Thursday, November 19, 2009

Minto Bridge not the Only One Hung Up by Antiquated Laws

The Oregonian reports that the Portland Spirit wants more bridge clearance on the new Trimet light-rail and bike/ped bridge:
the Portland Spirit says it won't be high enough to guarantee passage. The Spirit's owners demand a higher bridge now to protect their cruise interests later.
According to the article there's not a problem now, but the cruise operator may add "a 10-foot-tall mast and 10-foot-tall wind turbines," which will require higher clearances.

Interestingly, according to the article, the legal framework that permits both the Willamette Queen and Portland Spirit challenges is apparently based in the The General Bridge Act of 1946. I always thought the problem was 19th century law - though the 1946 act may include vestigial 19th century components.

In any event, it's another example of the ways we are planning like it's 1950 instead of planning for 2050.

The article ends:
Climate change means a world of uncertain, erratic events, and TriMet and other large institutions are right to try to plan for it, says Bob Doppelt, director of the Climate Leadership Initiative at the University of Oregon.

"This historic planning for infrastructure really is no longer relevant for climate change -- that's the biggest issue," he says. "You've got to say look forward rather than backward and say, 'What are the most likely scenarios?' and plan for them."

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