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A bridge to 2012

Three countries, no cars. Just bikes, pedestrians and elegance for this bridge. How SmartPlanet! Happy New Year, from Mark Halper.

The Three Countries Bridge serenely spanning the Rhine at night. Photo from Taxiarchos228 via Wikimedia.

Today, Friday, Dec. 30, will almost certainly mark my last story this year on SmartPlanet because tomorrow is Saturday and someone once told me to "get a life."

I don't normally blog on Sunday either (see "get a life" rule, which I follow 97 percent of the time). Anyway, by then 2011 will be history.

Which brings me to the subject of today's ditty. It's simply a splendid picture of a bridge - that proverbial metaphor for change and the future, always appropriate at New Years (and birthdays).

But that's no ordinary bridge you see above. It's the Three Countries Bridge that links France and Germany across the Rhine near Basel, Switzerland. What bridge could be more apt for us in the SmartPlanet community of progressive global observers than one that spans a triplet of nations (I'm not sure it actually touches down in Switzerland, but its name sure is broad-minded and aspirational).

And get this: No cars. Only people and bicycles traverse its 813-foot length. "It is the world's longest single-span bridge dedicated exclusively to carrying pedestrians and cyclists," says Wikipedia. How CO2-light - another area of SmartPlanet interest.

Besides, from what I can see, the four-and-a-half-year-old La Passerrelle de Trois Pays (that's its French name; in German it's the Dreiländerbrücke) evokes intelligent and elegant design. Oh my gosh, more SmartPlanet themes!

Publishing the picture, from Wikimedia, is also a nod to the creative commons movement that allows us to freely pull photos from the likes of Wiki, Flickr and their kindred spirits in the new media world.

Enjoy the photo. Happy New Year, and thanks for all your mindshare and eyeballs in '11. And for the terrific comments that many of you have sent, ranging from insightful and informative to acerbically funny. Free speech is alive and well here on the Planet. Despite the implications of my opening sentence, it's a pleasure writing these posts - addictive even. Thanks also to SmartPlanet for giving me the space. Let's all get across the bridge now, to 2012. See you there sometime next week.--MH

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com