15 November 2004

Daily Cal opposes Foothill Bridge

Proposed Foothill Bridge, looking east

The university’s application for a major encroachment permit to build the Foothill Bridge is coming before the City Council again on 7 December.

While the Residence Hall Assembly has been loudly cheering the bridge as a necessity, The Daily Californian came out with an editorial opposing construction of the bridge.

Here is the complete text.
Don’t Build Bridge

Friday, November 12, 2004

While the proposal to construct a bridge joining the La Loma residence hall to main Foothill buildings is an admirable attempt to extend accessibility for people with disabilities, it is a waste of resources that could end up causing more problems than it solves.

The Foothill Bridge would run above Hearst Avenue and connect northern La Loma to Hillside, the central Foothill complex. The bridge could reduce jaywalking and make it more convenient for residents to reach the dining commons. La Loma would be more accessible to those with disabilities, who cannot currently live there—they have to traverse a half-mile uphill path to reach the dining commons. The bridge, in the original blueprints for the housing project, is slated to cost $1 to $1.5 million.

Despite the potential benefits of the bridge, proponents ignore the fact that most students with disabilities can be accommodated by Units 1, 2 and 3. Bowles Hall has no handicapped-accessible facilities either, but this hasn’t been an issue—the university has not had trouble accommodating students who need such considerations.

On top of the extraneous nature of the project, the bridge would not solve the problem it professes to address. City council member Dona Spring, who uses a wheelchair, is against the plan because students would have to use a key to access an elevator to reach the bridge—this could prove very difficult for some with disabilities.

Building such a bridge has neighbors living uphill from Foothill concerned, because the construction would ruin many of their views and reduce property values.

If the university is bent upon bettering housing complexes for the benefit of Berkeley students, this construction project is not the way to do so. While we appreciate the university’s good intentions, we believe the bridge is unnecessary and its negative effects far outweigh the potential convenience for La Loma residents.


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