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Pedestrian portal to Mon Wharf Landing designs unveiled

When the Mon Wharf Landing linear park was completed in 2009, it might have looked great, but it remained isolated and difficult to reach.  That should soon change though, as Riverlife and Point Park University unveiled designs last Friday for a pedestrian portal from Downtown’s Wood Street to the Monongahela riverfront.

The designs are the result of a collaboration between New York City-based artist Nobuho Nagasawa and Fred Bonci and Natalie Byrd of local landscape architecture firm LaQuatra Bonci Associates.

A 40 foot mast and stay cable structure topped with an LED beacon will signal pedestrian access to an existing staircase, making it a much more logical point of entry, says Stephan Bontrager, Riverlife Director of Communications.

And according to Nagasawa’s artist statement, as pedestrians descend those steps, they will view a “jointed skeletal spine, suspended by cables from the Parkway support beams, reminiscent of the bones of a whale and the ribs and keel of a long boat.  The spine follows the lighted path from above and extends beyond the Parkway to the river side floating pier.”

The project’s next phase is fundraising for final design and construction, to be led by Point Park University and Riverlife.

In addition to this portal, Riverlife is currently raising funds for the construction of two other trail-related projects: the Mon Wharf switchback, an ADA, bicycle/pedestrian ramp that will connect to the landing from the Smithfield Street Bridge; and a western-end connection tied to construction at Point State Park. 

Riverlife currently has 1/3 of the funding it needs to build those two connections, which are otherwise shovel-ready.

Bontrager says these projects will shed a brighter light on a riverfront with great views and offer more opportunities to access the Monongahela.

“I really do think that these connections are going to breathe new life into the landing,” he says.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Stephan Bontrager, Riverlife
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