CBRM Council: Walkway in the Sky

CBRM councilors last night approved an easement to enable the construction of a pedway across the Esplanade connecting an NSCC Marconi building to be located on Charlotte Street to the rest of the new waterfront campus.

The pedway will be 33 feet above the street and planner Karen Neville says it will not “obstruct views and vistas along Esplanade corridor at the pedestrian and vehicle levels,” which is kind of funny given we’re blocking the “views and vistas” of the harbor with the NSCC campus, but whatever.

Neville says this 33-foot clearance “exceeds typical clearances for overpasses on 100 series highways,” and I have discovered it also exceeds that of most of the “skywalks” in Calgary’s Plus 15 (or +15) Skyway network — so named because the skywalks are about 15 feet above street level.

Plus 15 sign and walkway, Calgary, AB

Plus 15 sign and walkway in Calgary (Photo by Drhaggis, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

This barrage of imperial measurements had me wondering briefly if I’d hallucinated Canada’s conversion to the metric system, so I looked it up and sure enough, we did officially change measurement systems, but as the Canadian Encyclopedia explains:

The process was fraught with political interference and public resistance, and took place incrementally between 1970 and the early 1980s. Despite the shift, many Canadians still express certain measurements in imperial units, such as height (feet and inches).

Hence, Calgary’s Plus 15 Skyway, which Wikipedia tells me is “one of the world’s most extensive pedestrian skywalk systems with a total length of 18 kilometers (11 miles) and 62 bridges” and this CBC story tells me contains bridges that are not actually 15 feet above the street.

Long story short, 33 feet should ensure no vehicles get stuck under the Marconi pedway, given the tallest vehicle permitted on the roads in this province seems to be a loaded auto carrier at 4.30m or 14 feet.

The overall width of the pedway will be approximately 13 feet, so it will “fit comfortably” within the 15 foot-wide overhead easement.

And that’s all I have to tell you about the pedway (there was no discussion about it in council last night) other than to show you a few “preliminary drawings”:

Preliminary drawings, NSCC Marconi Pedway, Sydney, NS