The metropolitan area in which I reside was this year bestowed the dubious honour of having the most congested traffic in North America. I would venture to guess that having the mildest climate in Canada as well as one of the least developed rapid transit systems would be contributing factors.
An impressive bridge with large golden eagle statues adorning the entrances was constructed in 2009 over the river that splits the Metro Vancouver area into two sections. It joins a half dozen other bridges spanning the Fraser River. As seems to be the trend, it is a toll bridge and for an occasional user who hasn't registered with the system the charge is now $4.20. That would be one way. A return trip will leave the traveller poorer by $8.40. There is a saving if you register your vehicle and even more if you obtain a transponder for the system. To no one's surprise, except the developers of the bridge, toll revenues have been less than anticipated. People have changed their habits, perhaps even their residences or place of work to avoid this expense. After all, regular five day a week commuters are paying around $1,500 annually. It seems the bridge will require ongoing government subsidies for the next twenty- five years.
|Golden Ear Bridge Eagle #2 for the Golden Ear Bridge, Vancouver, B.C.,by: Bernie Jestrabek-Hart and assisted by: Pattie Young|
But, interesting as this is--while not surprising--what caught my attention in a recent radio interview was the information provided that the bridge was designed to have a hundred year lifespan. A hundred years! I assumed that transporter technology, a la Star Trek, would have taken over by then. Will people, long after you and I are departed from this planet, still be moving about in that most inefficient, expensive, polluting mode of transportation known as the car?
With this interview still in my recent memory banks, I watched a pseudo-documentary on television attempting to depict the effect on our world during the days, months and years after oil ran out. It wasn't a pretty picture. The shocking part was how unprepared governments and people were and how devastating the transition period was. Somehow, a hundred year prediction are blithely made in the face of obvious contradictory evidence yet little preparation seems to be made for a much more likelier reality occurring in the coming decades.