Minneapolis is famously known as the city of lakes, and while that may be true, we are also a city of bridges. I cross the Mississippi River four times each working day, and it is something I always enjoy doing…something that makes this place feel like home. My favorite bridge has become the Franklin because I pedal across it on my bicycle. And like so many, sometimes I stop and take a picture because what I see is so awe inspiring.
Bridges bring us together both in a literal and figurative sense. I remember when the I-35 Bridge collapsed. I had just begun my career at the post office, and when I heard one of our truck drivers say what had happened, I did not believe him. I did not think it was possible that an American freeway bridge could collapse. Obviously, I was wrong. It was interesting to watch the new I-35 bridge being constructed from the nearby Tenth Ave Bridge which is now closed itself for repair. In January of next year, the Third Avenue Bridge will also close. I am not looking forward to that project as it will inevitably cause my 2-ton to be stuck in traffic as I try to get packages and letters to the downtown post office.
The I-35 disaster teaches us what happens when we ignore problems below the surface, which brings me to our city’s more recent infamy. Ideally, police serve as a bridge of trust between the people and government. That already damaged trust collapsed when Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. It was, like so many other disasters, a tragedy waiting to happen.
The phrase ABOLISH THE POLICE makes for a good graffiti slogan, but when the City Council pours the concrete of what it actually means, I believe some of its more radical adherents will be disappointed…because we will still have cops. I don’t get too worked up about it anymore. They abolished crime a long time ago and we still have plenty of that. The Minneapolis Police Department must be reconstructed just like the I-35 Bridge.
Because, without bridges, we don’t have a city.