World's Coolest Pedestrian Bridges (PHOTOS)

by Travel + Leisure Subscribe to Travel + Leisure's posts Posted Jul 20th 2011 07:30 AM

TEXT SIZE:

A A A

Stroll the 1.3-mile Hudson River Walkway in Poughkeepsie, NY – taking in the exhilarating view of water, treetops, and sky – and you could almost forget that we live in a world designed for the automobile. Here, the environment belongs not to those who roar by at 70 mph, but to pedestrians.

The concept of pedestrian bridges isn't new. Venice's Rialto Bridge dates back to 1588, and even the Brooklyn Bridge architects made room for walkways alongside the car lanes. But just recently, since around the turn of the millennium, we've rediscovered the notion that regular people are important enough to deserve some spectacular feats of engineering.

This latest generation of newly constructed or retrofitted pedestrian bridges takes a number of forms. Some exist primarily to thrill tourists (a harrowing cable car ride up a lush Malaysian mountain is in order just to get to the aptly named Langkawi Sky Bridge, which dangles 2,300 feet above the dazzling Andaman Sea).

Other pedestrian bridges elevate the everyday business of getting from point A to point B. From Buenos Aires to Bilbao, routine errands are imbued with grandeur thanks to Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava's dramatically sculptural footbridges.

The most successful fall somewhere between spectacle and conduit because they blaze a path where no one felt the need for one before. The newly built Bob Kerrey Bridge linking Omaha, Nebraska to Council Bluffs, Iowa, surely attracts tourists, but it has also changed life for the locals. Footbridges encourage new patterns of development geared toward human-powered pace, especially along the nearby waterfronts.

That's been the case in upstate New York, where a 17-year grassroots effort to repurpose an industrial railroad bridge as the Hudson River Walkway is now reaping rewards. Since its October 2009 opening, the walkway has spurred a neighborhood revival and attracted more than 750,000 tourists – three times the expected amount.

Sure, these pedestrian bridges make a big impression with sweeping views and innovative features like solar-powered LED lighting or the ability to levitate and roll upwards into a wheel. But above all, they reward us for traveling, whether on foot or two wheels, with our own muscle power.

Filed Under: Arts & Culture

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

49 Comments

Filter by:
Carl

Someone here mentioned the Golden Gate Bridge. It is NOT a pedestrian-only bridge, obviously. I'm surprised the Millennium Bridge in London wasn't mentioned. It probably has more pedestrians on it each day than all the others put together.

August 01 2011 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dcs2998

I would also add the pedestrian bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland. It is not in any way breathtaking and dangerous, but it is absolutely beautiful and romantic!

July 29 2011 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BBoricuaK9W

I just thought of another beautiful bridge that I've been on. It's the Mile High Swinging Bridge @ Grandfather Mountain, NC.

July 28 2011 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BBoricuaK9W

All of these bridges are beautiful!!. The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco isn't mentioned.

July 28 2011 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
slilyb

Wonderful!

July 28 2011 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mickey4jesus

WOW !

July 28 2011 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JeffSovich

" . . . and even the Brooklyn Bridge architects made room for walkways alongside the car lanes."

Actually, the Brooklyn Bridge was built in 1883, three years before the first automobile came into existence. So those lanes you termed "car lanes" were actually designed as "carriage lanes."

July 28 2011 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jhoiseth

The Hanford MacNider footbridge in Mason City, IA, is one of the prettiest around. It was featured in the Music Man!

July 28 2011 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mahbubur Rashid

Most beautiful city I have ever seen.

July 22 2011 at 8:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
graciegarner

the rolling bridge is so fun to walk on. has any body been on it ? cause i have

July 22 2011 at 5:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Around the Web

  • Even when you're traveling, follow what's going on in your neighborhood.
    Get the Patch app.
  • .