I visited Portland’s newest architectural addition this weekend! The Gibbs Street Footbridge opened on Saturday and I was there to try it out. The footbridge runs below the aerial tram and connects Corbett-Lair Hill district with the South Waterfront. Although it is far less dramatic than the tram, I believe it’s a much more significant addition. This will finally connect the two neighborhoods which are so drastically divided by the I-5/Macadam/Hood Ave corridor.
The bridge is tastefully done. I’ve seen older renderings which showed much more elaborate designs, but I think the finished product looks better. The structure consists of a steel box-girder, supported by two concrete pillars, terminating at an elevator tower. I’m a big fan of the use of chain-link for the safety mesh. I’m also happy to see the bicycle tracks built-into the concrete stairs. It’s such a simple design solution but makes all the difference when you’re trying to carry a bike up or down seven flights of stairs.
Here are my photos, sketches, and diagrams: