Did someone fall through Ypsi’s tridge on Friday night, and, if so, what should we learn from it?

I felt bad about disrupting the local drug trade, but, on Friday night, a bunch of friends and neighbors decided to take our pajama-clad offspring into Riverside Park, to look at the blue moon. While we didn’t encounter any illegal activity during our late evening walk, we did see something odd. While we were making our way along the bank of the river, looking up at the enormous moon, and swinging our lanterns, we saw an ambulance stop at the Cross Street entrance to the park. Two men left the ambulance, and made their way down to the tridge, carrying a stretcher. And, somewhat later, we saw silhouettes of what I suspect were the same men, leaving park with what appeared to be an injured person. While I was tempted to walk onto the tridge, after they’d left, and see if I could figure out what had happened, I did the responsible thing, and stayed the hell away, telling the curious kids around me that someone had likely just been stabbed by the sword-weilding skeletons that live beneath the Cross Street bridge. But, today, I went back, and found this.

So, now I’m wondering if perhaps one of the not so sturdy boards gave way on Friday night, and someone’s leg went through… Does anyone know?

Assuming that someone did go through, I wonder what, if anything, it’s likely to cost the City. As this took place after the park was closed, my guess is that, if a law suit is brought, the City will try to fight it, saying that the individual shouldn’t have been there to begin with. But I don’t suspect that the City would win. As everyone knows, there are a few places that have been weak for a while, and it was just a matter of time before one of the sagging planks gave in. And, sadly, I think we’re likely to see more of this kind of thing in the future, as our City leaders continue to eliminate the jobs of those who do things, like test and repair pedestrian bridges, in hopes of keeping expenses low for taxpayers (who, it would seem, see no value in shared infrastructure).

And, sadly, this isn’t new. Many of us have been worrying about the upkeep of Ypsi’s public infrastructure for some time now… Let’s just hope that next time, it’s not a car falling though a hole in one of our aging bridges, instead of just a leg.

And one last thing… At what point do we as a community begin to consider the possibility that the costs associated with cutting taxes might actually outweigh the initial savings that are gained?

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  1. Sue Melke
    Posted September 2, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Isnt there a scheduled labor day walk on the tridge?

  2. Eva
    Posted September 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I went for a walk on the Tridge about a week or two ago and noticed one of the planks felt loose as I stepped on it. I did think for a second it was going to cave in a break and I would fall through, but it didn’t. I meant to tell someone about it but was later distracted by some stranger happenings in the Frog Island parking lot. I wonder if this is the same plank or if there are several like it.

  3. L
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure I saw the Tridge like that the week before.

  4. Edward
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    How many people now to do we have working for our Public Works Department? If I’m not mistaken, it’s just a few. We continue to debate police and fire staffing, and, all the while, we lay Public Works employees off.

  5. Posted September 3, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Like I said in the post, I don’t know if these cones, which clearly mark a damaged portion of the tridge, have anything to do with the person I saw being taken away by ambulance on Friday night. I’m just thinking that there’s a possibility that the two things may be linked. Regardless, though, I think it’s probably worth our while to once again have a discussion on this topic. I’ve always been of the opinion that the long term costs to our community might dwarf the short term savings that come along with drastically reduced City services, and I’m afraid that this could be a very tangible demonstration of that. If someone did go though the tridge, and, if the City is found to be negligent, I suspect the costs incurred by the City will be significant.

  6. j
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I feel real bad about this. Earlier in the day I had walked through park and noticed a heavily damaged board on the Michigan Ave stairs and half a board out on the tridge, like some asshole had been going around the park breaking stuff on purpose. I made a mental note to figure out who to call about it, but never did.

    In case it’s not clear from the picture, the hole was big enough for a small child or dog to fall through, but small enough that an adult would likely just get a fucked up leg and face.

  7. Mark K
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Mark why don’t you start a community project and fix the tridge yourselves. Several years ago a group of people in my neighborhood decided they didn’t like the entrence to neighborhood park, it wasn’t very inviting, so they asked around and others felt the same. So they went to the proper people and asked if it could be changed. The answer they got, was it’s a great idea, but we don’t have the funds. This group, instead of complaining and writing about it, took the task and ran with, got donations, and volunteers, along with permission, and fixed the entrance. Thats what community means to me. You put something together, and I would be happy to come and make a donation of labor and funds to help out with this project. Holla!

  8. Depot Towner
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I think the DDA would be more than happy to fix the missing boards as the tridge is the connection between 2 business districts. I will make sure this gets on their agenda so they can look into it.

