Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lent: Giving Up Principles

Perhaps Soucheray's given up conservatism for Lent. He's now on board with the idea of the Minneapolis light-rail system.
Opponents of the Hiawatha Line might as well face the fact that billions and billions of dollars from now, light rail will make sense in the Twin Cities. It makes no sense now, even though Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin believes he has demonstrated its usefulness by taking his wife to the hospital by train a few weeks ago when she went into labor. He claims it was his wife's idea. Try that one at home, fellows. When the wife goes into labor, tell her you might as well take the train downtown to avoid parking and she can walk a few blocks.

Then again, maybe not.
I know behavior modification when I see it. The trains are fancied by Europhiles who actually believe that we can be like London and Paris when it comes to public transportation. Well, we can't, considering that London and Paris preceded Henry Ford by a thousand years or so. Those trains in London are a joy. They make sense. I can't imagine any other way of getting around the town.

It was also convenient of London and Paris not to develop in ways that included Burnsville and Woodbury.

Here? Here, we swallow hard and write the check to entertain the notions of spoiled adult children who believe the trains give a town a certain panache. Why, when the train crosses Lake Street in Minneapolis it is called "Midtown." Oh, please, that's Lake Street down there.

The whole idea reminds me of Arthur Dent, the Douglas Adams everyman from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (radio, album, book, and television series that is), asking the construction manager Mr. Prosser why his house must be knocked down... for a freeway.
Dent: Why has it got to be built?

Prosser: What do you mean, why has it got to be built? It's a bypass. You've got to build bypasses.

Is it to be more modern? To prepare for the huge swell of population that should be here in 10 years, 20 years, or 50 years? To become for fuel-efficient? To reduce traffic on the freeways and sidestreets? To help folks who need public transportation? To accomodate folks who like the concept of public transportation? To accomodate building contractors who need a city or state funded gig?

Why does the light-rail system have to be built?

I suspect Joe's on to something regarding social engineering... and I suspect I'm on to something regarding building contracts.

Perhaps for Lent I should give up asking questions.


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