Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bridge to Opportunity

The Chronicle story on the planned 'Tolerance Bridge' for pedestrians over Buffalo Bayou near Montrose mentioned that the Mayor asked the Houston Arts Alliance to come up with a better name. It says they're taking suggestions through Jan 31st, but my email keeps bouncing back when I use their contact page. So I'm going to submit the idea here, and hope some of my readers can forward it to the right person.

Since Mayor White has often referred to Houston as a "City of Opportunity" which attracts diverse residents from all over the world, and my own blog has advocated "Open City of Opportunity" for our identity, my suggestion is "Bridge to Opportunity" (I think that sounds a little better than "Opportunity Bridge"). Of course, paths to opportunity are rarely straightforward, which fits well with the twist in the design.

Also playing off the impossible-looking twist in the bridge could be this famous quote somewhere on the bridge:
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." -Thomas Edison

All sorts of other potential inspirational quotes for the bridge can be found here.

Let me know what you think and feel free to make your own name suggestions in the comments.



At 10:51 PM, January 29, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


How about if we name the bridge after Bill Davenport's quote. We can call it the Glacial morass of bureaucratic fumbling and bumbling around Bridge!

Sorry if I am in a snarky mood, but Mr. Davenport's quote from the Chronicle story gave me a great belly laugh.


At 8:02 AM, January 30, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a nice thought, but regarding the cheesiness factor, it isn't much better than Tolerance Bridge.

At 8:49 PM, January 30, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Following Mike's lead, and given the 21st Century infatuation with cheezy slogans and names, why not simply name it the 'Bridge of Cheese'?

At 12:50 PM, January 31, 2009, Blogger Max Concrete said...

The bridge name should be a fun name with absolutely no political overtones/undertones or connotations. So forget about about tolerance bridge or opportunity bridge, or any name of a person.

It should convey the idea that Houston has recreation opportunities, and it would be good if the name is somewhat non-mainstream to create the right image for the young and hip crowd. Anything stodgy and politically correct = bad name. Alternative and somewhat extreme = good name.

It should be short and concise, preferably two syllables or less. I don't have any brilliant ideas at this moment, but some names consistent with these guidelines are


At 2:16 PM, January 31, 2009, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Yes, I imagine that whatever official name it gets, one of those - or something like it - will be the nickname everybody actually uses.

At 2:18 PM, January 31, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever the "official" name is, people in the neighborhood will likely make their own name up for the bridge. Happens all the time.

Maybe they should just call it the Buffalo Bayou Bridge. People might then call it "the BBB." The George Washington Bridge is "the GW Bridge" to New Yorkers.

And as far as names like "corkscrew" in an attempt to make it "hip"...well, all I can say is that any attempt to make the bridge "hip" will invariably have the opposite effect. Please don't try to make it "hip!"

Call it something like the Buffalo Bayou Bridge or the Montrose Pedestrian Bridge ("the MPD" or "the Ped").

At 2:19 PM, January 31, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hah...Tory and I were thinking same thing! Doesn't happen very often but when it's gospel! Hah, hah.

At 9:53 AM, February 01, 2009, Blogger Peter Wang said...

We need a bike / ped bridge from the Park to River Oaks, spanning the Bayou

At 1:22 PM, February 01, 2009, Blogger Max Concrete said...

Re: "Whatever the 'official' name is, people in the neighborhood will likely make their own name up for the bridge......any attempt to make the bridge "hip" will invariably have the opposite effect."

Good point. (I rarely post because I always am exposed as wrong!)

Give a bland, generic name such as the Buffalo Bayou Trail Bridge as you suggest, and then let the regulars come up with a name people will like and use.

At 10:48 AM, February 02, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thought Peter but I think River Oaks would fight that because they don't want bikers like you adding riffraff to their neighborhood.

You ever wonder why Memorial Park hasn't done more to take advantage of the north bank of the bayou for hiking and sightseeing? Look at what's on the south bank. People have influence.

At 10:57 AM, February 02, 2009, Blogger Peter Wang said...

Mike, we cycling riffraff are on their streets already in large numbers! You just continue west on W. Gray past Kirby, and voila! You're in River Oaks. I run all of my cycling safety classes through there.

Frankly, I'd be willing to put up with some strong security measures on a bridge to River Oaks, like a 24/7 camera that would feed into whatever command center the River Oaks police patrol uses.

At 1:32 PM, February 02, 2009, Blogger dguet said...

Peter said: "We need a bike / ped bridge from the Park to River Oaks, spanning the Bayou"

I have always wondered if anyone has pushed to increase the width of the Shepard span across the bayou to allow bike and foot traffic. The existing right of way is too narrow and dangerously close to traffic. Seems like it would be a relatively easy expansion of the span?

At 1:40 PM, February 02, 2009, Blogger Peter Wang said...


Thanks for spurring my memory. That exact concept has been raised. Dan Raine, the new bicyclist/pedestrian coordinator for the City mentioned a bike/ped "flyover" at Shepherd at the BikeHouston annual meeting recently.

Of course, knowing Houston, we'll probably hear of some ghastly crime someday... someone being thrown off of said flyover..


At 1:42 PM, February 02, 2009, Blogger Peter Wang said...

Back to the original bridge naming question... I think people are going to call it the Corkscrew, which will be affectionately be shortened to The Screw.



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