Manila's first eco 'footbridge' sets a precedent in pedestrian-friendly public infrastructure

Pedestrians crossing Quezon Boulevard in the city of Manila no longer have to brave the dingy Raon footbridge and Quezon bridge underpass to get to the other side. A new footbridge opened its services to pedestrians last September 17, which is not only closer to the Quiapo Church, but is much safer to cross on.   Dubbed as the country’s first eco footbridge, this pedestrian footbridge is designed by the urban design team of Palafox Associates. The footbridge is equipped with CCTV cameras and stationed security guard 24/7, with energy-efficient LED lighting and landscaping.   Project Architects Dennis Cruz and Buddy Barrios, in charge of the project, were present during the inauguration of the footbridge, as well as Managing Partner Karmi Palafox.   “We initially designed a hybrid bridge: the LED lights are connected to the grid and at the same time, to the solar panels to be installed at the roof,” explains Architect Barrios. “This way, the footbridge is lighted at all times even during blackouts.”

Aside from keeping pedestrians safe and comfortable, the project does not use Manila taxpayer's money for the construction and maintenance of the footbridge.

The ad boards on either side of the footbridge will support the costs of maintenance and security of the bridge. EcoBridges Ads Inc. donated the money used to construct the footbridge. The company promised to maintain the lights and CCTV cameras, as well as provide the salaries of the guards assigned to the bridge.

Walking the Talk

Palafox Associates and the Palafox Architecture Group have long been advocates of adaptive architecture, green urbanism and walkable, bikable communities. Thus, the footbridge is designed to withstand winds up to 270-kilometers per hour. Moreover, the materials used for the structure are renewable materials. Even the paint used is non-toxic. The bridge’s landscape features are not for aesthetic purpose only, but to absorb the belched smoke from PUVs plying Quezon boulevard.

This is just one of the footbridges that the team is to design for EcoBridges and the City of Manila. Existing footbridges will be retrofitted and built around Metro Manila in the next years, using  the same design and security principles used to build the Quezon Boulevard footbridge.