Second Deck Proposed For Sundial Bridge: (*Note: APRIL FOOLS)


Plans are afoot to build a second deck on the iconic Sundial Bridge across the Sacramento River in Redding.

According to city of Redding officials, a second deck is needed to separate slow-moving strollers, casual dog-walkers and gawkers who clog the span from the cyclists, runners, in-line skaters and power walkers who only want to cross the river without slowing their pace.

“We’ve had several reports of cyclists having to slow way down when distracted sightseers nearly walked right in front of their bicycles,” said Terry Hanson, who oversees trail development for the city. “Earlier this week, a group of runners just about trampled an elderly woman’s corgi, which was too fat to make it all the way across the bridge. Really, it’s an unsafe situation.”

An artist’s rendering of the proposed changes to the Sundial Bridge.

The proposed second deck would be located above the existing deck and would have a minimum speed limit of 5 mph. Anyone caught going slower than the minimum could be cited by security officers. An asphalt surface is proposed to better accommodate cyclists, runners and fast walkers, all of whom have trouble negotiating the bridge’s slippery-when-wet glass deck. The asphalt surface would also shade the glass tiles of the existing deck, which have scorched the paws of so many dogs since the bridge opened in 2004 that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has openly discussed filing a lawsuit.

The second deck anchored by a huge pylon on the south side of the river appears to be an alternative solution to the bridge-use conflicts. Earlier this year, city officials and representatives of the McConnell Foundation – which funded most of the Sundial Bridge’s original design and construction and which would foot the bill for the second deck – contacted architect Santiago Calatrava about building a second span dedicated to serious exercisers. The second bridge would be a mirror image of the Sundial Bridge, with a pylon on the south side of the river near the Turtle Bay Exploration Park cafe. Calatrava reportedly said he wasn’t interested because “the sundial wouldn’t work” on the new bridge.

However, Calatrava gave A News Café a different reason for his lack of interest in a second bridge.

“It’s too, too hot there in the summertime,” Calatrava said when reached by phone at a ski lodge near Zermatt. “Not to boast, but now that I’m in demand around the world, I choose my jobs carefully. And I choose not to work where it’s 45 degrees in the shade.” (That’s 45 degrees Celsius, or about 113 Fahrenheit.)

Calatrava did say that a second cable-stayed deck above the existing bridge would not detract from his original, award-winning design. But he called the idea of an asphalt surface “insipid.”

“Only in America would they … ” he started to tell A News Café before his cell phone cut off.

There is some division in Redding City Hall over the best use of a second deck. Redding Councilman Patrick Jones said he would back the idea only if the additional deck carried automobiles.

“Getting cars across the bridge and up a new road through the arboretum would give us the second access to the convention center that we’ve needed for so long,” Jones explained. “We could finally empty the parking after Kool April Nites while it’s still April.”

However, Turtle Bay President and CEO Mike Warren and McConnell Foundation attorney John Mancasola, who was a key mover in getting the bridge built in the first place, both said that cars would ruin the Sundial Bridge experience.

“The whole point of the second deck is to accommodate runners like Mike, who right now are inconvenienced by inconsiderate tourists and mothers pushing baby strollers across the bridge,” Mancasola said.

When told of Mancasola and Warren’s concerns, Jones called Mancasola a “socialist” and questioned whether Turtle Bay has a right to exist under the constitution.

Uses of the second deck will need to be finalized, though, before engineers in the city’s Public Works Department can complete plans for the second deck, as a single Ford F250 weighs more than the entire Owens Healthcare Cycling Team.

The city council could take up the issue anytime after April 1.

