An architect’s vision of a future Calgary pedestrian and cyclist bridge were unveiled via the Internet yesterday.
Designs for the controversial Peace Bridge, by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, showed a sleek, tubular, single span red and white trestle — already affectionately referred to by bloggers and Calgary’s Twitter community as the Chinese Finger Trap.
“It’s a very elegant structure that is going to serve this city for a long time to come,” said Mayor Dave Bronconnier.
The bridge, costing approximately $24.5 million, will connect the communities of Hillhurst-Sunnyside and Eau Claire crossing over the Bow River. It is expected to serve 5,000 pedestrians and cyclists daily — compared with the city’s estimate of 500 served daily by each of the city’s various other pedestrian bridges.
The unveiling of the bridge comes a week earlier than expected because there had been many requests and the designs were circulating around city departments, said Bronconnier.
Bronconnier said that formal presentations aren’t usually done when an architect’s drawing gets approval and is going out for bid.
Ald. Andre Chabot, who has opposed the construction of the bridge from the beginning, said a bigger presentation should have been done.
“If it’s something we want to be proud of and feel confident in the decision council made — not me — certainly it should be released in a much more public fashion than just putting it on the City of Calgary’s website,” said Chabot.
Chabot said he is ‘underwhelmed’ with the design because it is low-profile and not attention-getting.
“I don’t see it as something that is perceived as the iconic stature it supposedly is going to deliver.”
Designs will still go through the planning commission on Aug. 6.
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