Bridges are for the Birds

Better enjoy this view now because it's gonna be gone soon.

Better enjoy this view now because it’s gonna be gone soon.

It all started with a bridge. The drawbridge that connected Hilton Head to the mainland, brought many people to the island and many changes to the landscape. What is so infuriating about some of these changes, all in the name of “progress,” is that it totally disrespects everything. Let’s start with the people. People moved to Hilton Head because they perhaps fell in love with the 12 miles of beaches. Maybe the majestic oak trees, with their thick, long limbs made for sitting and climbing caught their attention. It could have been the vast wetlands that’s home to plants and animals (and my shoe) not just seen anywhere in the United States. What ever the reason people thought the island to be beautiful, they wanted to keep that beauty all to themselves. Know how I know? The signs that say, “Members Only,” the locked or manned gates that block many entrances to many communities, the astronomically high prices of land. Newcomers just moved off the native islanders and set up shop. Took the beachfront properties. Now working on the marsh front properties. Carved out roads through the forest. Built business complexes that are only occupied for a short while then deserted for a newer and more popular space (Oh gray fields, there are so many of you.) Build communities in places where the cows used to roam and charged $6 for visiting privileges… Anyway, I need to breath for a moment because my daddy says there is no sense in getting mad about it… The animals are disrespected because the constant building encroaches upon their forests, their wetlands, their beaches. People are feeding the birds Lay’s potato chips on the beach, making them more dependent. But the animals are ones who have to be destroyed when their population “gets out of hand.” The ecology has been destroyed. That circle of life has been disrupted because progress has been put on the fast track with little respect to anything or anyone else (Where are the Peta people for these poor creatures?) All of this occurred on Hilton Head as a result of the first bridge.

Then someone had the brilliant thought to divert all of the island traffic from the communities that were a bit too…um… native. They solved that problem by building the Cross Island Expressway that connects the north end directly to the south end gated communities. So all people had to do now was pay their toll, hop on the bypass, and dart on home. Easy peasy. People were impacted when easements were needed to secure the property and someone had to look at that eyesore. It certainly wasn’t the someones with plenty of money, though. Of course the wildlife took another hit as the bridge footings needed to be erected somewhere. It took me a while to get over my disgust for this so-called island improvement.

Now I’m mad all over again because the council powers that be have joined forces with that of neighboring Bluffton, conspiring to destroy Hilton Head all of the more with grandiose plans for a “flyover.” But why? Oh yes, some said that it would be a great way alleviate traffic. Really? My transportation planning experience compels me to say no sir and no ma’am. It does not work that way. The more roads, the more traffic because people will continue to build and build, bringing more potato chip bird feeders to the island. Ask Atlanta and their 7 lanes of parking lot highway. Then I saw this thing as I was exiting the island. Construction on the footings has already started and it’s pretty ugly. I just don’t get it. It seems that people are bent on destroying the beach, the marsh, the oaks – destroying the very things that attracted them to the island in the first place. Destroying the reason why they wanted Hilton Head for themselves. Gone will be that view from the mainland of the islands in the distance. Nope. When those oaks finally open up, we will have a breath taking view of a bridge.

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