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Crossing Bridges

I love bridges. I love the purpose served by bridges as architectural structures. I love crossing them.

I love that the word bridge has other meanings too, such as a means of connection as in building a bridge between two cultures.

Below are some of the pedestrian bridges in and around the downtown San Diego area and some a little farther away. I'm lucky I get to cross these on a regular basis.

Harbor Avenue Pedestrian Bridge

The Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge crosses Harbor Drive at Park Boulevard in downtown San Diego. It was completed in 2011 and accomodates pedestrian traffic from the Petco baseball stadium crossing to and from parking areas on the other side of Harbor Drive at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel. It is 550 feet long and the span measures 350 feet, while the remainder is approaches.

The eye-catching feature of the bridge is that it's suspended from a single 131-foot tall pylon set into the ground at a 60 degree angle. Safdie Rabines Architects was the project architect.

 The bridge crosses over six lanes of traffic, a rail yard and trolley tracks, connecting the convention center with the Gaslamp Quarter and the East Village. I like to stand on the bridge in the early morning and look at the near empty street below.

Vermont Street Bridge

The first bridge connecting Hillcrest’s Vermont Street to University Heights was a wooden trestle bridge built in 1916. It remained in use until Nov. 1978. Subsequently, the rotting trestle bridge was razed in the spring of 1979. 

The present modern steel and concrete bridge was opened in 1995. 420 ft. long, the project includes surface treatment of the concrete with images and text, and laser cut stainless steel and colored plexiglass railing panels with icons and quotations that refer to the metaphors of time, walking, and bridging. The photos above show quotations by Dr. Seuss, Irving Gill and Kate Sessions. The firm Stone Paper Scissors developed the public art installation at the bridge. The quote by  Kate Sessions makes me smile, because except when I'm running, I don't always wear sensible shoes :)

The project received an "Orchid" award from the San Diego County chapter of the American Institute of Architects. 

Spruce Street Suspension Bridge


The Spruce Street Suspension Bridge was built in 1912 and engineered by Edwin Capps. This footbridge was initially designed to provide pedestrians a passage across the deep canyon, to get between the new trolley lines built on Fourth and Fifth avenue. If there are any other pedestrians on the bridge the same time as me, I try not to run across and cause it to sway.

First Avenue Bridge

The First Avenue Bridge over Maple Canyon, listed as a historic structure by the city of San Diego and the state Department of Parks and Recreation, was built in 1931. It was originally known as The People’s Bridge because it was erected at the request of local property owners. The view is lovely from below. I like to run under it through Maple Canyon and then to the nearby Quince Street Bridge.

Quince Street Bridge

The 236 foot long wood plank Quince Street pedestrian bridge links Bankers Hill to Balboa Park over Maple Canyon. Built in 1905, the bridge originally was meant to connect pedestrians with the Fourth Avenue trolley.

Cabrillo Bridge 

The Cabrillo Bridge, built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, was the first cantilevered, multiple-arched bridge to be built in Southern California. It is nearly 1,500 feet long and nearly 125 feet high. Pedestrians and cars use this scenic bridge to enter into Balboa Park. The photos above were taken from the trails below, west of the 163 freeway. The Upas Street pedestrian bridge, third photo, is how I crossed over the 163 to take the Cabrillo Bridge photos. The last photo is some eye catching graffiti next to the trail.

Los Penasquitos Canyon Creek Crossings

About 25 miles north of downtown, the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve provides a great nature space with trails for easy hikes, biking and running. When I'm able to run there, I love to cross over the Penasquitos Creek using the simple wooden footbridges.