San Elijo Lagoon Pedestrian Bridge
Pablo Mason

San Elijo Lagoon Pedestrian Bridge

Safdie Rabines Architects 建築家 として

Suspended from Interstate 5 above, the San Elijo Lagoon Pedestrian Bridge spans the lagoon between Encinitas and Cardiff, providing pedestrian access to trails along the shore. This experimental bridge utilizes the new highway structure, providing a unique solution for safe pedestrian and bike traffic, with exciting potential for future application alongside other highway structures for pedestrians and wildlife.

photo_credit Pablo Mason
Pablo Mason

Isolated from the busy interstate, the San Elijo Lagoon Bridge allows visitors to access and enjoy the natural beauty and ecological diversity of the protected lagoon. The bridge also serves as a key point of connection, linking several walking and biking trails that were formally impassable.

photo_credit Pablo Mason
Pablo Mason

The 350-ft suspension bridge was made alongside the I-5 highway crossing as a part of the North Coast Corridor Program, which will improve highway, rail, bike, and pedestrian mobility along the 27-mile corridor from La Jolla to Oceanside. Celebrating the lagoon, the ocean, and the sunset, the bridge offers a new experience for pedestrian crossings in San Diego.

photo_credit Pablo Mason
Pablo Mason

How is the project unique?

A hanging bridge for cyclists, hikers, and naturalists of all ages became a reality when Caltrans and SANDAG saw potential in how a large-scale, high-speed highway bridge replacement could impact the slower, more deliberate daily rhythms of San Diego's coastal community.

Unbeknownst to the commuters above, this smaller, lighter bridge delicately suspends from its larger host bridge, manifesting itself as the true definition of a symbiotic relationship. By bringing cyclists and hikers closer to the water, protected from the drone of the tires on the highway above, this pedestrian bridge invites the community to celebrate the ebb and flow of water, plant life, and wildlife of the marine estuary of San Elijo Lagoon, as the tidal flow creates a constantly changing environment.

Although considered one of North County's hidden gems, this bridge has become an ever-popular destination and connection to the coastal trails that bind the communities of Cardiff, Encinitas, and Solana Beach, California. This project should serve as a model for how larger regional transportation projects can have a positive impact on modalities such as cycling and walking by bringing our natural environment into focus, while also meeting the needs of the automobile.

photo_credit Pablo Mason
Pablo Mason

How does it benefit the community?

Not only a bridge, but a destination to enjoy the natural beauty and ecological diversity of the protected lagoon, encouraging more physical movement and improving mental health among communities.

The bridge also provides vital hiking links not previously accessible to the coastal communities of Encinitas, Solana Beach, and Cardiff, California.

How did your design minimize impact on the local ecology

We saw opportunity for a harmonious relationship between transportation infrastructure and the natural environment. By hanging the pedestrian bridge from the larger host bridge above, there was no need for additional columns beneath which allows for unobstructed tidal flows, offering a peaceful and natural environment for wayfarers and wildlife.

photo_credit Pablo Mason
Pablo Mason

What are the sustainability features?

Although considered one of North County's hidden gems, this project has become an ever-popular destination and connection to the coastal trails that bind the coastal communities of Cardiff, Encinitas and Solana Beach, California. This project should serve as a model for how larger regional transportation projects can have a positive impact on modalities such as cyclists and pedestrians and bringing our natural environment into focus whist also sustaining the appetite of the automobile.

By connecting people to nature while cutting carbon footprints, the pedestrian bridge offers more sustainable transportation options.

photo_credit Safdie Rabines Architects
Safdie Rabines Architects
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