  9. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, park maintenance in general has suffered greatly in the last few years. DPW does not have the staffing or funds to keep it maintained, contrary to the promises made by certain members of City Council a few years ago. The tridge, I fear, is only going to get worse. Several planks have come up this year. The entire structure looks to be suffering from dry rot, and there is no way to “fix” dry rot, only cut it out and replace it. That actually looks like the same plank that came up on Friday of BeerFest, or at least very close to the same spot. It almost makes me wonder if damage was the real motive for making me close the tridge during Heritage Festival, rather than just a policing issue.

    It’s even more frustrating knowing that the city has collected at least $10k-$14k in “capitol improvement fees” from the major festivals, yet the park gets worse. There has been no capitol investment. That money is supposed to be earmarked for only such use, where is it going? The weeds are longer, graffiti is around more, and trash is a problem. The picnic shelter is almost always disgusting. Are those funds being used to fund what maintenance is being done? (which would mean we were lied to about the intent of the funds) I it just sitting in it’s earmarked account? Or is it really being funneled into the general fund? (which would also mean we were lied to about the intent for the funds) Maintaining the park in it’s current condition is not the same thing as capitol improvements. I think it’s high time we know what those funds are being used for.

    I go back and fourth on my feelings about DPW. Sometimes, I think they are doing the best they can. But conversations I’ve had with supervisors have made me want to tear my hair out. They have one supervisor who is especially nasty to festivals; he gave me endless problems and did the same for the beer festival. “Unprofessional” would be a nice way of describing his behavior, and he is supposed to be the DPW liaison to events. I have heard from other people with other events that he’s very helpful, but I have not had that experience at all.

    The week before the Heritage Festival, I was standing in the picnic pavilion surrounded by trash, used condoms, and the smell of urine, listening to DPW supervisors tell me and the new city manager how it was the DTCDC that caused problems in the park, and how much better things looked now. I laughed out loud an gestured to the trash surrounding us, asking for an explanation of this maintenance “improvement”, and asked for explanations of a few other outrageous statements and actions. I got a lot of stammering, backpedaling, ass covering and a couple of bold faced lies from the DPW supervisors in front of the new city manager.

    Every time I brought up and issue to DPW this year, especially if it concerned the totally unprofessional actions and words of supervisor and festival liaison Brad, the second thing he said, every time, was “Back when the CDC was in charge, they thought they could do anything down here they wanted” Well, if you mean clean up trash, cover graffiti, make repairs to electrical, and generally, you know, perform standard maintenance and upkeep that you don’t seem capable of, then yes, they did whatever they wanted. But really, it’s over three years since the DTCDC was (very questionably) removed from their park contract, so if you’re still trying to crutch your failings on that, it’s time to move on. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re still exercising a personal grudge against anyone ever associated with the DTCDC, including staff from the Michigan Brewer’s Guild, some of the car shows, and now Heritage Festival. Putting aside how unprofessional that behaivior is, it will wind up hurting the city as a whole if events leave because you can’t act like a professional.

    I really do hate to rag on Ypsi city workers. They do so much with so little. But there are still some questionable things being done in DPW, and with all the promises made in council just a few years ago, we deserve an explanation.

  10. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Mark K, cleaning up a park or even putting up a sign or structure in a park is a totally different thing than repairing a bridge structure. I believe whole heatedly in community action and involvement, but I’ll leave the bridge building to professionals, thank you very much. And we already contributed to that work, with our taxes and festival fees.

  11. Posted September 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Mark K, thank you for the libertarian, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” platitudes. What may sound good at the Ron Paul rally, though, doesn’t necessarily work in the real world. People shouldn’t be building their own highways, bridges and tunnels. As much as I know it irks you to hear this, that’s why we pay taxes. We contribute financially to do things collectively that we cannot do on our own. So, we pay our taxes, and we decide, through City government, what we’d like to do in order to improve our community. And, we decided at some point that we’d build a pedestrian bridge across the Huron River. So, when you say, essentially, “If you want a bridge so bad, why don’t you build one yourself,” I’d respond by saying, “We already did.” We may not have gone down and built it with out own hands, but the community rallied behind the idea and make it happen. That’s what happens in a civilization. You should look into it.

  12. Posted September 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I know this is not quit the place, but since were talking community development, and we lost our Ypsi-Arbor sign–I came across this on Craigslist

    I am selling my 12′ rooster which has been a landmark for many years south of Hudson on US127. The rooster will draw people into your business whether it is a gas station, truck stop, apple orchard, restaurant, chicken hatchery, or any other chicken related business. People by the bus load, car, or motorcycle, love to stop and take pictures of him and will go out of thier way to drive to your business. Many magazines and newspapers want to do a story on it and you will get the free publicity. Many, many, possibilities. I just lowered the price $5000 down from $10000. Serious inquiries only please.

  13. Posted September 3, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    There’s a pothole on the stretch of 94 that I use to get into town everyday.

