Monday, May 25, 2009

Checked out New Mary Avenue Bridge

After months of watching the span go up over 280, I finally biked over to the new Mary Avenue Bridge between Sunnyvale and Cupertino over I-280 on Sunday morning, May 24, 2009. You access the bridge in Sunnyvale from the intersection of West Homestead Road & Mary Avenue or from Meteor Drive in Cupertino, CA. It's an uphill ride all the way there, so I knew it'd be slow going. Happily, that means the ride back was downhill. Which was nice. Since it was still early in the day, I went to the Mountain View Farmers market later in the morning.

Some information about the bridge.

Roadshow: New Bicycle Bridge over I-280 is Striking Span - San Jose Mercury News
Silicon Valley has a brand new landmark, one that promises to attract the attention of anyone motoring down Interstate 280 through Cupertino and Sunnyvale. The Mary Avenue pedestrian and bicycle bridge opens today, and while the large, white span held up by 44 cables is striking during the day, you should check it out at night. That's when it will really glow, with lights illuminating the 90-foot-tall, 325-foot-long structure that crosses 11 freeway lanes. Think mini-Bay Bridge.

...its construction is a case of the car culture losing to bicyclists, joggers and walkers in an era when the car was king and the region was on a massive freeway-building binge.

The cost was high. At $15 million, it's believed to be the most expensive span of its type in the South Bay. Sunnyvale opened two pedestrian bridges along Borregas Avenue over highways 101 and 237 last week for about the same price for both.

Studies indicate that 265,000 people will use the bridge each year, 175,000 of them cyclists. And best of all, 35,000 of those will be commuters opting to leave their cars, vans and SUVs in the garage.

By Gary Richards, 4-30-9, mrroadshow @ or 408-920-5335.

Bold Design on Mary Avenue Bridge between Sunnyvale and Cupertino is Turning Both Heads and Wheels - San Jose Mercury News
The bicycle-pedestrian bridge that almost didn't happen opened April 30 in Cupertino and was immediately hailed as both an iconic Silicon Valley structure and a bold statement about alternative transportation. The $14.8 million Mary Avenue Bicycle Footbridge, a white, steel cable-stay bridge spanning Interstate 280, connects the cities of Cupertino and Sunnyvale. It gives travelers a shorter route between De Anza College, Homestead High School, the Oaks Shopping Center and other destinations currently separated by the 11-lane highway.

The opening celebration brought together two cities, Caltrans, the Valley Transportation Authority, architects, engineers, residents and bicyclists. All of them played a role in taking the bridge from a pie-in-the-sky notion to a steel-engineered reality, even when it looked as if the project was doomed.

The plan all along was to create a striking bridge. All involved with the project knew building another overcrossing would work just as well. However, they wanted to make a statement with this bridge.

"Now that our bridge is open, other cities will see our bridge and be wowed by the design and not see bicycle and pedestrian architecture the same way we did 20 years ago," said Sandoval. "We can create a flair of beauty and functionality." Will Kempton, director of Caltrans, compared the bridge to the Sundial Bridge that spans the Sacramento River in Redding.

Bridge Facts

Cost: $14.8 million with 80 percent coming from VTA Measure A funds and outside grants. The city of Cupertino was the other major financial contributor and the city of Sunnyvale provided funds for the project.
Specifications: Span is approximately 440 feet long and 16.3 feet wide with 44 pre-cast concrete deck panels. The bridge has no center support. There are 44 German-engineered locked coil cable supports. Towers are 90 feet high and weigh approximately 57,000 pounds.
A feasibility study projected 265,000 people a year to use the bridge, 175,000 of them cyclists.

Construction: Work began Jan. 24, 2008 after nine years of planning. A topping off ceremony was held in November 2007.

Construction injuries: 0.

Landscaping: About12 acres of landscaping, native trees and bicycle trails with a public art plaza on the Meteor Drive entrance. The art by Tom Aidala features quails on boulders and a perched red-shouldered hawk.

By Matt Wilson, Cupertino Courier, 5-11-9

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Manufactured Outrage

I love today's word of the day at Urban Dictionary. This has been happening so much lately, I'm glad someone coined a word for it. The evening news programs are the masters, but other media outlets are just as bad.

Manufactured Outrage

A falsified righteous outrage at things that are basically unimportant and meaningless, frequently employed by politicians, political activists, or the media. Politicians and talking heads use it to garner support for their causes, to claim the moral high ground and to tar their opponents; the media often just uses it in a cynical bid to increase ratings.

Manufactured outrages of note include Nipplegate, the Monica Lewinski scandal, the 2009 tea partys, backmasked satanic lyrics, lapel pin controversies...

Just about any time you hear any politician, activist, or radio show host getting outraged about anything, really. The louder and angrier they get, the harder they're working at manufacturing it.

by Aquillion2 May 20, 2009


An invention of the mainstream media, aka MSM, intended to drum up outrage at a statement or situation. The key characteristics of manufactured outrage are: prior to the media's intervention, the vast majority of the general population had never heard of the statement or had never found the statement or situation to be objectionable in any way.

by Ellsworth Dec 18, 2006

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

President Obama's Deadweight Problem

Very clever animated cartoon. The reality is more like the GOP tugging on the rope while trying to pry President Obama's hands off the cliff.
clipped from


Bill Mitchell
 blog it