A (Beautiful) Monument to Waste

Mary Avenue Bridge

Mary Avenue Bridge

We need bike/pedestrian bridges over freeways, that’s for sure. But I snapped a chain when I saw 14.8 million taxpayer dollars are being spent on the Mary Avenue bridge over interstate 280. That’s the sum listed on the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition website

I smell profligate waste, the kind we hear about in the news as “porkbarrel” spending, bridges to nowhere, etc.  Just look at the bridge. It’s going to win all kinds of awards for design to be sure, at our expense. How much did we pay the architect?

I have puzzled over this bridge to nowhere for a long time. You see, only 0.4 miles away there’s Stelling Road crossing interstate 280, with a bike lane no less. Go look at Google maps, drag that little man to the overpass and what do you see? Two people riding bikes. Traffic is light to moderate. There’s more of a case for a pedestrian bridge serving Homestead High School, although students to the south of 280 could ride bikes to school. It’s only a little more than a mile.

As cyclists we need to pick our battles. We don’t get much porkbarrel money thrown our way. In 2001 some people spoke out against the bridge, but they were ignored. At least they tried.

Well, the horse is out of the barn. We have our Golden Gate Bridge for bikes. Now let’s use it, at least once. The bridge dedication is April 30.

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