    I guess instead of relying on the government (any of them) which I already pay to maintain the road, I should just spend MORE money in addition to the money I have already paid for them to maintain the road and get my neighbors to stupidly chip in as well.

    This is great for all the people who already pay to maintain the road yet drive on the road every day, who I can’t contact with my ingenious community pot hole maintenance project.

  14. dragon
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Back before the DTCDC started spraying “frog island”, that exact board was the perfect spot to watch the Smeet migration. Spent many an October evening drinking beer late into the night waiting for a sighting. Good times.

  15. Mark K
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    I get it. You guys just want to sit back and let the gov’t take care of you, look around, how’s that working for you. And for those of you who want to take this to the extreme of patching pot holes on the freeway, and building brigdes, you are correct thats best to left gov’t. But when it comes changing out a bunch of deck boards, even Liberals are able to handle the job. Maybe you guys can even let the gov’t wipe your asses for you, I’ve been by more then one occupy site and it smells like some of you are already are waiting for the gov’t to wipe you. Good luck with that.

  16. kjc
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Cognitive fail.

    On the up side, I never thought of the tridge as my deck before.

  17. Knox
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    He also believes, I’m sure, that we should all carry guns and police ourselves, homeschool our kids, and put out our own fires.

  18. kjc
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Of course mark had to run home and WRITE about it instead of changing that shit out. Lazy fucker.

  19. Eel
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    The man that fell through deserves much of the blame. He should have set his own broken leg. Ambulance are for socialists.

  20. The Real Real McCoy
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    If you want to see DPW show up promptly at a jobsite, take your tools down to the tridge and start fixing it yourself. You will never see them so organized as when they come shut your ass down…and of course do nothing to fix it once they force you to leave.

  21. anonymous
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I say we change our name to Freedom City, disband our police and fire departments, shut down our sewer systems, rip up our roads, sell our schools, close our hospital, and allow people to live truly free lives, like they would have in the idyllic biblical days.

  22. John Galt
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    It’s not any Ordinary hole. It’s a freedom portal.

  23. mark k
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    OK! I get it! You guys wont lift a finger to help yourselves. Your point has been been
    made clear. Didn’t mean for my suggestion to piss off so many of you. I was only trying to explain what was done in my neighborhood when we had a problem we wanted fixed, and it worked. I guess Community means different things, to different to people. I say if I can do for myself, then I do. And you people that live in the city believe if the gov’t can do something for you, let them and you’re happy with that. Got it! Let me know how that works for you, I know Detroit has been using that model for decades now and it hasn’t worked out for them, check it out the next time your in the D.

  24. Knox
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Government isn’t doing it for us. Government is us. Read a civics textbook.

  25. Dan
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    “City leaders continue to eliminate the jobs of those who do things, like test and repair pedestrian bridges, in hopes of keeping expenses low for taxpayers”

    Jobs arent being cut to “keep expenses low” they are being cut because the city has been horribly mismanaged for decades. They are not “keeping expenses low” they are keeping them extremely high and preventing them from becoming absurdly-ridiculously high.

  26. mark k
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    “Government is us.” So who is “us” exactly, have any names to go along with that, cause the people here made it clear, they aren’t fixing shit! I’m with anyone who wants to take on this project and fix the bridge, provided “we” have permission from…… either “us”, or the “gov’t” or whom ever that controls the bridge.

    Hell maybe it’s been fixed already by the “gov’t”. LOL! Please someone update this when they, err I mean “us” do get around to fixin the bridge. LOL!

  27. lorie
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m always interested in the rants of those “all things govt are bad” types.

    So, do tell, given your expertise Mark K and Dan – speciically, what is “High” in terms of cost in some sort of context – lets say per capita. So can you two, would you please define “high” cost in terms of per capita? and what is “low” per capita for city government expenditures.

  28. Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s easy to find fault with government, since, by definition it is beholden to taxpayers who demand transparency.

    Let’s privatize the parks and get the government, in this case a specific body within the Ypsilanti City government ( rather than an ambiguous and nameless entity).. Sell it to a private entity who can manage its affairs. After all, a “community owned” space would lead to the logical end of benign owned by a private entity.

    The owner or owners might fix the bridge. The owner might not. But theres little that the persons not directly involed could could do about it, even if they lived next door. ( We could force them to buy in, but that would be communist.)

    Before we talk about market solutions, lets look at rental properrties. I’ve had landlords that fix things, and landlords that don’t. Both types seem to have little trouble finding tenants. I would wager that the slumlords make more money in the end, a true incentive to NOT fix things. This, in itself, proves that private options are no panacea.

