Sunday, September 22, 2013

From Brown to Blue on the Bay Bridge



The California legislature recently decided that the western span of the Bay Bridge, from San Francisco to Treasure Island, should be renamed for Willie Brown, Jr. The announcement of the honor has been mostly met with derision and horror by local residents who loathe the ancient powerbroker.



Driving east across the bridge today, the name change seemed apt. The western half of the span is dirty, rotting, and car-centric to an antiquarian degree, so naming it after the corrupt old politician Willie Brown, Jr. is a good unintentional joke.



Maybe the structure can be torn down soon and replaced with a new span like the eastern half. In a better world we would also sweep away the ossified local power structure headed by dinosaurs like Brown, Feinstein and Pelosi, who have done so much public harm over the years while personally enriching themselves.



The light, airy, new eastern span is a refreshing reminder that the world does change, sometimes for the better. Presently, we are at a stalling point, rather like the bike and pedestrian paths on the new bridge that don't connect to anywhere.

5 comments:

ChrisO said...

ha! I just read Season of the Witch by David Talbot, about the dark underbelly of SF in the 1970s and 80s. If you ever doubted how smarky W.B. is, the book will convince you! Let me know if you want to borrow it :)

Michael Strickland said...

Though I'm not sure I want to relive that period in San Francisco, sure, I'd love to borrow it.

AphotoAday said...

Personally, I think it is highly inappropriate to name public buildings, structures, and places after someone until long after their demise.

And I hate to throw cold water on such a "beautiful" bridge, but lets face it, the 20 year long battle between Willie and Jerry took the price tag from 1B to 6B. Never mind that the steel was processed in China. Never mind that the bolts are brittle. And never mind that the suspension span was totally unnecessary because big ships never have and never will use that particular shipping lane. Personally I don't think the tower and skewed cables look beautiful at all--just weird.

Michael Strickland said...

Way to spray the cold water, Donald, and I agree with you on all points, except for the tower and skewed cables which I like visually. Not crazy about the long line of white poles for lighting which just look clunky, but was happily surprised by the open feeling of the new span.

janinsanfran said...

Haven't crossed the new span yet. Will have to make a point of going there ... So glad Willie got the old bridge.