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June 20, 2006

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Bridges, or DC's Lack Thereof

Pittsburgh does a lot of things wrong. The city's effectively bankrupt and nobody has any plans to fix it -- building a half-assed attempt at a mall in the middle of downtown, when the existing department stores are leaving probably isn't going to fix things.

But it does do one thing right: They build bridges. There are three rivers in the Pittsburgh area -- the Allegheny on the north and the Monongahela on the south, forming the Ohio on the west. If they followed DC's example the city would be crippled during rush hour. Fortunately the Yinzers were smart at one point.

First off, here's DC's setup.
Map of DC with bridges numbered
In order we have:

  1. I-495/Capital Beltway
  2. Glebe Rd.
  3. Key Bridge (US-29)
  4. I-66
  5. Arlington Bridge
  6. I-395
  7. Um, 11th St?
  8. I-295
  9. Wilson Bridge (offscreen) (I-95/I-495/Capital Beltway)

Not much, especially considering that two of those bridges connect parts of the city that could be accessed from Maryland by other means. Also, a lot of traffic goes between DC and NoVA, making that handful of bridges insufficient.

Now, I'm zoomed in pretty far (though one step farther out than the Pittsburgh map below). I'm missing a few bridges here. Way off to the west, past Leesburg, VA, there are small bridges for US-15 and US-340. From that point there are no more bridges until you're well into West Virginia. To the southeast, there's US-301. After that you're at the Chesapeake Bay. The next place you can get from Virginia to Maryland is over the Delmarva Peninsula. So let's be super-kind and call it 12 bridges.

Map of Pittsburgh with bridges numbered
Now remember, this is one step zoomed farther in. This covers less ground than the DC map.

  1. West End Bridge
  2. Fort Duquesne Bridge (I-279)
  3. 6th St. Bridge
  4. 7th St. Bridge
  5. 9th St. Bridge
  6. Crosstown Blvd. (I-579)
  7. 16th St. Bridge
  8. 31st St. Bridge
  9. 40th St. Bridge
  10. Fort Pitt Bridge (I-279)
  11. Smithfield St. Bridge
  12. Liberty Bridge
  13. 10th St. Bridge
  14. Birmingham Bridge
  15. Hot Metal Bridge
  16. Glenwood Bridge
  17. Homestead Grays Bridge

Not pictured, off to the northeast: The 62nd St. Bridge and the Highland Park Bridge. That's nineteen bridges in a much smaller space, just to get people moved around the various parts of the city. Not bad for a population that currently can't find their collective ass with both hands and a map.

I realize it's harder to build bridges acros the Potomac, since there are different states (or state-like things) on opposite ends of the bridge, but this is just ridiculous.

This page's URL is http://jasonfleshman.org

This page last updated Jul 19, 2019 3:34:19 PM.