I grew up in Minneapolis. I moved to Los Angeles four years ago, but most of my high school friends and my entire family still live in the Twin Cities. So you can imagine my shock yesterday when the massive 35W Mississippi Bridge - a bridge I'd driven over thousands of times, a bridge which friends of mine drove every day to work - had collapsed into the Mississippi river.
After two hours of worried phone calls, text messages and emails (encumbered by the fact that the entire 612 area code cell network was jammed because of the incident), I learned that my family and friends were safe. Not to undercut the tragedy of those injured and killed in the accident - my heart goes out to any of my Minneapolis brethren who found loss in the tragedy.
With my immediate concerns abated, I turned to learning more about the accident. That's when I discovered the following:
This is a Google map of the traffic surround the bridge area about 1 hour after the accident, on the tail end of Minneapolis's rush hour. I found it curious that, despite the fact that an interstate bridge collapsed, traffic still isn't that bad. On Google's three-tier traffic rating system, there's still a lot of green, not that much yellow, and no red at all. Just a sad, grey stretch around the river where a certain highway is no longer drivable.
Then, just out of curiosity, I checked out the traffic map for Greater LA, which was just at the beginning of its rush hour.
Minneapolis: Even when our biggest freeway falls into the river, it's still better than driving in LA.
Maybe I'm a bad person for trying to find a lighter side in this tragedy.
Or maybe I should just pray a freeway never breaks in Los Angeles.
PS- The most upbeat (thought still dark) chatboard posts I've read on the tragic subject are as follows:
3) Either terrorism, or else some contractor is in for a heap of litigation.
2) Maybe now the light rail will get some more funding.
1) I bet we find a way to blame Bush for this.