Pedestrian Bridge Connecting Elevated Plazas Moving Forward

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Pedestrian bridge over Sixth Street. (Courtesy Metro Louisville)
Pedestrian bridge over Sixth Street. (Courtesy Metro Louisville)
Pedestrian bridge over Sixth Street. (Courtesy Metro Louisville)
Pedestrian bridge over Sixth Street. (Courtesy Metro Louisville)

After years of waiting it looks like a pedestrian bridge connecting the Belvedere with the Muhammad Ali Center plaza could soon be moving forward. The design for the pedestrian connector over Sixth Street designed by Joseph & Joseph Architects was unveiled by Mayor Fischer and Ali Center and Kentucky Center officials on January 13. The new bridge will provide seamless connection of Louisville’s riverfront elevated plazas stretching from Fourth to past Sixth streets.

Pedestrian bridge over Sixth Street. (Courtesy Metro Louisville)
Pedestrian bridge over Sixth Street. (Courtesy Metro Louisville)

While the design of 179-foot long, nine-foot wide bridge isn’t as exciting as some pedestrian bridges being built by other cities across the country, it will serve a functional role in knitting together these plazas. And the price can’t be beat at around $850,000. The city will chip in $410,000 from its capital budget and PARC, the city’s parking authority, will pay for the rest.

Shown on models of the Ali Center for years, the bridge was eventually proposed to be funded and built by the Museum Plaza project that was abandoned last year, leaving the future of the bridge uncertain. The structure helps fix the awkward dead-end condition on the western edge of the Belvedere where pedestrians are forced to turn back or descend several floors through a parking garage, find their own way back to the sidewalk, risk a dangerous unmarked mid-block crossing, and ascend another large stair back to the raised Ali Center plaza.

The bridge will be clad in metal panels with what appears to be a half-round shape on their edges and will be supported by the Ali Center garage and two new concrete piers. The project is expected to break ground in the spring and could be completed by the end of the year.

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden is a writer and architectural designer living in Brooklyn. After graduating from the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, Branden practiced architecture in Louisville where he worked on several large LEED Certified buildings. Branden is the senior web editor at The Architect’s Newspaper, where he covers architecture, design, and urbanism. He has also written about design for Designers & Books, sustainability for Inhabitat, and architecture for the American Institute of Architects. He founded Broken Sidewalk in 2007, an online collaborative promoting architecture and urbanism in Louisville, Kentucky and the Midwest.

7 COMMENTS

  1. This community needs to get its priorities straight and construct riverfront projects that will provide a solid return on investment. Louisville’s riverfront has come a long way but our city’s gateway and central business district’s riverfront still needs major improvements to compete in the 21st century. The 1950s style elevated waterfront x-way is a visual and aural blight on the historical heart of the city. At the very least the city must plan for a context-sensitive riverfront expressway that allows for future improvements, a better street level experience, and results in a marketable image defining gateway.

  2. That is the ugliest thing to hit downtown Louisville since the Zirmed building and the unimaginative parking garage next to it. I’d go as far as calling it pathetic. It basically is as ugly as I-64 at the bottom of the same street. Fisher, please stop this madness.

  3. The pedestrian bridge is needed but that is nearly the most yawn inducing, unimaginative design I have ever seen. I try not to be pessimistic about this town but we do seem to have a way with striving for mediocrity.

  4. “The structure helps fix the awkward dead-end condition on the western edge of the Belvedere where pedestrians are forced to turn back or descend several floors through a parking garage, find their own way back to the sidewalk, risk a dangerous unmarked mid-block crossing, and ascend another large stair back to the raised Ali Center plaza.”

    So after the bridge is built, pedestrians will be forced to turn back to the Belevedere or descend the sidewalk next to the Ali Center? And this fixes the dead-end solution how? Basically it just moves the problem further down the street – instead of being stuck on the Belevedere, you will be stuck on the Ali Plaza. Same problem, different location – $850K poorer.

    Now that Museum Plaza is dead, a better link needs to be made between the Belevedere/Ali Plaza and the riverwalk. Maybe this will be thought of in the next phase…

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