It’s no secret that the Dawson Bridge needed a major facelift (see actual photo of bridge before renovations began below). And while most residents of Riverdale (and Forest Heights, on the east side of the North Saskatchewan River) have taken the inconvenience in stride, the negative impact of the bridge closure on others is palpable.
Not so for local software development manager Sean Ouimet, however. Sean’s lived in Riverdale for about six and a half months and during the summertime, he uses the Dawson Bridge often. The Unknown Studio spoke with Sean over email to sort out how the bridge closure has negatively impacted his life… if at all.
The Unknown Studio: First of all, do you typically use public transit, or do you drive?
Sean Ouimet: Public transit primarily.
TUS: In a typical week, how often did you use the Dawson Bridge?
SO: I mostly used to cross the Dawson Bridge for the odd lunch run. Some of my guests preferred to come and visit me via that route though they’ve since adjusted to using the Highlevel Bridge. In the season(s?) of non-winter I’ve often enjoyed biking or walking across the bridge quite often in the last few years, even before living in the area myself.
TUS: How has the Dawson Bridge closure affected your routine?
SO: Having the #1 bus not running through Riverdale every 15 minutes has changed how I plan my outings a little bit. The updated frequency of the 308 does help, but quite often it seems just that little bit out of sync with a connecting bus/LRT downtown resulting in a 20-25 minute wait for the next round. Instead I’ll often take the #2 (to or from Riverdale) as a backup, which is just a quick 5-7 minute walk from my home to the top of the stairs that are just east of Alex Taylor Road.
TUS: Have you witnessed a lot of drivers coming down Rowland Road, then U-turning because they didn’t see the signs?
SO: I did notice quite a few U-turners for quite a while after the bridge closed… though I’m usually not in a position to actually see the end-of-the-bridge all that much day-to-day. Perhaps we should organize a regular neighbourhood social event that consists of lawn chairs setup near the end of the bridge? I bet we could have a lot of fun waving a friendly smile to people as they begin to turn their cars around.
TUS: On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you to have the Dawson re-open? (you can decide which part of the scale denotes most excitement)
SO: I’ll go with a 7 out of 10 and not just because this is question number 7. While I’d love to have the the bridge open once the snow melts (to help ensure I burn off some extra winter weight,) it doesn’t overly impact my life on a day-to-day basis. Sure there are some minor inconveniences to my routine with the bridge being shut down, but life is far to short to fret about such things for long.
Next month, we’ll have more photos of the bridge renovation progress, and we might even talk to the city about their vision for a new bridge. I’m hoping this vision involves lasers and octopi.