Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Bridge in Portland

I must confess that I’ve been pretty busy the past few weeks and have not had a chance to write a nice lengthy blog post. Maybe that’s a good thing. Anyway, tonight I give you another mini-post about bridges and Portland.

According to an article in the Oregonian, the next bridge to cross the Willamette River in Portland will be car-free. The bridge will carry light rail, streetcars, buses, bicyclists and pedestrians across the river. It is great to see this kind of innovation. The fewer lanes that need to be built on a bridge, the lower the cost. Also the government in Portland has decided to make their new bridge “not only about the engineering but the design. [they] would like for this bridge to be beautiful.

I’m sad to say that in Canada our infrastructure is all about utility with little or no effort put into aesthetic. A certain overpass in Langley comes to mind when I think about ugly infrastructure. The Province’s fixation with ugly, weed-infested paved medians on highways also comes to mind. Langley and Surrey have the right idea as they actually plant trees and shrubs on their road medians, and even use nice pavers in some location. I digress…

The point of today’s post is to point out that planners in the Portland are building a transportation system that give people transportation options, and gives transit an advantage over the automobile. It's amazing the kind of transit system you can build when you don’t waste money on SkyTrain. I had to work that in there. :-)

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