Originally meant for cars, the Pont de Rennes pedestrian bridge (as we now know it) was actually built as the Platt Street Bridge in 1891, an 858-foot-long, truss bridge. The bridge was a useful and productive east / west passageway which for decades, provided the only place to catch a glimpse of Rochester’s iconic High Falls. The arrival of the railroad and heavy industrial development in and around the High Falls area had encroached on what had once been a public gathering space, situated at the falls. The Platt Street Bridge was closed to cars in 1977 and re-opened as the Pont de Rennes pedestrian bridge in 1982.
Now known as the Pont de Rennes bridge, in honor of Rochester’s City, Rennes, France, the bridge serves pedestrians and cyclists and is a major destination attraction along the Genesee Riverway Trail. Genesee Riverway Trail.
This is the best viewing site of the High Falls. Looking out over the gorge, you can see rock formations of shale, limestone, and sandstone, with bands of iron ore. These sedimentary rocks, formed by the accumulation of deposits that came from what is now the Hudson Valley, are over 400 million years old. Soils from the then Alpine-like mountains were washed into a shallow sea. The sediment compressed and cemented to form layers of rock. The red sandstone, locally called “Medina sandstone,” provided an excellent building material and is often found on Rochester sidewalks, curbs, and older buildings.
The Greentopia organization is working on a public capital project, The GardenAerial, that would create a 3/4 mile hub trail around the perimeter of the top of the High Falls gorge. Check out the plans for this transformative project by watching the video below.