To the editor:
Apparently the City Council has decided that the highest and best use of Bridge Square and the River Walk is as a carp fishing mecca. Our new slogan: Cows, Colleges and Carp! The council has ignored the public safety risk created by flying treble hooks. Patrons and staff at Froggy Bottoms River Pub have been hit with lures, evidenced by lures wrapped around railing. Our building has had new screens snagged and ripped by lures.
And the fisherman leave a mess. The city has neglected the west bank river walk, allowing it to deteriorate into a dirty walkway littered with fishing line, occasional fish guts and other refuse left by the fisherman.
The gaudy barriers on the Fourth Street bridge force bicycle riders to share the narrow lanes of traffic with trucks and cars. Closing the bridge would create traffic chaos, as it does every year when it is closed for the Defeat of Jesse James Days. As I recall from the bridge reconstruction, MNDOT has something to say about the use of the bridge, and I doubt the road gods would look kindly on closure. Fishing was historically banned from the Fourth Street bridge. The city had metal signs on the light posts prohibiting fishing from the bridge, until the bridge was reconstructed in the mid-1980s. The signs were not put back up, not because of a change in policy, but because no one bothered to order new signs.
The current plan for Bridge Square is the worst one in the dismal history of plans for the public square. The solution is simple: ban fishing from Second Street to Fifth Street, except for Ames Park. The construction of a weir below or north of the Second Street bridge would allow better access for the fisherman and protect pedestrians and patrons from flying treble hooks.