Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Emotion and economics

One thing we know for sure is taxi fares are going up.

The other thing that may still be up for grabs is the Traffic Bridge. With the delay on this decision the newest Councillor will be sworn into office and then have to jump into a critical decision with little or no background information. You can bet the candidates are being vetted by the various groups now as to their position on the future of the bridge.

In today's SP (Nov. 23/10) Councillor Clark said a "pseudo replica" and a compromise risks leaving the city with a characterless bridge. He stated "If it's not authentic, people won't buy it." If 60% to 70% of the original steel needs to be replaced and rebuilt, how original would the bridge be?

Personally speaking, a replica will satisfy both my nostalgic need and make economic sense.


  1. One of the recommendations that would have been given to Council from some of the heritage advocates would be to build a replica to the exact design specifications of the original - incorporating as much of the original material as possible. The recommendation before Council in two weeks does not call for that, it is a "pseudo replica".

    Having talked with Clark after the meeting, I believe this is what he was alluding to - but I could be wrong.

    It's unfortunate that the Mayor denied a deferral of this agenda item when suggested by Lorje - it was quite obvious to everyone in attendance that the taxi debate was going to be a long one. This same council as deferred items in a similar manner on previous occasions in the recent past.

    Hats off to those waiting for the bridge debate for sticking it out to 11pm.

  2. "Personally speaking, a replica will satisfy both my nostalgic need and make economic sense. "

    But what the city is proposing is not even a replica. Painted red and missing a third of the structural features of the original is not a replica - it's a cheap knock-off.

  3. Clark has stated that he wants to maintain the bridge as much as possible as a way to transfering its use for pedestrians and cyclists exclusively.

    In other words, get the bridge so that it can support its own weight without worrying about carrying a traffic load, and he'll get his wish.

    I'm sure this would be convenient for the foot traffic from Nutana, while the rest of the city can go straight to hell.

    I'd dismiss Clark as a fool if his ideas didn't pose a menacing threat to the city. We need to have that bridge in use as both an secondary outlet for traffic during peak hours but also as a safety measure that could act as an alternate route for emergencies.

    Which is also why we require a north bridge sometime in the near future -- so that there is another route across the river when Circle Dr. North is clogged up.

    Not surprisingly, Clark is against this initiative also.

  4. The Engineers report specifically states that the reccomendation before council will have a "marginal" impact on traffic in the city. No traffic on the bridge will have a "small" impact on traffic overall.

    The Mistress should just rename this blog "Charlie-haters anonymous". Get a grip!

  5. This lunch hour's accident on the Broadway bridge should serve as a reminder of the importance the Traffic bridge plays in ushering traffic in and out of downtown.

    Over the noon hour there was an accident on the bridge and traffic in both directions was halted.

    I can buy the argument that we can 'survive' without the Traffic bridge at times, however, when we lose another bridge the problems become escalated. With city reports saying that both the Broadway and University bridges will need significant work in the next 20 years. When those bridges do require work (think Sid Buckwold this summer) the downtown will once again be at a deadlock (and probably worse with a growing population and work force downtown).

    Anyone with a sense of reality realizes that converting the Traffic bridge to pedestrian traffic only (while great in Fantasy Land) is a terrible idea. It frustrates the existing infrastructure and puts the bridge traffic at survivable levels best case scenario.

    As for reports of other bridges that were converted successfully to pedestrian bridges only in revitalization efforts, notice one common theme.....they are all in warm weather locales where they are utilized year round by foot traffic. While some would use the pedestrian bridge in winter, the idea that it will be a cultural link to the downtown year round is asinine.

    Please citizens of Nutana boot Clark off council next election.

  6. Maybe they can bring the Mistress back. She did such wonderful things for Nutana I am surprised they let her go.

  7. I highly doubt the Mistress will run again, or would you Mistress?

    I didn't always agree with her, and I still don't always agree with her, but always appreciated here willingness to listen.

  8. This is not about hating Charlie Clark. He's a nice guy, treats people well and I can assume he's a decent individual. However, the policies he advocates are often foolish and sometimes detrimental to the well-being of the city.

    He is not above criticism, especially because he's an elected official.

    Start your own blog if you don't like it.

  9. Anon 1:31 ......sarcasm from 1:10!

    There is a reason the Mistress is no longer a city councillor. The people did not like the job she did and elected someone else in 2006. Then the people choose to acclaim that same person in 2009.

    There is no fear of Elaine ever winning a council seat in this city. She knows that and will never run again.

  10. Clark is right that a modern steel-truss bridge will be a "pseudo replica" and not come close to being the historical equivalent of the current traffic bridge. In trying to please everyone, council will please no one at all.

    Of the three proposals, a boring modern bridge is the best solution: it is by far the cheapest and offers the most features (3.7m vehicle lanes, 1.5m bike lanes/shoulders, 3m pedestrian walkways on each side of the bridge). A steel truss bridge lacks the 1.5m bike lane/shoulder and costs more money build and maintain.

    That said, none of the proposals are ideal. It is too expensive and risky to rehabilitate the current bridge. The modern steel truss bridge is ugly, lacks a shoulder/bike lanes, and is costly. And a modern concrete bridge is boring. However, as long as we get of the current chunk of rust, I will be happy -- we should endeavour to preserve history, but the current bridge is simply too far gone at this point.

  11. "Then the people choose to acclaim that same person in 2009."

    How the people choose to acclaim someone? Nobody had a say or vote in acclimation. Or are you implying that no one running is a vote of confidence? If that is the case, god we acclaimed in a few bad councillors last election (Charlie wasn't the only one)

  12. Do we really need to retain a 4th bridge heading downtown? It would be better use of funds to direct those millions to a north bridge. Along with the completion of the south bridge, that would greatly help in alleviating our traffic problem. Many of the people using Idylwyld (Buckwold), Broadway and University bridges aren't heading to a downtown location but have to go though this bottleneck to get where they are going.

    Tear down the old and re-envision Saskatoon as a 21st century city. If the heritage crew want to save the Traffic Bridge, let them raise the money themselves and leave us taxpayers alone.

  13. Thank goodness the respective 'historians' of old Saskatoon and Riversdale didn't get their way back in the early 1900s.

    If they wanted to preserve the history of the old ferry and not build some modern fancy bridge to join the towns we may never have gotten bridges in the city in the first place. We must crystallize life in one specific era, regardless of cost, safety and maintenance.

  14. Well said Anon 8:01

  15. building bridges and/or roads is not a long term solution to traffic problems - one only has to look at every other major centre in North Am. to understand that.

    Vancouver hasn't built a new bridge in quite sometime, yet has actually seen an improvement in traffic over the past 15 years. Why, a focus on mass transit.


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