Victoria and Vancouver are both contemplating changes to historic landmark bridges.
The 80+ year old Johnson Street Bridge, depicted in the photo below, was designed by Joseph Strauss, who later went on to design the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Victoria is looking to replace the Johnson Street and Vancouver is contemplating adding a bike lane to the Burrard Street Bridge (see below).
Each city council has approached it differently, and each is reaping different results.
Vancouver’s Burrard Street Bridge:
Vancouver announced their intent to run a six month pilot two months before it was due to start, and indicated that a comprehensive evaluation and public engagement plan would be key elements for keeping Council and the public informed over the course of the trial. Their public engagement plan included Twitter, Facebook, an updated website and blog, as well as print and radio ads.
There was significant opposition to the trial from motorists when it first began, but that has died down.
Victoria’s Johnson Street Bridge:
Contrast that with Victoria. There was little outcry when Council initially announced its decision to replace the Johnson Street Bridge. But as word got out, a small group of concerned citizens began asking tough questions. This morphed into a dedicated website and blog, a local media blitz, Facebook and Twitter messages, a letter to Mayor Fortin and Council, as well as emails and conversations with some Victoria councillors.
It’s beginning to generate considerable support locally. Given the viral nature of the campaign, it might well catch on with bridge enthusiasts worldwide. You can view their website here. They present some very compelling arguments for taking a sober second look.
Two bridges – two cities – two approaches:
Vancouver opted to spend the time upfront ensuring citizens were informed and involved. Victoria didn’t and I suspect because of that it will have to spend much more time at the back end, reacting to citizen concerns.
Are you following either of these issues? I’d be very interested in your comments.