It’s just one element along the finished seawall next to what will be the Athlete’s Village for the 2010 Olympics (and then Millennium Water) – but it’s a grabber:

Passerelle 1

Yes, it’s a bridge.  But since passage is limited to those on foot and paw, I prefer the French term – passerelle.   Though they have a long history (the Pont des Arts of 1804, for instance), they are among the most interesting blends of architecture and engineering to be found these days. 

Passerelle 3

The idea behind this one: to evoke the image of a sea-going kayak, including the straps across the deck. 

Passerelle 2

For the record:

These crossings are particularly favoured for narrow rivers in Europe and Australia (see Price Tags 93 for examples), where they can be integrated into bike routes and greenways.  From Calitrava to Foster, big-name architects are adding these kind of bridges to their portfolios – for instance, in London, the Millennium Bridge:

Millennium Bridge

And in Paris, the Simone de Beauvoir Passerelle:

Simone de Beauvoir Passerelle

Now the obvious question: why is there not a passerelle across False Creek?  The need is obvious.  A low-level bridge that connects both banks would be an elegant solution to the Burrard Bridge problem.  The cost alone – now $50 million – to widen the structure over the objections of the heritage community justifies a look at other options.

The problem, apparently, is that a low-level bridge would block the passage of sailboats.  But perhaps it’s time to ask the question: why should we sacrifice a solution that could serve thousands of people every day, support sustainable transportation, add a landmark to the city and save a lot of money to instead serve a few recreational craft that might, with adjustable masts, still be able to navigate the creek?

Comments

  1. passage is limited to those on foot and paw

    So it’s open to pedestrians and pets only, no bicycles? What are cyclists supposed to use?

  2. It’s not part of the bike path – it is really a competely superfluous route. It traverses a short inlet and is really just for sightseeing.

  3. I agree with you 100% about a foot/bike bridge over false creek. Perhaps it could be built with a drawbridge capability — not for regular sailboat use, but in case larger vessels need to access the creek for some reason (who knows… dredging, a tall ships festival, whatever).
    I’d be sad to hurt the water taxi services, but granville island would provide the easiest gap. Maybe the foot of Oak St (but it’s a big gap). If it’s much further to the east, it starts to become just as easy to go around false creek (particularly for cyclists).

  4. Why not have a low-level raised bridge? It’s a workable solution tried elsewhere such as at St Katherine’s Dock in London, and on many many canals throughout Amsterdam.

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