The name says it all. This bridge was built as the longest pedestrian- and bicycle-built bridge in the country spanning 4,226 feet across the Arkansas River, connecting Little Rock and North Little Rock. It is part of the Arkansas River Trail.
On a trip to Arkansas this winter, I discovered this bridge and naturally had to add it to my list of bridges I’ve walked across. The intention of my trip to Arkansas was to visit friends but also to get a break from the cold northern winter by heading south. When I bought my tickets in January, the Little Rock region was having 60 degree weather. A month later when I arrived, the high was 26.
View of Pinnacle Mountain from the Big Dam Bridge
View toward downtown Little Rock showing Rebsaman Park
By the time we reached the half-way point of the bridge, we were frozen stiff. The farther we got on the bridge the stronger the wind got, probably creating a wind chill factor closer to 20 degrees or less. After admiring the views from the midpoint for a minute, the cold and wind forced us to turn back toward the car.
While I didn’t make it all the way across, I can still say I’ve been on one of the Top 10 Bridge Travel Sites in the US. Now I just have to find the other 9 sites.
A renewed downtown Pittsburgh attraction is a great place on a hot day. With last weekend’s temperatures reaching near 90, the revitalized Fountain on the point of Point State Park was a popular place to be.
The new “wading” portion of the fountain was enjoyed by families, friends, couples, and pets.
The fountain was also a gathering point for bikers enjoying the Three Rivers Heritage Trail System and Pittsburgh’s bike rental program and kayakers taking advantage of Venture Outdoors’ Kayak Pittsburgh rentals.
The Point is one of the key geographical features that influenced the creation and history of Pittsburgh. With the rebirth of the fountain, it will continue to be an important attraction in the city.
This week was an exciting one for bike infrastructure in the city of Pittsburgh. The first green bike lane was installed. I’ve been waiting for this for two years and it surpassed my expectations! (I am sure others, such as the city’s Bike Planner who brought the project about, waited for this moment much longer me.)
The road here used to be three lanes (left-turn only and two straight), but the right lane was rarely used because just after the next intersection it merges into the left lane. The lines for the green bike lane were painted late last fall, but I assume the green wasn’t laid then due to weather issues. As I passed through this area regularly on the bus, I noticed that there were some motorists who either ignored the solid line running along the side and down the middle of the lane or didn’t notice them. This lane did not have the bike symbol in it yet, so I motorists being a little confused here. However, in other parts of the city, I have often witnessed cars driving along in clearly designated bike lanes (meaning there are signs posted and the bike symbol painted in the road). Soon I hope to be able to report that motorists recognize they don’t belong where the green paint is, giving bikers a clearly recognized portion of the road.
One of the really neat things about this bike lane is that it stands out from quite a distance. I was initially skeptical when I heard it was going to be a green lane–I pictured a grass or forest green color–but this neon green is very eye catching.
The trail bridge over Bates Street, which opened in 2011, is the second newest bridge in Pittsburgh. The newest is the pedestrian bridge in East Liberty (see Taking the Long Way Round post). The East Liberty bridge was a completely new bridge, whereas there was a trail bridge over Bates Street before. This bridge carries the Eliza Furnace Trail. This trail is part of the larger Three Rivers Heritage Trail. I believe that this is the only bridge over a road along the Three Rivers Trail system. There is a converted railroad bridge that carries the trial over part of the Allegheny River (see July 15 post). The Hot Metal (Aug 9 post), Smithfield Street and Fort Duquesne (June 19 post) bridges are also considered part of the trail system according to the trail map.
As I mentioned in the Birmingham Bridge post, the part of the Three Rivers Trail system that travels on the northern side of the Monongahela is not a very pleasant stretch. This area around the Bates Street Bridge is one of the worst sections. The trail is caught between a freeway and the high traffic, through way of Second Avenue. There is no vegetation or anything else to act as barriers to the noise of the traffic on these two roads and to the sun on a hot day.
Further away from town (in the direction the picture above looks), the trail improves some as it comes to an elevation between that of the freeway and Second Avenue and there is more space between the trail and the roads. I’ve traveled on this trail toward town only once or twice, so I don’t remember specifics about it. I do remember that it does continue to lean toward being unpleasant. The times I traveled on it, I was biking. From that experience I know I would never choose to walk it. On a bike, you go fast enough to ignore much of the harshness of the trail, but walking you would be forced to take it all in.
Perhaps the biggest problem with this part of the trail system is that it doesn’t approach anywhere near the river. This is a significant flaw for a trail considered part of a river trail system. At the Bates Street Bridge, the trail is separated from the Monongahela River by Second Avenue and the office/technology park I reference in the Birmingham Bridge post.
One of my original fascinations with my walking bridge project was the different views of the city captured from the various bridges. The Bates Street Bridge adds to the views of downtown I’ve collected so far: