool out there. The City/State would get revenue from leasing this space to the vender. I’d also like a bump-out on the bridge for a small sitting area that could also be used for a live-performance or exhibit area in the summer.

  • I just discoverd that you included one of my photos in your discussion. What an interesting assortment of bridges you came up with.

  • That Winnepeg Bridge is awesome. Don’t think I’ll have get the chance to go there to see it though.

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