Aug 082007

It seems that a lot of folks are so full of hate for George Bush and hate for tax cuts that they’ve abandoned a lot of their values in the wake of the I35-W bridge collapse — just for a chance to do some Bush-bashing and tax-raising. For partisan political gain, they’re allying themselves with the forces of modern development that are turning the earth into a monotonous, bland place and which disconnect us from the environment and from each other.

I’ve blogged about bridges in my bicycle blog: Bridges to Planet Earth where I breathed a sigh of relief that an old bridge in Tennessee is not currently threatened by the safety-efficiency people.

Personal recollection: When we lived in St. Cloud, MN in the mid 70s it was on the opposite side of the Mississippi from the University where I was going to grad school. We lived close enough that I often walked across the bridge to get there — the 10th Street Bridge. It was a rickety old thing that rattled as cars went across, and it couldn’t handle the volume of traffic that some planners thought should be directed through our neighborhood.

In the winter time it was a COLD walk across that bridge. It could be quite a painful ordeal. The river runs north and south there, and the valley acts as a wind channel for the cold north winds. There was nothing on those trusses to shelter you. Brrr. It makes for quite the memories now.

I found somebody else’s blog entry about that bridge: Deep Blade Journal It has photos of the old bridge and of the new one that replaced it. Replacement was always a controversial topic while we lived there. Planners wanted to replace it; those of us who lived in the community didn’t want it replaced, and it was held off for many years. It couldn’t last forever, though, and eventually the safety-efficiency people had their way. There is now a new bridge, a lot of traffic, and the world is a more boring place for it. I’ve been back to drive across the new bridge a few times, always with a sense of loss.

But it’s not all loss. Not until I saw the above blog entry did I see the underside of that bridge. It’s not your ordinary boring Interstate bridge. The designers and engineers could have done a lot worse. Maybe someday people will be just as protective and fond of that one as we were of the old 10th Street bridge.

Main point, though: There’s more to life than safety and efficiency.