Guth: Skeptical of bridge project
I encourage everyone to educate themselves (with a dose of skepticism) on the proposed new “preferred alternative” to the Castle Creek bridge (castlecreekbridge.com).
- Will not improve traffic — Mass transit continues to be massively prioritized, and regular traffic and commute times will not be improved (clear point in city’s presentation). Cemetery Lane traffic will need to come into town to head downvalley, potentially worsening traffic.
- Destruction of Marolt Open Space — Gridlock will now run through the pristine nature preserve rather than on its margin. Expensive “land bridge” still means traffic running through the center, ruining recreation and fauna experiences.
- No financial plan — Staff has very little idea of how much this project will cost us and where the money will come from, yet we’re spending millions on this advocacy campaign. Best guess is $236 million based on 15-year-old estimates.
- Significantly increased maintenance costs — The old bridge will become the city’s sole responsibility to maintain and replace over time, becoming the city’s most complex and expensive road/bridge asset, again needing replacement in 50 years, entirely on the city’s dime.
- Destruction of neighborhoods — The family friendly block between 7th and 8th on Main and Bleeker streets (which includes a lot of APCHA housing and my own home) will become an island surrounded by highways with the new Castle Creek Bridge extension blocking access to doors, driveways, access, and open space.
I believe that there are other, far less expensive and disruptive options worth exploring before taking this drastic step that will forever change our town’s character. Yes, the existing bridge needs replacement — let’s do it.
But, let’s also explore tweaking bus lanes, removing bottlenecks (on-demand pedestrian crossings, traffic lights, etc.), and other basic traffic-control measures before we embark on such a massive project.