Oberstar Forum: Cost of Frugality

The Oberstar Forum on Transportation Policy and Technology: The Condition of Our Nation’s Transportation Infrastructure: Heading Toward a Crisis? was held this past Sunday and Monday. The CTS website advertises the public Monday session, but there was a double-secret, super private, unadvertised, invitation only session attended by the elites in the transportation community (i.e. I was invited). These private sessions are more interesting in that there is less speech-making and more discussion, though one can hardly say there was no speech making. In fact, I gave a talk on the Cost of Frugality, which I have posted.

The New I-35W Bridge

MnDOT unveiled plans for the new I-35W replacement bridge day before yesterday… Interstate 35W Bridge in Minneapolis, MN, The main distinction in alternatives seems to be which way the piers are oriented. I think the best you can say about it is that it is unimaginative, but probably better looking than what went before. One never can truly visualize the bridge until it is complete, but I am not optimistic. There are opportunities to do interesting things in the space along the water under the bridge, Sydney does some great things under highway bridges there. It is not clear if those opportunities will be taken, but that is something that can be done later.
Clearly MnDOT missed the boat on the opportunity to use airrights over the bridge for some positive good (in addition to avoiding snow removal and de-icing costs) which is too bad, but not surprising.
Nevertheless, I am amazed that if Aesthetics/Visual Quality amounted to 20% of points available for technical evaluation, that something so mediocre will be built though.