The cartoon world is no stranger to featuring all sorts of cars, in fact, some cartoon cars become so famous that they end up being created in the real world. Take the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine, or the 1985 Toyota Sprinter Trueno of In initial D fame for examples.
What is not as common is a real-life bridge being named after a cartoon character. But that is exactly what has happened in the make believe land of Portland, Oregon. The 'Ned Flanders' Crossing is now open to the public, and it's about as nerdy as the main man himself.
Ned Flanders is most famous for being the holiest of nerds, and neighbor to universal legend Homer Simpson of The Simpsons. Portland is an especially important location for the Simpsons cartoon series, as it is the city where creator Matt Groening grew up. The state of Oregon is also home to Springfield, on which the fictional and seriously dysfunctional town in the series is based.
Characters such as Reverend Lovejoy, the nefarious Mayor Quimby and Ned Flanders also share their names with streets in Portland. The Northwest carfree bridge, as it was previously known, now sports a plaque bearing Ned's face with his classic catchphrase, "Hi-diddly-ho neighborinos," proudly embossed in the center.
The pedestrian-friendly bridge is a 200-foot crossing over the I-405, and connects the Pearl District with Northwest Portland, but more importantly, it connects previously divided parts of NW Flanders Street, and has been referred to as Flanders Crossing for quite some time, so the renaming was inevitable.
We think that a nondescript pedestrian crossing in a safe part of Portland is the perfect tribute to a man who drove a Geo Metro, and one who would be blown away by the performance of a Toyota Prius. We can't wait for the Barney Gumble traffic circle, or Groundskeeper Willie Boulevard.