Monday, October 3, 2011

Let's Build a Landmark


Yeah, I stole the Arkansas Times headline that shows up everytime they sponsor Arkansas Week (yeah, I watch Arkansas Week. Actually I usually listen to the podcast).

Rarely do I agree with the editorial board of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette but they get it (mostly) right this morning (ridiculous but profitable paywall enforced). I tend to think small can sometimes be better and I'm not convinced about the need for additional ve
hicular lanes but I agree that we must build a better Broadway Bridge. Not better in the sense that there's something horribly wrong with the style & type we have now (minus the impending safety issues & the horrid truss added in the 70s) but better than a workman like structure than we have tended to build around these parts.

We have a great trail system that's been developed over the last few years. We have even better pedestrian bridges. Why would we want to slow down that developing
legacy? It seems the mayors and the county judge agree, as does Metroplan. But, of course, the question is the money. The DG proposes a bond. OK by me. Whatever it takes.

A couple of heretical ideas -

* Sell naming rights to the bridge. I don't care what you call it so long as it's amazing.

* Paint the damn thing red. When I was in Pittsburgh a few years ago I noticed they'd painted one of their bridges in the Three Rivers area yellow with some black. Asking
around, someone told me they did this (obviously) in an effort to correlate with the nearby sports stadiums for the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins. Lets have a Razorback red bridge. Sorry Trojans & Bears. Hey, we could say the red is also for the Red Wolves. Whatever it takes.

* Build it high enough where there's an opportunity for a secondary bridge, perhaps for pedestrians and/or bikers below. I'm not an engineer. I have no idea how this could work but if we don't give it some elevation, we've missed our 100 year window.

* Build it with the idea that one day the trolley will also go over the bridge. Spend whatever money up-front that will cut down the inevitable costs in the future.

Finally, and I think this goes without saying, but provide plenty of access to non-motorized traffic. The bridge is for transportation and that doesn't just mean cars. Bikes, skates, feet. These are all good ways to get around.

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