Thursday, August 2, 2007
Minneapolis Bridge Collapse: Could it happen here?
I was inspired to post this by Streetsblog, which linked to the NYT coverage of the Minneapolis bridge collapse and posted a "related" link to the Gowanus Expressway page.
All of the ongoing and onerous construction work on the Gowanus Expressway (hereafter, "Gowanus") are temporary fixes. Basically, we're applying tens of millions of dollars in band-aids to this scar that runs through South Brooklyn. Structurally, the Gowanus has deteriorated to the point where the entire structure MUST be replaced in the near future. (Don't take my word for it; go check out that Gowanus link, which feeds to a DOT page.)
It's not out of the question that we could face a similar catastrophe here due to the state of the Gowanus, and for that we should remain concerned.
The larger question for us is, what will we replace this monstrosity with? Another monstrosity, even larger, or with an additional elevated viaduct? Or a tunnel, which would allow the Gowanus as we know it to be torn down, reuniting neighborhoods rent asunder and providing the space for parkland, affordable housing that isn't built on toxic waste or in flood plains, and a beautification of the South Brooklyn landscape?
Certainly, the tunnel will not be cheap. But considering all the positives of a tunnel, including neighborhood values, health concerns, job creation, and lower future maintenance costs, a tunnel is the clear choice for Brooklyn.
Be sure to let the DOT know that when we replace the Gowanus Expressway, we need to do it the right way: with a tunnel. Let's correct this historic injustice once and for all.