Over the weekend, the pedestrian bridge in Allegheny Commons Park was demolished as expected. Everyone who uses the park was aware of its demise if not of the city's decision to hasten it. The bridge has been closed since the late 20th century due to instability.
It's always tempting to bemoan the decision to put things off, as things always get more expensive with passing time. If the bridge had been repaired in 2000 instead of left to become more unstable, it might have been an affordable fix.
Now, with finances even tighter and no plan for a new bridge, it's easy to believe it could be another 15 years looking like the photo above... or forever.
The span was designed to tie the parts of the Commons together. It's not the biggest issue we have on the North Side and not even the biggest issue we have in the park, but it is one more reminder of what happens when the losses of smaller amenities are explained away in terms of what we can afford.
We can afford so many things. We DO afford so many things. The design of a park -- one that provided for people to enter it and move through it without having to leave it to get to the other side -- is one of those subtle features of urban life that we forget how much we used to appreciate.
That link is now severed and all that's lost is a little piece of charm. That's all. Something historic and charming, a small delight.
Gone. That's all.
Photos by Paul Nawrocki