The New York Times put the Erie, PA controversy surrounding the McBride Viaduct on it's front page, March 12, 2018. Supporters of keeping the bridge are troubled by Mayor Joe Schember's hasty reversal of his agreement to permit a Public Hearing about the Viaduct, and his aggressive adoption of the misguided plan by traffic engineers: demolish the Viaduct and force impoverished residents to walk and bike along the 4-lane arterial highway, Rt. 290 - the "Bayfront Connector."
Reporter Michael Kimmelman, in his story "In Erie, One City Block is a Trek of Disrespect" notes that the fate of the McBride Viaduct "has focused a particular spotlight on Erie's legacy of disenfranchisement and its troubled race relations." He commented that "City Hall is perceived by many black residents as an enclave of white privilege" and reported that of 173 police officers, only eight are minorities. City Hall's policy of "demolition by neglect" has not curtailed the use of the bridge over the railroad that was described by one resident as "the safest, shortest route."
If the Viaduct is demolished, another parking lot will be created and residents will be forced to a longer, louder, unhealthier and more dangerous path along a four-lane arterial highway. Kimmelman interview NAACP chapter president Gary Horton who said "The viaduct doesn't seem important to people in City Hall. But for people looking to get ahead... it's about hope."
The issues surrounded the Viaduct are layered and complex, but for ErieCPR Vice-President, it is simple - "it's about the kids." He says that "older people with cars don't need the bridge" but that the community must rally together and "save the bridge" for the children - "for our future".