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Mortal Sins Of Urban Planning

That stone thing crossing the river is one of the most famous historical constructions in Japan, immortalized in countless woodblock prints, haiku and works of literary genius.
That stone thing crossing the river is one of the most famous historical constructions in Japan, immortalized in countless woodblock prints, haiku and works of literary genius.

So, can you even believe this?

If someone came to Sister Jonelle’s Confessional and admitted that they’d OKed building a honkin’ big expressway right over the Nihonbashi Bridge, I’d pretty much tell them that it’s unlikely they’ll live long enough to say the number of Hail Marys necessary to atone for this grievous sin. Even Our Lady Of Rude Kustoms does not approve of this jaw-dropping example of urban planning failitude.

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Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

7 thoughts on “Mortal Sins Of Urban Planning Leave a comment

  1. Very strong in japan still to this day, the auto lobby is.

    Also my mortal enemy, the Olympics. This piece of urban monstrosity was built to relieve the traffic congestions of the coming 1964 Olympics, hence they didn’t have any other option than to use the airspace over the river. With one more year to plan they might have just covered the river entirely and made a normal highway of it, getting rid of both the bridge and the river, as has happened with most of Tokyo’s original rivers and canals.

    However, even Uncle Koizumi is a sworn enemy to this highway and he tried to push through several very expensive alternatives to it, like burying it under the river.

    I think the era of the private automobile and urban car is soon over, rising population, rising fuel costs, aging infrastructure etc. So the highway will be dismantled in due course, probably well within our lifetime.

    Until then it is a great chance to travel quickly by car across Tokyo and to get a glimpse into countless apartments and meeting room windows along the way. I serious ly doubt that the economic positives of having the highway covers even a fraction of maintenance costs.

    Interestingly Tokyo population has surged in the last decade while traffic has declined. Go figure.

    • Population surged and traffic declined? Now that’s a sign of excellent public transportation! Which Tokyo has, so tear down that monstrous freeway! I didn’t realize it had been slapped up to deal with 1964 Olympic traffic, but that makes total sense. It’s exactly the kind of thing politicians do, when their interests lie in coming up with a solution that requires no thought and puts money in the pockets of the construction industry. +_+ One quakes to imagine what similar awfulness will be implemented for 2020 AIEEEEE.

      • Don’t. Mention. The. Olympics. I get a headache just thinking about it… Did you know they were seriously considering bulldozing Yoyogi Park? Since the yen tanked with 25% in the last year they are also a “liiiitle” bit short on the budget side. Just a few dozen billions of yen. This will end like it always does.

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