Two Visions of One Bridge in Mississippi

Bought the NY Times last night. I still wonder why I do that. When am I gonna read all of these sections? One story was about the division down on the Gulf coast over a new bridge to replace a four-lane structure between Ocean Springs and Biloxi. The chamber of commerce in the bigger Biloxi is pushing for an eight-lane super bridge, so that the many casino workers and condo owners can get to work without traffic jams. But the smaller town wants a four-lane bridge like before, to keep out throngs in their leafy neighborhood.

On the one side, a totally different view–the residents of the smaller town are talking bicycle lanes, trolley cars and a “New Urbanism” which supports pedestrian friendly, historically themed developments, mixing lower and middle class residents and emphasizing public transportation. It’s a great opportunity–the place is practically still a total wreck, with the hulks of buildings and debris littering like the hurricane was a week ago. Only the casinos were spared.

But Biloxi is pushing for condos and high-rises, and many scoff at the notion of bike paths and de-emphasis of the car culture. “People refer to what happened as a tragic opportunity,” said the President of the Chamber. The casino employed 15,000 before the hurricane. Now they are trying to interest the casinos in building housing for their workers. But first they have to decide on that bridge.