Bridges Should Open Now To Community

To The Reader’s Forum:

The request by the city not to use a perfectly functional pedestrian bridge across the Chadakoin (below the Washington Street Bridge) until its dedication at the end of June is, in short, an example of “hostile administration.” In the same vein as hostile architecture, which is designed to discourage use by certain people, the delayed opening (and recent barricading) of the two new pedestrian bridges across the river is, in my opinion, specifically intended to discourage walking by the residents of this currently dysfunctional city.

With the closure of the Main Street Bridge, pedestrians seeking access to Brooklyn Square (and the pharmacies, medical practices and other businesses therein) are being forced to cross on the Washington Street Bridge, the construction of which removes a major factor in the popularity of the former: It has nowhere for people to rest nor shade to protect us from the elements.

Like it or not, much of the population of downtown have trouble getting around. Those who do walk appreciate the presence of park benches and areas of shade on Main Street. Elements which are present in abundance in the Riverwalk system.

The potential for disturbing landscape work is specious at best, and a straw man argument at worst. The vast majority of Riverwalk users stick to the paths, benches and tables in existence, leaving the grassy areas untouched. Since the paths connecting the north side of the Riverwalk to Comedy Center Park and the bridges are now complete, there is no reason to keep at least one of the bridges closed.

The mayor can dedicate the bridges anytime, but they should be opened for public use immediately. The people living downtown need that access to their doctors and prescription medications.

John H. Harris