Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In April 2012 the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Salem Rivercrossing will come out. It will evaluate three clusters of bridge alignments. In round figures the project looks to cost between 500 million and 1 billion dollars. There is at present no funding for a bridge.

It would be a large, highway style bridge, looking something like this:

Here's the official Rivercrossing FAQ.

All of the significant Breakfast Blog pieces on the bridge are tagged "Rivercrossing - Third Bridge" and can seen here.

Whether you think a bridge like this is necessary or a bad idea, it would be the largest infrastructure project in a generation here and therefore should receive exceptional levels of scrutiny.

Needless to say, many of us think it's a bad idea. Here's why:*

The Case Against the Highway and Bridge

Modeling and projections for future demand are wrong

  • Absolute trip counts are flat
  • Vmt/capita is down
  • Young people are getting fewer licenses and are driving less
  • Pricing is wrong: gas and energy costs will rise; carbon, congestion, vmt will likely be taxed
For health we should be encouraging active transportation, not passive driving
  • Obesity and diabetes are increasing (national and state reports, also nice summary here at The Atlantic)
In the face of terrible budget crises, we can't afford it

Because they are harmful, cities are taking out elevated highways, not building new ones
  • The onramp system will degrade highland neighborhood and harm historic properties
  • Privileging through-movement drastically harms internal connectivity and create barriers
* This will be updated from time to time as here and elsewhere more of this is discussed an analyzed.