Pedestrian bridge construction

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Pedestrian bridge construction involves the development of a grade-separated crossing that allows for free-flowing movement of multiple users, including pedestrians and potentially bicyclists. [1][2][3] The separation of uses can minimize conflicts between bridge users and vehicles. [4] Pedestrian bridges can provide crossing across major barriers such as freeways, railways or natural barriers like rivers. [3] These bridges can also connect systems of trails or walkways. [5][6]

CONCEPT


Goals

Automobile

Bicycle

Pedestrian

Health

Example

A high traffic road bisects two major sections of a city. In order to facilitate the flow of traffic for vehicles on the highway and bikers/pedestrians crossing the highway, the city compares the competing options of: (1) an at-grade crossing with use of traffic signals; (2) retrofitting an existing automobile bridge to accommodate pedestrian and bike traffic; or (3) constructing a pedestrian/bike only bridge. The city selects the option of a pedestrian bridge because it does not disrupt traffic flow like the at-grade crossing option and provides greater safety for pedestrians and bikers than the option of retrofitting an existing automobile bridge.

Tradeoffs

Tradeoffs of implementing this policy may include:

  1. Higher cost in comparison to level crossing. [1][3]
  2. Potential underutilization if bridge increases walking distance compared to level crossing. [2][3][4]
  3. Potential for increased safety risk by avoidance of use of bridge. [2][4]
  4. Occupies space that might be used for other pedestrian or biking transportation improvements. [7]
  5. Movement of pedestrian and bikers away from street level commercial businesses. [8]
  6. Visually intrusive.[3]
Compatibility Assessment

If answered yes, the following questions indicate superior conditions under which the policy is more likely to be appropriate:

  1. Does a pedestrian bridge provide direct route of travel? [2][4]
  2. Will a pedestrian bridge insignificantly increase distance traveled to cross intersection? [2][4]
  3. Will there be adequate clearance under the pedestrian bridge to allow for flow of traffic?
  4. Does the pedestrian bridge creates link(s) for trails or paths?[1]
  5. Does the topography allows for a bridge without ramps (at-grade bridge over sunken barrier)?[3]
  6. Is there a significant barrier to be crossed (high-volume/high-speed road, active railroad, impassable natural barrier)?[3]
  7. Does a pedestrian bridge create a new, previously unavailable safe crossing?
Design

The following questions should be considered when determining how to implement this policy:

  1. Is there clear visibility of entrances and exits?[3]
  2. Is there minimum width to accommodate bikers and pedestrians or to provide sense of safety?[1][3]
  3. Is there use of natural topography or fences to direct movement towards bridge?[2][4]
  4. Is there placement of the bridge within natural or existing path of pedestrian and bicycle movement?[4]
  5. Are there necessary modifications to accommodate users with special needs?[3]
  6. Is the bridge susceptible to vibrations, as compared to heavier bridges used for automobiles? [9]

ADOPTION


PolicyGraphics
Adopters

Notable entities who have implemented or adopted this policy include:

STAKEHOLDERS


Supporters
Opponents

REFERENCES


Research
  • The Bright Future of the Pedestrian Bridge. Jan. 30, 2015. Eric Jaffe. CityLab from the Atlantic. Article describing the ascendancy of pedestrian bridge as design preference for barrier crossings.
  • The Effect of Structure and Street Characteristics on the Footbridge Usage. Dec. 2, 2014. Razi Aziz Hasan and Madzlan Napiah. Journal of Applied Science and Agriculture,9(21)Special 2014:52-59. Study on use of pedestrian bridge and highlighting importance of bridge providing direct route and least distance for pedestrians in order to maximize usage and minimize safety risks from avoidance.
  • Mikko Räsänena et al. "Pedestrian self-reports of factors influencing the use of pedestrian bridges." Accident Analysis & Prevention 39(5), Sept. 2007:969–973. Study of use of pedestrian bridges in Ankara, Turkey.
Resources
  • Pedestrian/Bicycle Overcrossings: Lessons Learned. June 2007. Rory Renfro. Portland State. Field Paper discussing uses and design advantages of pedestrian bridges.
  • Overpasses/Underpasses. Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. Providing general analysis of function of pedestrian bridges and considerations for when to construct.
  • Andreas Keil. Pedestrian Bridges: Ramps, Walkways, Structures. Walter de Gruyter. 2013. Book that provides detailed discussion regarding technical design of pedestrian bridges.
Footnotes
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Rory Renfro. “Pedestrian/Bicycle Overcrossings: Lessons Learned.” Portland State. June 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 The Effect of Structure and Street Characteristics on the Footbridge Usage. Dec. 2, 2014. Razi Aziz Hasan and Madzlan Napiah. Journal of Applied Science and Agriculture,9(21)Special 2014:52-59.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 “Overpasses/Underpasses.” Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. Visited Nov. 8, 2015. http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/planning/facilities_crossings_over-underpasses.cfm.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Mikko Räsänena et al. "Pedestrian self-reports of factors influencing the use of pedestrian bridges." Accident Analysis & Prevention 39(5), Sept. 2007:969–973.
  5. Eric Jaffe. “The Bright Future of the Pedestrian Bridge.” CityLab. The Atlantic. Jan. 30, 2015. http://www.citylab.com/design/2015/01/the-bright-future-of-the-pedestrian-bridge/385016.
  6. Katie Harris. “Five of America’s Best Pedestrian Bridges (and Why They Matter).” Rails to Trails Conservancy. Oct. 11, 2015. http://www.railstotrails.org/trailblog/2015/october/11/five-of-america-s-best-pedestrian-bridges-and-why-they-matter.
  7. o Alex Hutchinson. “Let’s Not Cross That Bridge When We Get To It.” Planning Blog. Nov. 5. 2010. http://montgomeryplanning.org/blog-design/2010/11/lets-not-cross-that-bridge-when-we-get-to-it.
  8. Kent A. Robertson. “Pedestrianization Strategies for Downtown Planners: Skywalks Versus Pedestrian Malls.” Journal of the American Planning Association. 59-3 (1993): 361-70.
  9. Andreas Keil. Pedestrian Bridges: Ramps, Walkways, Structures. Walter de Gruyter. 2013.
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