Friday, April 3, 2020

Friday Rush Hour, 5 pm, On the World's Worst Bridge

The red pod on the side of the bridge, attached after-the-fact at considerable expense to make up for Calatrava's failure to provide access for the mobility-impaired in his original design, has never functioned and, after many failed attempts to get it to do so, has finally been consigned to eternal uselessness.

Okay, I can't claim with anything close to certainty that the perpetually costly, self-indulgent, poorly-engineered  abortion designed by architect Santiago Calatrava is in fact the world's worst bridge, but that is indeed the phrase I find looping through my mind every time I have to cross the damn thing, diligently surveying the broad, low, and partly slippery steps just ahead of me to make sure I don't stumble when their width abruptly doubles before returning to their regular spacing.

But, in any case, the above image was taken on Friday, March 13, at the beginning of the city's shutdown, at a time when this bridge spanning the end of the Grand Canal between Piazzale Roma and the train station normally would have been packed with people leaving the city after work or coming into the city for a Friday evening.

With the order to stay indoors I won't be able to see the bridge this evening at this time, but with the continuing shutdown it's not likely to be any more crowded than it is above.


  1. I think I once saw it stuck partway up the slope - before it got almost completely covered in stickers! Agree about the surface being lethal underfoot, we made the error of going over it on a frosty morning once ... rare in Venice, but very nasty surface.

    1. Frosty mornings aren't quite so rare as all that, Ella, especially when the relative thinness of the glass panels and there exposure to the open air both above and below make them particularly temperature sensitive. But all it really takes for them to become slick is any kind of moisture in the air, and as the project was for a lagoon city instead of a desert one, it doesn't seem unrealistic for an architect (or, excuse me, a "starchitect") to take such quotidian facts into consideration.