Call it a rally, call it a protest, call it a demonstration. Whatever you'd like to call it, a planned gathering is scheduled for this Friday at a busy bridge overcrossing in San Mateo during the afternoon rush hour.
Standing in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street -- a loosely organized group of citizens unhappy with the economic ills of the country -- the Mid-Peninsula American Dream Council (MPADC) will call attention to a local issue: San Mateo County’s aging infrastructure, where they claim 74 bridges have been found to be structurally deficient.
The local Dream Council will stage a "Jobs Equal Safe Bridges Rally" from 4-5 p.m. on the heavily-traveled bridge, often a conduit for students from Aragon High School crossing to the south side of Highway 92.
The intent of the rally is to suggest that the country’s aging infrastructure is in desperate need of labor to provide necessary repairs and maintenance, and with many out of work, an emphasis on rebuilding infrastructure items like bridges would create jobs and help get the economy back on its feet.
According to the Dream Council, this particular bridge, built in 1963, has an average of 14,000 cars per day crossing over it. The Dream Council originally considered the bridge structurally deficifient, and chose the location for the rally based on that information. Subsequent to the announcement of the rally location, the Dream Council found that improvements were made to the deck following a 2008 inspection by CalTrans, and a subsequent inspection conducted in October 2010 removed the structurally deficient status. Police Chief Susan Manheimer and Assistant City Manager Matt Bronson confirmed the safety of the bridge for Patch.
MPADC describe themselves as "a local team of committed MoveOn members who organize in their community to build a base of active participants, develop leadership among MoveOn council members, and work in coordination with the national MoveOn Council network to win campaigns on issues that are important to MoveOn’s 5 million members."
Those who may be interested in attending are urged to visit the MPADC website and sign up.
So far, there have not been any specific Occupy Wall Street demonstrations on the Peninsula, but two local Facebook groups have been organized, one for the county, the other specific to Half Moon Bay. The Occupy Half Moon Bay group is planning a "meetup" outside their city hall on Oct. 22 at 12 noon.