Bridge Support | Letters | Chicago Reader

Bridge Support 

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Dear Sirs:

Your Neighborhood News article, "A Bridge Too Far" in the 1 September issue, is a little too one-sided. There's more than a few residents of the neighborhood who applaud the new footbridge. I'm one of them, and I live within a few hundred feet of the bridge.

This is a footbridge, not a car bridge. Imagine the uproar (and I probably would have joined in) if it were to carry automobile traffic. In a car, it's easy to drive a few blocks to cross the river. On foot or bicycle it can require a lot more effort and time to cross the river, if the only alternative you had was traffic bridges. Between Kimball and Pulaski there is only one traffic bridge: Central Park Avenue. With the addition of this bridge, there will be three pedestrian-only bridges between the same two major streets. Is this so unreasonable?

This bridge does provide a link between paths along the river. By no means is it a complete path, but this bridge will somewhat link the route of anyone attempting to navigate the city, without riding on the heavily trafficked streets.

The criticism that the project doesn't warrant the expense may not be warranted. The article quotes Luann Hamilton as saying the actual cost of the project will be $360,000. By contrast, what was the cost of rebuilding the bridge for traffic over Central Park Avenue several years ago? Considerably more, I would imagine.

The criticism that there is an existing bridge in Field Park doesn't hold up. If you use that bridge on a bicycle, you're either forced then to follow Foster Avenue (a busy street) or go far out of your way wending through side streets. The Field Park bridge is important because it links the major part of the open park with the Park District field house located south of the river, away from the park.

The criticism of cutting down trees needlessly also bears closer inspection. Most of the trees were "junk trees" growing wild, many small and stunted in their growth. This was more akin to weed removal than a lumbering operation.

The criticism that the tree removal allows one to "have a conversation with someone standing on the banks" is also hard to understand. If weed clearing fosters neighbors to talk to neighbors, is that such a bad thing?

I never attended any of the neighborhood meetings and I'm not a part of the city, nor construction crew. I applaud the city planners, the alderman, the mayor, and whoever encourages this kind of project in our city. I would like to see these paths encouraged.

Robert Kastigar

N. Central Park

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