July 13, 2024

Mailbag: Bridge is iconic,historic and useful | Letters

Van Buren Bridge: Bikes/pedestrians can be safe — and so can our wallets.

Accessibility: This year is the 30-year celebration of the establishment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with a lot of planned publicity.

In recognition of that, and the tragic traffic accidents that have occurred here in the last couple of years, the city should be adamant about taking a strong ethical stand for safety and inclusion, ensuring that the Van Buren Bridge continues to operate as safe passage for those for whom vehicular traffic is too competitive to negotiate.

Human-powered transport, inherently vulnerable on confined bridges alongside vehicles in terms of safety, noise and pollutants, would not be an issue if diverted to the Van Buren Bridge, which is flatter, with lower ramps. As an older person with limited bike skills, I would not cycle across a bridge with vehicular traffic, but would feel safe crossing on a bike/pedestrian-limited bridge.

Built and ready: We are fortunate to have a bridge ready-made when a number of other Oregon cities have had to build bridges for dedicated bike/pedestrian travel from scratch. The value of the Van Buren Bridge as a resource, besides the obvious (with great natural features on the east side), is that, as a truly unique historic icon, it can become a destination in itself.