Artistic Merits Of The Bay Bridge

As a commuter, the Bay Bridge can become something you barely even notice – except for the traffic delays as you scurry back and forth.

Yet if you slow down, our beloved “number two” bridge displays its artistic merits in spades.  Here’s a quickly-curated photography exhibit that reveals the elegance and moods of this work-a-day bridge.

Bay Bridge Alignment

“Alignment” – Our first photograph provides nice contrast between the man-made structures and well-lit sky above.  It almost looks like the bridge towers and skyscrapers were built in a formal alignment.

Bay Bridge Industrial

“Industrial” – This next image highlights the scale of the bridge, compared to the surrounding land.  We can marvel about the bridge’s construction in the 1930s, and understand why it takes billions to support infrastructure now.

Bay Bridge Peaceful

“Peaceful” – In this third photo, the bridge fits perfectly within the serene landscape.  It seems to be a welcomed icon when viewed from the San Francisco Embarcadero, right at water’s edge.

Bay Bridge Streaming

“Streaming” – Finally, this bridge of streaming light just screams at you.  The photographer creates the sensation that you are entering an alternate or virtual universe here.  What intensity!

So that concludes our quick photography exhibit of the Bay Bridge.  The next time you are trying to cool your heels in the maze or are crawling eastward through the second level dungeon, maybe you’ll pause and appreciate – rather than curse – this amazing bridge.

Public Works Not That Easy, Barack

We have heard hopeful pronouncements about WPA-like public works, as the right way to put America back to work.  President-elect Barack sounds great when he speaks about infrastructure projects like interstates, bridges, tunnels, you name it.  Sounds like a nice dream, right?

WPA Forging Ahead

Let the Bay Area’s brand of public works provide a cautionary note.  Despite our proud heritage of iconic bridges, we’re also known for infrastructure that didn’t quite work during the big quake.  Or infrastructure that’s not keeping up with population and traffic demands.  Decades pass, and we are needy and trying to rebuild these days.

The latest hiccups in completing the Bay Bridge retrofit or starting the Caldecott fourth bore are front-page news again.  While bridge construction is underway, a new longshoremen labor dispute holds the steel hostage – and each day adds another million to the project’s billions.  Meanwhile the tunnel boring is mostly financed and may begin sometime next year, after North Hills residents litigate and address some environmental concerns.

If these construction mega-projects serve as prime examples, then we must take a reality check.  Who’s responsible?  How do projects get financed?  How quickly do jobs appear from the ether?   There are years filled with planning, reviews, protests, bidding, construction, labor disputes, cost overages, delays – rinse and repeat.

We encounter the fallout every single day, whether commuting or running errands from our Montclair vahalla.  The  benefits of major infrastructure are worth the tribulations, and we eventually do see the light.  Yet the jobs created during construction, while welcome, are hardly an economic panacea.