Wednesday, September 19, 2007

525,600 Minutes, less 960.

Pittsburgh commuters burn 16 hours of their annual allotted existence stuck in traffic. You might think that crawling dahn Route 51 with all the other drones, spending your QT with Jim & Randy (as opposed to QT with your wife, children, afternoon tryst with smack & Jack) is a cursed waste of time. Well, according to the Texas Transportation Institute, you should salute gray Pittsburgh while you sit at 51 and 88. Relative to other tahns, Pittsburghers got it good. Afterall, as the good people of Wexford will attest, 16 log-jammed hours on I-279 is a small price to pay to insulate your vanilla life from the inner-city blacks.

So why is our commute so great? Since 2000, Allegheny County has lost 60k potential commuters, while continually expanding a huge highway system that flings the urban footprint further afield. Trying to figure out why our bridges are collapsing, why the bus is late, and why our taxes are higher? Well, there's more infrastructure, and fewer of us to pay for it. An economist might even venture the phrase 'unsustainable,' but that just smacks of arrogance.

I toast our efficient traffic systems. Congestion will fall relative to population decline and ravenous expansion of highway and house in the hinterlands. I toast our future, a day when I-279 will be 13 lanes wide with a busway up the middle, and the last 12,500 Pittsburghers will have a 5 minute commute from Wexford. In short, I toast our tomorrow, which is today's Detroit.


Anonymous said...

Detroit??? I didn't know that we were a city playing host to a failing American industry....

Pittsburgh doesn't and will not suffer from the type of problems Detroit has.

Highland Ave. said...

Yeah, it's shrill. Had a bad morning.

If the city and county continue to hollow out, we face a very real possibility of seeing our city neighborhoods fail, taking with them the remnants of commercial districts around them. Southside might be booming, but everything south of there to the city limits is quietly slipping away. Detroit may be a stretch, but Pittsburgh could go the way of local failures like McKeesport, Altoona or Cleveland, OH. Each of these is just a smaller version of savaged Detroit.

Buy a house in Lawrenceville or 'Sliberty- Save a few gallons of oil, and our hometown.

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