I just had to respond to StarPhoenix columnist Les MacPherson’s piece on the upcoming repairs to the University Bridge. So I sent this letter to the editor:
As Les MacPherson is lamenting the necessary repairs to the University bridge, he not only mis-counted the number of lanes on Sid Buckwold bridge, he failed to mention other pertinent details.
At its peak, Sid Buckwold bridge traffic volume was over 50,000 vehicles per day. Since South Circle Drive bridge opened, volume has dropped 30%, and volume on Broadway bridge by 15%. That covers more than half the volume of University bridge. Even before South Circle opened, volume on Sid Buckwold typically drops by more than 50% in the summer, when the repairs are planned. That covers the remaining University Bridge volume.
When Sid Buckwold bridge opened in 1966, Saskatoon Transit was providing over 8 million rides per year to a city population of about 100,000 or 80 rides per capita annually with a fleet of 40 buses.
Today Saskatoon Transit does about 10 million rides annually to a population in excess of 250,000. Less than 40 rides per capita annually with a fleet four times as large.
During the repairs, the one available lane on University bridge should alternate east and west direction and be restricted to Saskatoon Transit and emergency vehicles only. This would prevent a massive re-routing of almost every single transit route that crosses the river and provide a much more efficient means of moving large numbers of people.
Les’ “water through a straw” analogy is also flawed. Water cannot change its route, carpool, ride a bike, walk, or take the bus. Water cannot choose.