Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bridge to Somewhere: Vision for Old Bay Bridge

How's this for a real estate listing: Great location, Bay views, easy access to on-ramp. Actually, you'd be living on a bridge, or under it, if some futuristic architects' vision ever takes shape.
Here's the back story. In 1989 a major earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay Area and put a big crack in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Fast forward to 2009 when the new bridge is taking shape — right next to the old bridge. It's really big, has really nice views, and, well, is kind of needing a purpose now that we've got a new one. So why not add some cool housing dangling below the freeway?
Well, we'll tell you why. It's impractical, expensive, and for goodness sake, would cost a fortune to retrofit, which is why we have a new bridge in the first place. But, it's not all whacky. After all, New York City just created the High Line park out of an unused elevated train platform. Florence and London both have built housing projects in unused bridges. And the California bridge is way bigger and way emptier.
The two local architects who have proposed parks and mixed-use housing they call the Bay Linehave inspired a conversation, says the blog Io9. After all, this won't be the first major piece of urban infrastructure scheduled to be demo'd where it could be given another life, and another use. Kudos to the planners for some major bridge building.

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