Attractive links to the “old” city center
Bridges are the primary intersections along the interface between HafenCity and the present-day city center, but connections on either side of these bridges also need to be designed
The Kibbelsteg bridges, which are flood-secure, link the existing city center, the Speicherstadt and HafenCity, but they are reserved for pedestrians and cyclists (© ELBE&FLUT)
HafenCity is an island that sits in the course of the River Elbe, intersected by harbor basins. Before it can be used intensively in future as part of a metropolitan zone, therefore, a whole range of connections need to be put in place, internal as well as external. In addition to the underground rapid transit rail line (U4), a total of 25 bridges have to play a major role in infrastructure provision for the city district. To do this, old bridges need to be restored or upgraded to withstand flooding, and new bridges to be constructed.
At the moment, four existing road bridges provide connections to the city center: Niederbaum bridge at the western entrance to HafenCity, Oberbaum bridge in the center, plus the Kibbelsteg bridges, which under normal circumstances are the preserve of foot traffic and bicycles only, but guarantee safe passage from HafenCity to the rest of the city in case of flooding. Because of the low-lying situation of the Speicherstadt which, in the unlikely case of a storm surge flood, would cut off HafenCity, the Kibbelsteg bridges would be available to rescue vehicles as well as pedestrians.
But infrastructure provision for HafenCity is not by any means limited to its precincts. Transport axes and connections in the present-day city center also need to be taken into consideration; good quality routes for pedestrians come at the top of the list. A new pedestrian route, for instance, will lead from Baumwall rapid transit station to the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall from 2011. The contours of Hamburg’s new landmark are in view from the moment you reach the newly laid out area under the U-Bahn viaduct.
Another foot route is the extension of the so-called "Domplatz" axis. From 2010, pedestrians will be able to reach Überseequartier in just ten minutes from Jungfernstieg, along a boulevard lined with ash trees, leading across Domplatz, Kornhaus bridge and St. Annen square.
There will be many ways for people on foot to reach the River Elbe quickly from the current city center. For example, from the Deichtorhallen galleries, it will soon be possible to walk along the quay promenade at Ericusspitze and Brooktorquai down to St. Annen square. From there, the Museum Bridge across Brooktor harbor leads straight into the publicly accessible mall in the International Maritime Museum Hamburg. From 2012 the museum’s southern forecourt will connect up with a pathway to Magdeburger harbor - that will lead on to the River Elbe .