Friday, January 18, 2008

Ped Bridge

Helmet-clad and brandishing fleece mittens, a cyclist cuts through the frigid air with a smiling sanguine expression. Despite swerving to avoid a garbage-can feast and the constant tedium of work (the location to which he is currently commuting), he maintains an air of joy as he bypasses the congestion of the city. Innumerable convoys of traffic surge to his right on Lamar while a string of clacking graffiti billboards rumbles to his left. An isolation created by the pedestrian bridge spanning Town Lake near Lamar quells the vehicular chatter to a background noise. The space separating these circulatory paths allows for a removed presence despite overwhelming sensual bombardment. This separation space is enhanced by the great distance above the water and then up to the sky above. The wind rips and across the valley, whistling through the handrail, bench, and below the bridge registering the path’s height and removal to those perched in its grasp. The series of bridges spanning Town Lake when assessed from this standpoint are pinch-points for the inner-city traffic of Austin that become a source of repetitious beauty and a stimulus for societal interrogation. Cresting the pedestrian walkway, the individual elements become self-sufficient entities, sculpic objects isolated above the plane of the ever-undulating river.
This spatial relationship is noted and can be metered against the traffic on the water. Graceful rowboats and ducks are chess pieces below, traversing the slow water and pacing the eye as it explores what is both the intermediacy and heart of the city. After the overwhelming space and scale of the whole are accepted, appreciated and internalized, the immediacy of the pedestrian bridge itself and its presence on the larger identity of the waterway and city become apparent. A steady flow of bike and pedestrian traffic animates the bridge which vibrates publicly under each step, creating an environment that strives to engage people in the community of the place.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.