There, I said it. And I stand by it, despite the barrage of verbal grenades that the urban core hipsters might see fit to lob in my direction. And they’re entitled to their opinion. But they’re wrong. Because this project is destined to be a $100 million failure.
Look, I LOVE public transportation. I think it’s a vital cog in any real-life big city. But this isn’t real public transportation. This is a slow, hulking nuisance that will serve to shuttle people for a two mile stretch of Main, and, when the novelty wears off (which won’t take long, I promise), it will become a chariot of the down-trodden and indigent. The floor will become sticky with urine and fortified wine and young jackasses will etch their gang name (“TEDDY WAS HURR”) into the body of car while only nobody who cares is looking.
This project—which will be initially heralded as a SHINING BEACON OF PROGRESS!—will ultimately collapse into egregious states of disrepair and, as time marches on, become a cautionary tale of poor civic decision.
See, we already have something that goes up and down Main at very frequent intervals, dropping people off in front of whatever business they wish to frequent. It’s called the Max, it’s a bus, it comes roughly every 10 minutes and it’s quite affordable. You know who mostly doesn’t take the bus? A lot of people who swear that they’ll ride the streetcar every chance they get, that’s who.
I take the bus. Twice a day, usually. I live downtown, I work near the Plaza and I don’t own a car. And after riding the bus in this city for the past three years, I’ve learned that there just aren’t many people like me on the bus: 30-something, middle-class white guys who have someplace to be. Amongst the pee-pants wearing derelicts, the afternoon drunks and the assorted non-English speaking manual laborers, I’m a rarity. A lot of people—especially those whose buy-in will be needed to make the streetcar a success—won’t take the bus because they DON’T want to rub thighs with someone who reeks of Wild Irish Rose and stale vomit.
And I get that. It’s not for everyone.
And the streetcar? Where anyone can ride FOR FREE?
It will become a haven for the worst of the bunch, the most odiferous, olfactory assaulting ladies and gents in our fine town. And after an initial ride—WHEEE! WE WENT TO HARRY’S AND THEN TO THE TRAIN STATION!—people will sit back and remember that one time they had the big-city adventure on the neat-o streetcar. And they’ll never come back. Because the streetcar will be dirty and gross and smell like hobo wine-farts within six months.
Look, I know I sound bitter, and like a total shitheel elitist, and to be fair, I probably am. But I also fancy myself a realist. I would loveloveLOVE something in the public transportation arena that would motivate more people to consider mass transit. But a two-mile stretch of streetcar isn’t a solution, it’s a novelty. A very expensive novelty, at that.
So enjoy your streetcar while it’s shiny and new, 700 people who voted to approve this ridiculous expenditure; your desire for unnecessary items is a true demonstration of democracy in action.
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