standing Letters

As I read the guest editorial in the Sunday, April 30 issue of The Sun (“Pedestrian bridge could make Route 1 safer”) about a pedestrian bridge solution to avoid deaths, I started with my usual cynical bias, which is that anybody can describe a problem but never propose a realistic solution.

I doubted my questions would be answered. First, is the proposed bridge feasible? The environmental permitting issue? Can the town afford it? How long will Route 1 have to be one lane and stress busy road travelers? Overall, does the cost/benefit ratio make sense?

Whoa, surprise after surprise, the answers are showing up as I read. I fast-forwarded to the author’s name. It’s Bryan Bentz.

Hey, I know this guy, he’s my friend. We worked at Analysis & Technology in North Stonington briefly. Back then I had no reason to work with him and only knew “that guy is freaking smart” from someone.

Years later I was on a long drive across the state and was listening to NPR radio. Who’s on there talking? Bryan Bentz. Besides having an MIT masters degree in artificial intelligence 30-some years ago when most people thought “AI” was a steak sauce, he’s also an expert on the history of the Boston Post Road!

I’m honored to be his friend. As an occasional, unpaid advisor to my recently formed nonprofit organization Climate Adaptation Solutions, Bryan’s deep insights into climate change reality are very welcome. In a nutshell, the difficult CAS mission is: If the Roman Senate made independent technical decisions like U.S. lawmakers (a non-technical profession) do, apparently assuming they are qualified as engineers and architects, Rome would be an insignificant blip in history. Instead, because of technical innovations (such as “cement”) designed by Roman project engineers, it became a 1.9 million-square-mile empire. The CAS mission is to convince America’s policymakers that CAS’s highly technical experts can rapidly facilitate the entire U.S. braintrust to create technology to offset growing severe weather impact cost. (Holland keeps land dry 20 feet below sea level).The U.S. budget, already in $31 trillion debt (we paid $475 billion interest in 2022), can’t afford the extra trillions fixing damage and lives displaced or lost waiting five or more decades for the world to stop carbon emissions.

I think if you could look in Bryan’s head, there could be several brains or a mega-brain. Pick a topic and he will either know enough to be an authority on it or it is not his interest. But, if he is interested in something, he does the work to understand everything about it before he offers an opinion.

His article sold me on the pedestrian project. I can picture all the steps from start to finish. It’s feasible, can be done quickly with a pre-fab structure, will make that part of Route 1 safer, and it is what I would pursue if I was part of Stonington town leadership.

Robert “Jaz” Jastremski


The writer is unaffiliated with any political party.

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