Wednesday, 9.15.04: Bridge Begone
We live near a beautiful stream, a small tributary of Lake Ontario that empties into a long bay dug by an ice-age glacier. When the lake is already high and the water can't move fast enough, Irondequoit Creek floods. Much of the creek flows through Ellison Park or wild wetlands, but right here some geniuses decided to build townhouses and a shopping plaza.
Every time there's a flood, the Town-County-State promises us some kind of flood control. Then maybe a few greens squawk that the fish will be upset and the talks trail off.
Meanwhile Old Penfield Road is getting a new bridge. The old road parallels the new one. There are a few houses on the upper half and a big dolomite quarry, whose trucks exit to the new road uphill. So the lower half is wild. There used to be a quaint little one-lane bridge between this wildness and our overbuilt part of the valley. It was deemed unsafe, torn down, and now a big two-lane bridge is planned. It's totally unnecessary, unless the dolomite people lobbied to get a downhill route for their big trucks.
Anyway, as I surveyed the ruinous flood, I decided to write a letter to the editor of the Penfield Post. Here's what I said:
I'm a resident of Penfield's Panorama Plaza area, which was flooded yesterday. Flood control is promised but never materializes. The new bridge going up on Old Penfield Road will guarantee that no rethinking of the current landscape will ever be done. My suggestion: abandon the bridge plans and abandon the lower half of Old Penfield Road back to nature. There is no credible reason to install a two-lane bridge on that quiet old road. Instead, use the money to build up an earthen flood control embankment along the eastern side of Irondequoit Creek along this flood plain. Better a recreation area than more pavement, more flooding and more hardship.
Maybe the mayor will read it. Maybe our county legislator will read it. A new bridge is not progress. Returning a chunk of land to nature will be.