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The Lockean Project

“Bridge money”

Carmel Pine Cone – Feb. 23, 2024

Seaside’s City Council is proposing to spend an estimated $3.25 million on the San Pablo Pedestrian Bridge Project. Demolition of the existing bridge will only cost $88,000. However, $750,000 has already been approved towards the project, even though reconstruction of a new bridge has not been voted on yet. These figures tell you the direction the council is heading. Unfortunately, committing and spending dollars towards reconstruction before even holding a vote to decide whether reconstruction will happen will sway some residents to support the project when they otherwise might not have. Nobody wants to see dollars already spent go to waste. But why wasn’t the vote on reconstruction held BEFORE approving these funds? Is this a scrupulous practice?

Does a pedestrian bridge over one lane of traffic in each direction rank higher than other priorities of the city? Why would the bridge cost as much as four homes? Did the City Council evaluate the use of the existing bridge prior to its closure? A new bridge might see similar use. Residents who live near the bridge give mixed reports. Some report that the bridge was, indeed, used to some degree. Others report that it was used minimally, at best.

Safety is important! Are there safe alternatives to a pedestrian bridge? Why not utilize a crosswalk instead? During busy pick-up and drop-off times, a crossing guard can be used to ensure children make it safely to a nearby school. The City Council did not acknowledge this suggestion at the January meeting.

Chris Kramer, Seaside