Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Notes on I-35W Bridge Rebuilding

Hi folks! I had the good fortune to attend a community meeting tonight (Wednesday), in which residents from Marcy-Holmes, St. Anthony, and the University area (as well as a St Paul contingent) got to discuss their concerns regarding the I-35W bridge reconstruction efforts with a host of elected officials and MNDot representatives. Overall, it was a good meeting. The panel of politicians & engineers were clearly interested in getting active community feedback about the reconstruction process.

And feedback they got! The one clearly overwhelming concern that the community expressed was that the reconstruction effort should not go too fast. There are a lot of factors to take into account, and if the state moves too quickly on the issue we risk making lasting mistakes.

The underlying difficulty in discussing bridge reconstruction is that it is essentially two discussions. The first is a micro-level discussion regarding the specifics of the new bridge: how big will it be? how many lanes will it have? will it be pretty? The second question, however, is macro-level in scope: how will the bridge fit into the overall regional transportation needs? will the bridge accommodate mass transit? what's going to happen to the regional commute as the population grows?

Residents in the neighborhoods immediately north (and south) of the bridge have been disproportionately affected by the bridge collapse. Traffic inbound to the city has been rerouted through neighborhood streets. As a city planner pointed out in the meeting, 140,000 drivers who used to take the bridge are now spilling onto neighborhood arteries to get around.

One resident suggested that park-and-ride lots could effectively deal with much of the increased road volume. It's not a bad idea--why not stick as many park-and-ride lots around the city as possible? If it works for the state fair, maybe it'll work for downtown-bound traffic...?


Blogger Generalissimo said...

Was this a one-shot meeting? Will there be a focus group that revisits the decision makers as the project progresses?

7:59 AM  
Blogger Generalissimo said...

After any tragedy, politicians hold meetings. What often lacks is follow up with the community. Are you guys electing leaders to keep everyone informed? Any such organizing efforts in the works?

8:06 AM  

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