Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More bridge fairy tales

Last night I took part in a debate about the Blue Bridge, where suspicions were levelled at the city's engineers and our consultations, and confident projections of a fixed price refurbishment contract that has nothing to do with the practical estimates and the complexity of the project.

Those of us who have worked hard on the evolution of our transportation system to better support cycling and walking know that many of the "fixes" proposed by critics will not work.  The relationship between infrastructure and growth in participation is well documented, (and you'll find some material over at my Capital Bike and Walk site -

The critics appealed a few weeks ago to the CRD to delay consideration of Victoria's request for support of an application for gas tax funds available to local governments to assist in the construction of infrastructure projects that help to shift transportation choices to sustainable modes.  An appeal was made to consider also a refurbishment project, but one that essentially makes no provision for cyclists or pedestrians - they've found, as both myself and our engineering department have been saying, that the improvements they had proposed for cyclists have proven to be unworkable).

What is lacking on the bridge is space and separation from traffic.  Pretty signage and a non-slip surface just won't make any difference.  The funding application for the regional facility, by the way, is a continuation of the Galloping Goose and the in-progress E&N rail trail.  The new bridge provides an expanded shared use pathway more than double the width of the tight quarters that cyclists and pedestrians struggle to share on the rail bridge and generous on-road bike lanes on the road portion of the bridge for commuter cyclists. 

Those on road improvements, it should be noted, are not part of the funding application.  The regional commitment and the only eligible project element is the trail piece.  No trail = no money.  Trail improvements under the refurbishment plan stop at the bridge.  We continue to hear that our plans for the bridge are poorly thought out, but the critics campaigned for a "two lane trial" long before they asked any engineers whether it would work or not.

Here's what you get with a refurbished bridge:  30 more years of this:


  1. John I am sure you have a lot of valid points but your anger comes through which does not sound professional. It may help you to tone it down a bit, people will be more likely to listen.

  2. Thanks Jenny,

    I'll try and keep more to the point. There have been, however, some instances of deliberate fraud that are intolerable. The suggestions that Focus magazine's fictional writer has made that a criminal conspirary might be behind our bridge decision has crossed the line for me.

    We've been quite civil and cooperative with the critics, correcting mistaken or misleading information that they refuse to correct or acknowledge. I am at the point where I feel a need to fight fire with fire.