Just what would a bridge or underpass look like across First Avenue at Forest/Ridgewood?

Depending on whether one believes such a structure is feasible, it can look like everything from a hulking metal bridge with lots of stairs that kids will

  never climb to a repeat of the pedestrian underpass that joins together the Museum Campus in Chicago.

The trouble is that while everyone wants the safest possible route for students (and for regular old pedestrians and bicyclists, for that matter) across First Avenue, no one really knows what’s realistic.

Sure, there was a rendering of a bridge done about 10 years ago, but it never got past the most basic concept stage. No one really knows whether even that’s feasible.

The task of approaching the topic has been handed off to the Riverside Safe Environment Commission, which does not sit well with some ardent advocates of a bridge/underpass and who are convinced it is doable.

But, really, there are lots of questions surrounding this topic, from the length of approaches for a bridge to the possibility of constructing a tunnel (of who knows what width) in a flood plain and in an area where there are MWRD interceptor sewers present already.

It seems like a slam dunk, but it probably isn’t, and what Riverside needs to do to is get a real handle on whether this thing is even possible. And if it is possible, the solution better be in a form that Riversiders will wholeheartedly support, because they may be footing a good portion, if not all, of the bill for the construction of such a thing.

The Safe Environment Commission should embrace the work advocates have already done and include them in the process. But the feasibility study really ought to be conducted dispassionately and Riverside shouldn’t settle for just any solution.