Monday, August 29, 2005

Next Stop, Selma Avenue at Bergen Belsen

When PAT moved to extend the East Busway across Braddock Avenue into Edgewood, residents of this affluent East End neighborhood took up arms. Edgewood residents wanted light rail, and justifiably so. Light rail in Pittsburgh is significantly cleaner, faster and smoother than any PAT bus, and today's Edgewood riders bouncing along the Busway with a seat spring up their ass would have happily waited for the upgrade. But Mike Seate, columnist for the Tribune Review, saw a more nefarious plot behind Edgewood's protests. Edgewood residents didn't want the East Busway's predominantly black ridership into the neighborhood, theorized Seate in 2002. Had he only waited, he would have seen what real transit-racism looks like.

Residents of posh, URA financed Summerset at Frick Park development are fighting ANY busses in their neighborhood, even if it is just an extention of the 61C. Summerset at Frick, which by design is completely insulated from the violent ghettos of Jewish grandmothers and CMU students in Squirrel Hill, wants nothing to do with being a real city neighborhood. The differences between the arguments against busses in Summerset and calls for light rail in Edgewood are starkly Black and White:

"Our children like to play in the streets, they'll get hit by busses full of black people," screamed a concerned mother. "And no one can answer to me what happens then when one of Them jumps out and offers to help?"

When PAT officials tried to show that public transit offers options to every member of society, residents were quick to respond. "One of the small pleasures in having a maid is driving past her as she walks home at night in a driving snow," offered E. Pritchard Gaul Esq., formerly of Wexford-upon-Thyne. The crowd nodded in agreement.

Mike Seate, who irresponsibly discounted Edgewood's demands for light rail, can finally bite into some real red meat. If there were ever a time to paint a racist as a racist, especially a racist living in a subdivision financed by millions of dollars of City funds, now is that time.

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