Not sure how you haven’t heard- but TransLink is back in New Westminster to talk about the Pattullo Bridge. Consultation meetings start this week, and go on for most of June. You really should think about attending one. Or more.
This got me thinking that it was this time last year that Pattullo Consultation Part 1 occurred. It was 13 months ago that I wrote this long Blog Post about how the Pattullo was showing signs of neglect. Short version: the Pattullo is an old steel structure, and like all old steel structures from the Eiffel Tower to my Honda, they will last nearly forever if properly maintained, but will turn to dust in a flash if neglected. In that post, I showed some pictures of the bridge, demonstrating that TransLink is leaning towards the dust-making approach to maintenance.
So it being a year on, I went by the Pattullo Bridge today to see if there was any sign of the alleged $3 Million a year TransLink once claimed they spent on maintaining the Pattullo. Just for fun, I tried, as best I could, to repeat the photos I took a year ago. So here are the before-and-after photos:
|No change here.|
|Pretty much the same rust|
|Paint continuing to peel|
|This catch basin still jammed, with some of the same debris!|
|I guess wheel-damaging potholes are a bigger priority than failing bridge structures|
|Admittedly, it looks like a couple of the more potentially tetanus-causing pillars had
their jagged metal sawed off, and a bit of new paint applied to them.
|It’s been a slow year for Plaque-taggers.|
|…and for those concerned, the plants in the trusswork are still doing fine!|
I took a few more pictures this time, just for the fun of it:
|There is still a healthy mix of rusted-through railings and pillars, even if a few have been painted.|
|Along with new potholes, this one demonstrating what happens when a catchbasin
is blocked for too long, and the water needs somewhere to go.
The point I want to make here is not that the bridge is rusty and unsafe; it is certainly rusty, but TransLink assures us it is safe (but ominously won’t be for long). The point is that TransLink is, for whatever reason, still failing to do the maintenance that might keep it safe.
The Pattullo is an historic structure, the most iconic structure on New Westminster’s skyline for 75 years. It is every bit as historically significant as its contemporaries at the First Narrows of Burrard Inlet and Sydney Harbour. Allowing this historic structure and vital transportation link to degrade to its current state is shameful, and an irresponsible way to manage public infrastructure. It is time to fix it.
That is the position I am taking into TransLink’s consultations, one that can be summed up in two words: “Fix it”
Fix it: We don’t want or need a new bridge, or a wider bridge, or more bridge or the bridge to be moved or removed. The bridge serves a purpose, and can continue to for the next generation, but it needs to be fixed.
Fix it: The bridge is iconic, historic, and an important part of the heritage of the City and the region. It must be preserved, protected, and celebrated.
Fix it: The bridge can serve its users by replacing the sidewalk with a lighter, wider structure (similar to the approach on the Queensborough), and by reducing the driving lanes to 3 with a central counter-flow, much like the Lions Gate.
Fix it: The bridge suffers (like most of TransLink’s infrastructure) from a profound lack of funding for a transportation authority in a rapidly-growing region. The funding model for TransLink needs to be fixed.
Fix it: Transit in Surrey is woefully underdeveloped and underfunded, forcing residents to be overly dependant on this bridge to get places. The region’s transportation options are broken – fix it!
Fix it: yes, TransLink has provided us a compelling list of the current bridge’s problems, but they have not talked about how they will fix them. Time to get started.
C’mon TransLink, we are all in the same camp here. Let’s agree on a plan, let’s lobby the senior governments to get you the funds you need, and let’s fix the damn bridge.