Should we build an iconic pedestrian bridge connecting mall to Belmont?
Our readers have certainly been following the debate over the future of the Belmont Bridge. Should it be replaced with a similar bridge? Should it be replaced with an underpass? Does the underpass present an opportunity to build a companion and iconic pedestrian bridge to Belmont? What will it all cost?
Last month the Charlottesville City Council decided it wanted more information on these questions, and more public input. Our poll question of the week is inspired by a memo from architect Jim Rounsevell on the merits of the underpass with an iconic pedestrian bridge.
“This is not about the car, its about people. Its about connectivity. Its about making a better place. Having studied this design problem for at least 2 1/2 years, a beautiful new pedestrian bridge with its attendant roadway under the tracks, is a fundamentally superior solution than just simply rebuilding or dressing up a 1961 federal highway overpass.”
“So I ask, Is an underpass and pedestrian bridge more expensive and will it take longer to build? Probably. Is it more complicated? Yes. Can the project’s short term complexities be overcome? Absolutely. On the other hand, will this infrastructure last longer than a comparable new highway bridge and cost less to take care of? You bet. Finally, will the city’s return on investment in a solution that connects and opens instead of divides and impedes better stimulate continued economic growth? Without question.”
Jim Rounsevell, Registered Architect