Month: June 2007

Our very own bridge to nowhere?

The Strib is running a story about the temporary (and I hope permanent) cancellation of plans to build a bridge across the Mississippi to extend the Midtown Greenway to St. Paul. I’m a cyclist who’s ridden to work in snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures, and even uses a portion of the Greenway when riding to work, but I think the proposed bridge is a terrible waste of money that accomplishes little and has no real reason for being.

The eastern terminus of the Greenway is at West River road, almost exactly equidistant between both the Franklin Ave and Lake Street bridges. (Here’s the location on Google Maps; the Greenway ends where the railroad tracks cross the river.) Across the river in St. Paul, there’s a small neighborhood bounded no the north by I94 and on the east by the Town & Country Club. From that neighborhood, there’s a bridge crossing I94 to the north, leading to a heavily industrial section of St. Paul surrounding University Avenue. To the south the only exits to the south intersect Marshall (as Lake Street becomes on the St. Paul side of the river), and the only other exit to the north crosses Franklin Ave.

Thus, the proposed new bridge provides one route that’s unlikely to be traveled by a cyclist and two others which are merely alternate routes to existing crossing points. In short, it makes no sense.

This strikes me as a project that has rooted in the imagination of someone involved, who is backing it because it fits his or her vision of something that would be fantastic to accomplish. Whoever that person is, they haven’t really thought about it.

I’d much rather see that money go towards work on the River Lake Greenway (formerly the 40th Street Greenway) or towards extensions of bike lanes along Blaisdell and 1st Ave, or anywhere else in the city for that matter.

If only I ran the world . . .