  29. mark k
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Lorie you go first, I’m not really an expert on this stuff. But I had you fooled. Again I only made a suggestion, didn’t mean to piss everyone off. Note to self: Don’t every suggest hard work to these people again, they don’t like that!

  30. mark k
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Pete read my suggestion again, nobody was forced to do anything. And Pete govt’s are like landlords in the same way you just described.

  31. Mr. X
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think there’s anyone here who would disagree with me when I say that our Department of Public Works should be both transparent and responsive. That wasn’t, however, what Mark K said. He said that we should do things for ourselves, like the rugged individual he imagines himself to be. He doesn’t believe that we should have public services, and that’s a completely different conversation. So, let’s try to move this conversation back into the realm of reality. Does anyone know what our DPW budget is, how many people they employ, and how they spend their days (i.e. what their job responsibilities are)? Before we start telling people to carry boards and nails with them when the cross the tridge, let’s first establish the facts.

  32. Dan
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink


    I am not an “all things govt is bad” person. I believe in public works and social safety nets. My issue with Ypsi is about it’s ridiculously high tax rate. High, to me, is the level of tax that a citizen has to pay that is significantly higher than the surrounding communities. It’s all about attracting business and residents. A business or family can move a mile in any direction from downtown ypsi and set up shop at a much lower tax burden. Increasing taxes even further does not help that, it makes it worse.

    Ypsi has been run so poorly for so long that it’s tax rates are already crazy. Continuing to throw more money at people that have proven to not be able to spend it wisely is not a prudent strategy.

  33. James Madison
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Such anti-democracy rants, by Mark K and others, are truly depressing to anyone who understands and values the tradition of self-government by the people, a notable achievement of the United States. These critics seem to fail to realize that attacking the legitimacy of government functions is basically attacking the legitimacy of democratic government. And democracy and republican government (and I’m talking here NOT about any political party) are the only means which human beings have EVER created which give all citizens the right to have a role in deciding how their society should be structured.

    It may be fashionable today to deride government and venerate the “free market,” as if government is always oppressive and the market is always liberating. But that’s nonsense.

    These days may, in the future, be known as “the last days of democracy and self-government in America,” as lots of folks uphold the values and goals of an elite of (some of) the superrich, which denounce all taxes as theft and all public regulation of the market as tyranny.

  34. Mark k
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    James I understand the role govt should play in our lives, the problem is they are fleecing us along the way. Many here feel the repairs have been paid for already with taxes, or fees, and they are mad. So am I. So you can either get different govt officials, or just keep giving them money. We have boat loads of services we as a community can’t survive without. Some areas of govt we wouldn’t even know it if they were gone. Lets stave those areas, and rebuild them with functionality, if we really need them. I don’t dislike govt, just insane to complain and not be willing to act. Bet if a handful of people showed up with tools and lumber, the city would of course would stop them, but might be shamed into doing their jobs. But I guess we’re just gonna wait, and wait……

  35. James Madison
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Mark k, what are the “area of govt we wouldn’t even know it if they were gone,” that you want to starve? What do you imagine these to be within the city of Ypsilanti? Your rant comes from a place of apparent ignorance of all matters fiscal.

  36. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Hey, we did have a good time Labor Day on the Ypsi Labor Day “Bridge” Walk, even crossing the “tridge” without incident. Here is a link to the Ypsi Courier story on the walk – http://www.heritage.com/articles/2012/09/04/ypsilanti_courier/news/doc50464d0c62e55768323580.txt

  37. Posted September 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    I think this is relevant.

    The Republican response to the first night of the Democratic National Convention.

    “On the first night of President Obama’s convention, not a single speaker uttered the words ‘Americans are better off than they were four years ago.’ Instead, there was a night full of tributes to government as the solution to every problem, even going as far as to say that ‘government is the only thing that we all belong to.’ But government belongs to the American people – not the other way around – and the American people will hold President Obama accountable for his record. Our country deserves real solutions and a plan to turn our economy around. Mitt Romney offers a clear alternative to President Obama’s record of disappointment and failure.” -Andrea Saul, Romney Spokesperson

  38. j
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Not that anyone seems to care, but as of Wednesday Morning both the tridge and Michigan Ave stairs are fixed.

  39. mark k
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the update J. I care, but I was alone when I suggested we step away from the keyboards and actually do something.

  40. Posted September 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    I am glad the repairs have been done. I said it during the tax debate but, there’s a difference between our tax rate being high and the actual amount of money being paid. Because our property values have gone down, We are paying less. A lot less. Some of the “lost” value was “bubble” so if your home was valued for tax purposes with an inflated value; it is time for an event to trigger revaluation. Refinance, appeal the value based on a current appraisal. Then consider whether the resulting reduction in revenue supports the City. Remember that the Headlee Ammendment then limits your taxes from rising, even if the value rises.

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