Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Bob Kerrey Bridge - intelligent environmental design

Yesterday afternoon, I was in Council Bluffs, Iowa with a few hours to kill. So, I started hiking the urban trail along the Missouri riverfront (in the tracks of Lewis and Clark), past the casinos and the riverfront developments and the old golf course, and then across the "Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge" spanning the river into downtown Omaha, Nebraska.

Opened in 2008, the pedestrian bridge is 3000 feet long, 15 feet wide, and reaches a height of 60 feet above the 25 foot deep Missouri River. The bridge and its walkway, cables, pylons and towers are lit at night with spot and LED lights, making it a visual focal point and urban renewal spark for both communities. There are 150 miles of recreation trails on both sides of the bridge.

This bridge permits you to commute by foot or bicycle between two major regional urban centers in two different states, to work, recreate or exercise. This is an example of intelligent practical environmental design. If you want people out of their cars and off their butts, you need to give them options.

BTW, I'm against earmarks. But, this bridge was the result of one of Sen. Kerrey's final acts before leaving office in 2000, a $19 million federal earmark for construction of the bridge.

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