Tuesday, April 25, 2006

People flee! People vote with their feet! And the solutions are silly ones that don't work!

Another great report from the Allegheny Insitutue is out. This one concerns that magical topic -- population loss.

The city is shrinking. The county is shrinking. And, I don't see it getting any better.

All the redding up that Bob O'Connor is trying to do isn't going to help much. Redding up is a valued activity -- but -- the undertaker does a good job too when a dead body arrives and a new haircut, suit and layer of make-up is applied -- to redd up the corpse for its final viewing and eventual trip to the worms.

Redding up could mean a new coat of red lipstick for the funeral home as another flock bites the dust and departs.

Real solutions go way beyond 'redding up.' To reverse the flow is going to take serious efforts and those are the things that people want to see and get behind.
According to recently released estimates from the Census Bureau (census.gov/popest/eval-estimates/county/c8/county-2000c8.html), Allegheny County suffered a net loss of around 43,000 citizens to other counties and states between April 2000 and July 2005. During the same period, the surrounding counties of Butler, Washington and Westmoreland together added about 12,500 net domestic migrants. All other Southwest Pennsylvania counties showed net outflows of domestic migrants. Thus, even if all the net migration increases in Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties came from Allegheny County, it would mean that approximately 30,000 of Allegheny County’s net domestic outmigration left the region.
For example, putting wi-fi downtown in time for the All-Star Game is another example of fresh lipstick for all things that are 'deads-ville' here. The plan won't help. And, I contend that this is just another solution that HURTS the city in its hope of making a rebound.

The wi-fi plan for downtown is a crock of crap. The redd up efforts are ways to better sort the crap and put it into various crocks.

Another vivid example, the HOV Wabash Tunnel. This construction project was built with taxpayer money (mostly federal funds) and only 300 cars a day use it. The Wabash Tunnel is a crock-of-crap addition to our landscape that isn't helping one bit. We spent all the money -- and it didn't change the flow.

However, if the Wabash Tunnel was kept as a HOV lane -- and a bike/blade and pedestrian lane was put next to the HOV lane -- then we'd have something to brag about and use. More bikes would use the HOV lane than cars on any given day.

But, did City Council's Jim Motznik request that a bike lane be inserted within the Wabash Tunnel -- as I suggested at public comment weeks ago? I don't know, but I doubt it.

Do little leaders are going to lead Pittsburgh down the pathway we've been on --- outward migration.

North Catholic is leaving. Our Catholic Elem School, Bishop Leonard, is going to close and be merged into St. Mary's of The Mount. We already lost the Waldorf School from our neighborhood. Sure, it moved within the city, but why didn't a new school open there to join this school here? South Vo Tech is closed. Langley HS is at half of its capacity. CAPA, downtown's new high school for creative and performing arts, was built to serve the city and accept up to half of its students from the WPIAL schools, (i.e., beyond the city's borders). CAPA is lucky to get a dozen students from beyond the city -- as folks don't want to go to school here, don't want to live here and care less to be in a city that is full of so many miss-givings.

We've got problems. And, we've got people in leadership who are happy to let the problems linger while they hold onto their seats of power.

The King's Men are not up to the job at hand when it comes to this population decline. And the solutions we've come to expect from the King's Men don't help.

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