Preparing for an uncertain future
With the growing climate crisis and a pending major earthquake we don't know what the future will hold.
What we do know is that it will be different from today and something we need to anticipate and prepare for. The proposed Oak Grove-Lake Oswego Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge is an important contribution to that preparation.
As proposed the bridge would support bikers, walkers and emergency vehicles, all factors that will most certainly be key to that future.
Right now commuting to Portland by bike is difficult and dangerous. The proposed bridge offers a safe, flat option for bikers to reach the eastside and connect with MAX. Although some may say this is only a small group of people, the climate crisis is dictating that we rapidly move off fossil fuel which will require multiple transportation options. Encouraging biking is one of the best solutions we can offer. With the growing availability of electric bikes we could find that the interest in biking over this bridge could increase significantly.
What we also shouldn't lose sight of is that every increase in biking can also reduce traffic conges-
tion, something that benefits the rest of the community.
Additionally when the predicted Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake occurs the bridge gives us a viable option to connect with the rest of the metro area. With the possibility of landslides along Highway 43 between Portland and Lake Oswego this bridge maybe the most viable option for commuters in Portland to return home. The bridge could be our lifeline in and out of the community.
In many ways Lake Oswego can look like an island of exclusivity that some want to protect. The reality is that the future will require more inclusivity. We are already beginning to address that from a racial and equity perspective. We also need to recognize that inclusivity means
that we actively participate with our regional neighbors on the eastern side of the river to support each other as we move toward a new future.
Our children see the need for bold, innovative thinking. They are crying out for the rest of us to take action now to prepare for the changes that are coming. The Oak Grove-Lake Oswego Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge project is one of the things we can do now not only for ourselves but for future generations.
Duke Castle is a co-founder of the
Lake Oswego Sustainability Network.
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