Welcome to Pittsburgh (Part VIII)

A collection of thoughts and suggestions; this will be the last in the series, at least for a little while:

-- Pittsburgh's public transportation system , like the city as a whole, lacks a clear vision of what it is trying to be. (It also has one of the worst public agency websites in the region.) For example, if you're lucky enough to live near one of the T lines to the South Hills, service to Downtown is reasonably convenient (and you have the benefit of a huge new parking garage in Bethel Park!). If you're looking forward to expansion of the T to places where it might usefully go, however, you'll have a long, long wait.

-- Public recreation opportunities in the region are extraordinary: Hiking, boating, fishing, camping, even biking are out there, close by and cheap. If I go backpacking or canoeing, it's a lot easier for me to get to the trail or the river in Western PA than it ever was when I lived near San Francisco. Closer in, Pittsburgh is ringed by large public parks with lots to do. In the city, Schenley Park is a great resource, but some "ordinary" public amenities, like public pools, have suffered in the last few years because of the city's budget problems.

-- One of the first things that I wanted to do when I moved to Pittsburgh was tell other people to come, too. We have visitors, and when they come, one of the first things we show them is the view from Mt. Washington, which is spectacular, and best when it follows a ride up one of the inclines.

-- Unfortunately, one of the things that is all too clear from Mt. Washington is that Pittsburgh's air quality remains really low.

-- There are an awful lot of seniors in Pittsburgh. But the local senior population is not growing as fast as it is elsewhere.

-- Local politics and local economic development are obsessed with the next big thing, almost as much as they are obsessed with the last big thing. One result is the fiscal sinkhole that the city currently finds itself in. Instead of the year-to-year fiscal prudence appropriate to a small city that should have modest aspirations (call it "urban Moneyball"), we've borrowed from Peter to pay Paul, all the while chasing a variety of home run records. MagLev will save us! The Mon-Fayette Expressway will save us! A casino will save us! And coming soon: the major league All-Star game will save us! Right now, this house of metaphors is falling down around us, while the city's political and economic elite gather from time to time -- note: outdated-stereotype-with-a-ring-of-truth-ahead -- at the Duquesne Club.

-- Pittsburgh is proud of its homies! The local media will find a way to put a local spin, no matter how irrelevant, on any news story that comes over the wire. Pittsburghers do good all over the world. It's quaint at first, then amusing, and finally irritating. Here's one that the Post-Gazette missed: Pittsburgh produced Bill Lerach, the king of the class action securities fraud lawsuit, scourge of corporate malfeasors, protector of the little guy (or, depending on your perspective, the single greatest threat to free enterprise this side of the Democratic Party), who is now being investigated by the feds.

-- Western PA likes to look down on West Virginians (even when we shouldn't), and Clevelanders (resentment tinged with a touch of envy -- Cleveland is a bigger city). It likes to look up to religious authority (ditto).

-- It's usually warm in the summer (high 80s, with at least moderate humidity) and cool in the winter (mid-20s, with moderate but rarely heavy snow and ice). Nothing more than what I'd call "weather." If it stops raining in the Fall and Spring, then we get seasons that we call "Fall" and "Spring" and which are, at the appropriate moments, just beautiful.

Previous installments:

Welcome to Pittsburgh (Part VII)
Welcome to Pittsburgh (Part VI)
Welcome to Pittsburgh (Part V)
Welcome to Pittsburgh (Part IV)
Welcome to Pittsburgh (Part III)
Welcome to Pittsburgh (Part II)
Welcome to Pittsburgh (Part I)


0 Responses to "Welcome to Pittsburgh (Part VIII)"

Search Pittsblog

About Pittsblog

Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

Comments are moderated.
Subscribe to Pittsblog comments


Blog Archive

Header Background

Header background images licensed from (left image) lemonad and (right image) plaskota under Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike 2.0 Generic licenses.


Copyright 2003-2010 Michael J. Madison - WP Theme by Brian Gardner - Blogger Blog Templates, ThemeLib.com