Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Portland Vet Bridge Needs Wide People Lane

The new design for replacing the Veteran's Memorial Bridge presented last night at city hall was very thoughtful when dealing with the flow of vehicles. However, the bike and pedestrian path is tacked on as an afterthought and appears a bit convoluted. The designers put the path on the south side of the bridge because if the put it on the north side, they would have had to do environmental impact submittals that would have driven their bid up, possibly leading to losing.

We are still operating under the old gas-forever auto paradigm instead of the new holistic cities paradigm. Right now the bridge has carefully crafted a big 'A' poppa bear path for cars but a little 'Z' path for people walking, jogging, or biking to work, etc. The new bridge needs to have a big 'A' path for cars and an equal (not equal width but almost equal importance) partner 'B' path for pedestrians and bicycles. In places like Copenhagen enormous numbers of people bike to work at little cost. Reed and Reed need to present the bridge as a link in a bicycle & pedestrian trails network as well as road network. Bicycles will be the next big commuting story in this country.

And again, it's easy to forget that walking IS transportation.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

When I was in Vancouver this August, the City was experimenting with dedicating an entire lane of bridge traffic to bicyclists. From what I could see, the lane was hugely popular, and reduced conflicts with pedestrians. in other words, their multi-use bridge path had already become obsolete due to a high level of demand. There is a strong biking contingent in this City - it's time for us to look into the future, and not draw on the status quo, for guidance on this issue.