There is a pedestrian bridge across Bigelow Boulevard at the Bloomfield Bridge. I walked this bridge before I started this blog and didn’t think to take a picture of the bridge itself. Its appearance is similar to the Graham Street Pedestrian Bridge (see post) except that the fencing doesn’t connect overhead and does continue along the stairs.
The picture above is from the Bigelow pedestrian bridge looking out over Pittsburgh’s East End. The large brownish building on the left is West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield. In the middle of the frame are two white points standing above the other buildings. These are the steeple of East Liberty Presbyterian Church on the left and the Highland Building, also in East Liberty and designed by Daniel Burnham, on the right.
When I saw this symbol on the pedestrian bridge, I stopped to consider it. This was the first time I had ever seen this symbol. I thought whoever put it on this bridge had a very good point. The only way to access the Bloomfield Bridge from Oakland and the uphill side of Bigelow Boulevard is by the pedestrian bridge, which is only accessible by a set of stairs on either side. As such anyone with a mobility disability is barred from using the Bloomfield Bridge as a pedestrian. The way the intersection of the bridge and the boulevard is set up now, it would not be safe for any pedestrian to attempt to cross the streets, let alone one with a disability. This is a unequal and limiting situation. There is a grocery store across from the other end of the bridge and a drug store and restaurants within another block. Up the hill from this side of the bridge is a residential area. The other end of the Bloomfield Bridge is the residents closest area for essentials found at grocery and drug stores as well as entertainment found at restaurants and bars. It would be highly convenient for the residents on the hill to be able to walk to this area; however the current situation limits who is able to use this resource. (Not to mention the ugliness of the bridge and the intersection which probably discourages many people from even considering the short walk across the Bloomfield Bridge.)
The second time I saw this graffiti symbol was on the 16th Street Bridge (see post). I could not figure out what statement, if any, the 16th Street Bridge one was trying to communicate. As far as I could tell, that bridge is accessible to any pedestrian with or without mobility issues. At least there are no stairs to contend with at either end.