* Editor’s note: This article appeared on April 1 2001 to celebrate April Fools Day. It is completely fictitious, based solely upon the imagination of journalist Paul Shigley. We hope you enjoyed reading it as much as he enjoyed writing it. The “artist’s rendering” was by cartoonist Phil Fountain.

shigley-mugshotPaul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and ain’t no fool. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment.

has been a professional journalist since 1987. For 12 years, he served as editor or senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a statewide trade publication for land use planners, real estate development professionals and attorneys. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers in Redding, Grass Valley, Napa and Calistoga. Shigley's work also has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Planning magazine, Governing magazine, California Law Week, National Speed Sport News and elsewhere. In addition, he is co-author of Guide to California Planning, a college text and reference book, and is currently working on a book for the American Planning Association about the Bay Delta and California water resources. A graduate of California State University, Sacramento, Shigley has contributed to A News Cafe since 2009. He and his wife, Dana, live in western Shasta County.
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18 Responses

  1. Avatar Christian Gardinier says:

    While any public funding of this Sundial project might be a concern worthy of discussion during this recession, the real concern I have is how far right-wingnuts like P. Jones have captured a slice of the political conciseness of Redding as evidenced by his long history of making comments as made in this article. Thank GOD Redding exists within the State of California, otherwise we would be completely overrun by the Mad Hatters of The Tea Party. Perhaps Jones is really concerned about a lower deck on the bridge because when putting on his George Washington Halloween costume to cross the Sacramento River while waving his sword of far right conservatism he might have to sit down in the boat to keep from bumping his noggin.

  2. Randall R. Smith Randall R. Smith says:

    Happy April Fool's Day Paul!

    Job well done. Happy Second Deck to you.

    • Avatar Diane Hepburn says:

      Thanks Randy. Paul had me believing the story, although I wondered why I hadn't heard about the trampled corgi.

  3. Avatar mineral cheryl says:

    As preposterous as this article sounded, you got me. Totally forgot about April Fools. How fun!! Thanks. Loved it.

  4. Avatar Dolores says:

    Oh that is toooo funny!

    You really had me going!

    Happy April Fools Day!

  5. Avatar Courtney says:

    Holy Crap – I was feeling totally outraged as I read this – thank goodness it is an April Fool's article. Very clever Monsieur Shigley.

  6. Avatar Badger says:

    Got me!

    Thanks for that… put's things in perspective!

  7. Avatar Steve Fischer says:

    I don't care what day it is – this is a good idea.

    However, we're in Redding, not LA, so the new deck needs to be wood plank. Let's put some of our local God-blessed loggers back to work! I see trees all around that we don't need, starting with those obtrusive redwoods (or whatever) where the new courthouse is supposed to go.

  8. Avatar JeffG says:

    Had me going until the Corgi

  9. Avatar Carla Jackson says:

    Good one, Paul!

  10. Avatar Jon Lewis says:

    Well played, Shig! Always enjoy a good dose of Poisson d'Avril

  11. Avatar Banjo Bil says:

    Oooohhhhh, you got me too! I was all ready to lam-baste the every name tha was named til I read… April 1st !!!

    I must be gettin' old, not to see this one comin'.

    You got me.

    Better watch yer back, podner! Nothing's worse than a belated April Fools Joke. even a day or week later. ha

  12. Avatar Larry says:

    I was on to it from the get-go…Does rank right up there with Seattle Ice Cream's new flavor, Savory Sardine (goes off shelves April 2nd).

  13. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Thanks for a good laugh! My truth filter kicked in at "the fat corgi". Great job!

  14. Avatar Ron Chiodo says:

    As a self appointed spokesperson for Paul Shigley, I can tell you that he surely would be deeply offended on reading this report. If he saw these remarks he would say that he has been misquoted. The second level will not require funding, as its use will be funded by smart meters. Individuals using the crossing will carry a light weight unit that will register payment when hit be the proposed light beam units at either end of the span, the development of which is almost complete. Volunteers continue to be sought with the assurance that anyone can survive one hit from the light beams. Sandwiches are provided to those that do not go into spasms and jump into the river. I've asked my wife to bring me a take out hot roast beef sandwich after her test trip. I'm confident that it will still be hot!

  15. Avatar Al says:

    I have found it to be more and more inconsiderate runners and bikers that are making the whole river trail dangerous for families with kids. Shouldn't the bridge be considered a crosswalk and bicyclist should dismount and walk as well as runners should also walk in a congested area? Bicyclist and runners can find plenty of other trails and roads that are just as nice where they can go fast.

  16. Tom O'Mara Tom O'Mara says:

    I think the second deck should have light rail, provided of course it goes 5 mph or less. . .

  17. Avatar Offgridguy says:

    Solar oven heated hot corgi dog dispensers on both levels please.