Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 6th, 2012 at 2:09 pm
The Gibbs Street Pedestrian Bridge — a bridge built solely for people to be able to safely walk and bike across I-5 between the Lair Hill Neighborhood and the South Waterfront district — is now set to open on July 14th.
When I last reported on this project, the opening date was late May.
To celebrate the completion of the $12 million project (PBOT paid $2 million for it, the feds paid the rest), the City is hosting a ribbon-cutting party from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
While project consultants Alta Planning + Design say they expect traffic on the bridge to be evenly split between people on bikes and on foot, it remains to be seen what it will be like to ride on the new bridge. The steep stairwells leading from the eastern end of the bridge down to SW Moody Ave (connecting to the south end of the new cycle track) have wheel gutters off to one side. In addition, PBOT project manager Jean Senechal Biggs says bikes will be allowed in the elevators. In fact, she says, "The elevator was designed to fit a bike with a trailer attached," (which means bakfiets and other cargo bikes should be fine too).
John Landolfe, who works with Oregon Health & Science University, commented in April that he's looking forward to the project; but sees it as a byproduct of the vast barrier of I-5. "I'm pretty excited about it, but when you consider that it's technically a highway mitigation project — and our urban core is only going to become more dense with walking humans — it's also a great argument for why we really should bury I-5 on the east waterfront. Or else we'll be building many more of these bridges in the coming years."
Stay tuned for photos and thoughts after I get a chance to take a closer look. Learn more at GibbsBridge.org.