September 4th, 2013

As you may have heard, as of yesterday, our new bridge is open! A mere 24 years after its predecessor collapsed in an earthquake, the half that failed has been replaced. And what, you ask, about the other half, the half that was, presumably, engineered in the same way as the part that fell down? Well, we’ve been assured that that side is OK. Only replacing half the bridge, we’re told, may be coincident with a lack of funds, but it’ll also be safe enough. It stayed up last time, after all.

The new half is spectacular, to be sure. It’s wide and open and so it lets you see how wondrously expansive the bay is. Driving on it, there’s a momentary sense of being far out into the remote reaches of the world, even though a couple of seconds later you’re smack in the middle of downtown San Francisco. It’s got a path for bikers and pedestrians too, which I’m guessing will give all the above feelings, magnified about a thousand times. The San Francisco bay is one of the world’s beautiful treasures and this new bridge shows it off very well.

But, that bike path leads only to Treasure Island. Rather than, finally, a way for bikers to access the city from the East Bay, we’ve been given a tourist adventure. We can now ride out to Treasure Island, where there are neither stores nor restaurants, enjoy the (truly) magnificent view, and then turn around and go back to where we came from. And I suppose it’ll continue this way until another earthquake comes around and knocks the old half down and then, 24 years after that, we can have the matched set.

Our new bridge, in conclusion, is beautiful and imperfect.

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