For a long time I have been telling my Manchester friends that good cities utilize their waterfront/riverfront setting by building around it and Manchester is not doing it enough. All of the cities I enjoy going to have a vibrant waterfront area that usually has lots of people walking, running, roller blading or biking and lots of other life and nature around it. It’s good for the residents of the city and it helps the city have more appeal as a destination city. With that said, I was glad to see construction had finally begun the other day on the Hands Across The Merrimack (aka Singer Family Crossing), a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Merrimack River .
Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta says something very similar to what I think I have said 100 times since I have lived in this area.
Citing successful waterfront development in Boston, Portland, Providence and Portsmouth, the mayor said Manchester has hurt itself by treating the Merrimack River as an afterthought.
The bridge will link walking paths and trails on both sides of the river. This should encourage people to utilize the trails more now that more routes will be possible. I was happy when Manchester created a Riverwalk a few years ago, but it is usually a ghost town when I am there (except during New Hampshire Fisher Cat’s games).
Hopefully at some point it will even be possible to make a loop around the river, without using the streets, much like one can do around the Charles River in Boston. This would require a trail/path on the west side and a little extension on the east side.
I am pretty amazed and happy to see some infrastructure being added that has nothing to do with automobiles. The bridge which had been in the fund raising and planning stage for the last 5 years was spearheaded by Manchester citizen Helen Closson. A HUGE kudos to her for making it happen. Manchester needs more people like her.
Below is picture of before and a drawing of after:
A promotional drawing of the new bridge: