Dallas's E.D. Problem: Nothing Several Tons of Steel Won't Fix

A bridge too far: Oh, now we get it. Silly Buzz. A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the city council's plan to spend $10.7 million—$3.5 million of it in your money—to get Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to design a cheaper fancy suspension bridge on Interstate 30 over the Trinity River. We intimated that was a bad idea, seeing how the city is, as Buzz's mother would say, "broke flatter than piss on a plate."

What we didn't realize then was how important it is to have a super-cool bicycle and pedestrian bridge, which is the latest plan. As Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan told the council last week, the trimmings are necessary to make the bridge "more memorable" and improve economic development.

Ah, yes. "Economic development." District 14 council member Angela Hunt makes a carefully crafted argument against overpriced bridges, but even she gets pwned as soon as someone says the words "economic development." They're like magic little pills, those words. Solving the city's E.D. problem (let's call it that for short) trumps all. Nothing short of a shot of Spanish architectural gadfly and a complex arrangement of steel trusses and cables will get us our flaccid economy back to the firm, throbbing state we desire.

Now, some of you may be wondering how a fancy bridge contributes more than, say, a plain bridge that gets you from point A to point B without wetting your feet. We don't really know, and Jordan wouldn't call us back to explain, but the council seemed assured that erecting this bridge would stimulate E.D. And it doesn't pay to overthink when you're struggling with E.D.

"This is Dallas," said council member Vonciel Jones Hill, who clearly has the "no thinking" thing down. "This is how we do things. We do it in a big way."

Added fellow council member Steve Salazar: "No one remembers the little things we do."

And no man wants to be remembered for little things. Especially a man with an E.D. problem.

We don't have the heart to tell him that no one is going to remember him regardless. In fact, let's all come up with a way to remember him that's better than a bridge. What if we all stop referring to potholes by that name and call them "Salazars" instead, as in: "God damn it, that's the third Salazar this block. I think I just cracked a tooth."

With all that money getting dumped into fancy foot bridges, chances are we'll remember him for a long, long time.

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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