Fredericton — Since the start of September, Frederictonians have pretty unanimously been against the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge closure, as it impeded easy commuting to and from the north side for work.
The bridge is scheduled to reopen for commuting and leisure Saturday, Feb. 1. However, over the past couple of months, residents have begun to warm up to the closure and to spending more time with their vehicles and the public transportation system.
Owners of businesses around Prospect and Priestman have been ecstatic about the closing of the walking bridge. Jenny Forestall was all smiles talking about the increase in sales at The Great Canadian Bagel due to more people driving.
“It’s just so great seeing people in cars again driving to consume their favourite snacks. If it were up to me, the bridge would be closed indefinitely!” she exclaimed, while trying to haul two hungry customers apart who were fighting for the last “everything” bagel.
Local bartender Jerry Cantell was thrilled to have the time to drive his massive Nissan Murano around the city and check out new businesses.
“I’ve really enjoyed just getting in my car every day, blasting my tunes and giving even more gas money to the Irvings. It’s almost tradition at this point! I’m not even going to be using the bridge in February anyway — I might as well just keep this up!”
Starving university students have also grown fond of the idea of dipping a bit more into their parents’ credit cards to explore the wonders of driving to and from school. Kevin Backlund, a biochemistry sophomore, explained his dilemma with the reopening.
“It’s gotten to the point now where every time I start up my 1995 Ford Focus and I think the engine’s going to explode, my heart swoons a little bit. Who needs the walking bridge when I can wait 25 minutes to get on the Westmorland and another 10 to get across it?” he asked, sipping an $8 Starbucks coffee. “Might as well keep the bridge closed a little bit longer.”
A Facebook event has been created for a ribbon-cutting on Saturday, but almost no one has shown any interest whatsoever.
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs had this to say regarding the sudden hostility toward the reopening: “There’s just no pleasing you goddamn parasites, is there?!”