My hiking partners and I did an urban hike this past weekend. It started and finished in Balboa Park but does not include any of the hiking trails within the Park. The object was to visit seven small bridges located in the city. They are all located around Balboa Park. I had visited both the Quince Street and Spruce Street Bridges in the past and photographed them in 1993. I have crossed the Cabrillo Bridge many times, and driven under it more times than I can count.
We had an early morning start as there was a big Maker Faire going on in the Park and we wanted to get a parking spot and avoid any crowds. We were at the Park and starting out about 0815, and had no problem finding a space. My husband, George, was going to be volunteering at the Natural History Museum and was only about a half hour behind us. He was very lucky to get a spot as the lots and Park Boulevard were almost full by 0845.
We headed off with water as we were having a heat wave. (The high at our house was 104˚F!!!) Snacks or lunch would be found along the way at one of the many restaurants we would pass.
The first bridge was a pedestrian bridge that spans Park Boulevard and runs East-West. It crosses over Park Boulevard and connects the Rose Garden and the Cactus Garden with the Prado area.
|PARK AVENUE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE|
After walking through the Prado area we crossed the Cabrillo Bridge which spans CA-163. This is a lovely tall 7 arched bridge which was was built for the 1915 Panama–California Exposition and completed in 1914. It’s height is 120 feet and towers above the canyon floor.
Photo by Peter Lerum Photography
We then proceeded West to First Avenue and turned North. The First Avenue Bridge was built in 1931 in the mid-west, shipped to San Diego to be reassembled in place. It was built in response to the need for a direct commuter route to offices in Downtown, the bridge aided the growth of the Uptown district in San Diego after World War I. The historic steel arch bridge is the only metal truss bridge in the City, and one of a handful truss bridges located within the State.
|FIRST AVENUE BRIDGE|
We continued North to the Quince Street Bridge where we found the wooden-trestle bridge that was built in 1905 at a cost of less than $1000 to allow easier access to the Fourth Ave. trolley station.
|QUINCE STREET BRIDGE|
After crossing to Fourth Ave., we retraced our steps to Second Avenue and then continued North to the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge.
The Spruce Street Bridge is located in the residential Bankers Hill neighborhood and was built in 1912, and engineered by Edwin Capps. This footbridge was initially designed to provide pedestrians a passage across the deep canyon, to get between the new trolley lines built on Fourth and Fifth Avenue. It now serves as a secret, serene, and very romantic spot, beloved by locals and visitors to San Diego alike.
After crossing this bridge we continued North to the Hillcrest neighborhood which is vibrant and bustling. At several houses along the way there was some large metallic art. What fun!
There is a large variety of restaurants with enticing smells to call you to them. We were attracted to Chocolat where we enjoyed varieties of chocolate gelatos. Chris enjoyed Chocolate Spice, Myrna stayed with Dark Chocolate, and I enjoyed Dark Chocolate Grand Marnier. We all enjoyed our choices. Then it was time to head East to the Vermont Street Bridge.
|THIS IS REALLY GOOD!|
The Vermont Street Pedestrian Bridge is a 420 ft. long steel and concrete pedestrian bridge spanning a canyon and connecting two distinct San Diego communities, University Heights and Hillcrest. The project includes surface treatment of the concrete, creating images and text, and 28 laser cut stainless steel and colored plexiglass railing panels with icons and quotations that refer to the metaphors of time, walking, and bridging. Some of the quotations include Dr. Seuss, Audrey Lourde, Irving Gill, Kate Sessions, Pythagoras, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We then proceeded to Georgia Street and then headed South to the Georgia Street Bridge, another pedestrian bridge which spans University Avenue between Park Boulevard and Florida Street. This bridge was built in 1914 by architect James Cromly. It was designed to complement the theme of the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition at nearby Balboa Park. It became a key symbol and artery for residents because it linked Hillcrest to North Park. The new bridge was an instant classic with its elegant Roman arches, a theme echoed on the massive retaining walls on both sides of University Avenue, below the bridge.
|GEORGIA STREET CONSTRUCTION|
Regrettably we were not able to cross on this bridge as it is being retrofitted and rebuilt to meet the earthquake safety standards. As you can see it will be lovely once again.
Once we reached Park Boulevard we continued South to Village Place where we had left our vehicle.
This was a fun adventure. It was great to see and visit some of the neighborhoods and admire their history and architecture. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to explore the city on foot.