Ok. You’ve been warned. Here we go…
So, I have already mentioned my frustrations with the whole transportation study debacle. But I wanted to digress for a bit on some of the more subtle issues that feed into the greater thing we call: stupid.
Virginia Beach has partaken in multiple “studies” to determine how to solve their ever-worsening transportation problems. It’s gridlock in so many places around the city, that it’s really easier to name the locations where there ISN’T gridlock, particularly during the hours of 7:00 AM to 9:30 AM, 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM, M-F, or the hours of 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.
Did you read that? Go back and read those hours again. I’m serious.
As it turns out, those studies were done in 1980, 1996, 2000, and 2004. There were others done as well, which feed into those, but those are the major milestone studies which fed so many families of paid consultants and agency employees. Yes. They were paid well. And in return we received briefings, slideshows, brochures, and piles and piles of paper. Money goes in, and “solution recommendations” come out. But no solutions ever get built. Sure, a few roads have been widened over the years (don’t even ask how long those took to complete). But they were done well after the urgency demanded it. So the end result is already insufficient.
It’s easy to blame the consultants and agencies, but… and this might shock some folks… the real blame is the people who live in, and vote in, Virginia Beach.
That’s right. When the non-binding referendum was put in front of Virginia Beach “citizens”, they roundly killed it (54 to 46 percent). So, who are these citizen/voters? This is where my digression progression begins…
Virginia Beach consists of a diverse population in many respects. But a major component of the population are retired folks. Many are retired military (mostly Navy and Marine), but some are retired vacationers who fell in love with our parking tickets, insane ordinance laws, and inept city council, so they decided to poke their eyes out and buy a condo or house and stay here. After all, you can’t enjoy the same parking tickets as much when you only visit once a year.
The public meeting held at Princess Anne High School by the VDOT and HRT folks (brown-nosed to death by the city council folks of course) was a real eye-opener. The audience was 99 percent over the age of 70. Most of them look as if they rarely drive a car, let alone leave their house/condo. I doubt if even one percent of them HAVE to drive on the roads during morning or evening rush hours. I doubt if one percent of them have driven on I-264 or I-64 in the past five years actually. Yet these are the folks showing up for the meetings and vote.
Every single time the HRT guy said the words “light rail” all their heads started shaking in resentment. Almost like a slow-motion Parkinson’s tremor, but tempered with anti-depressants. Ironic, huh. Yet these are the folks voting on transportation issues which they are not impacted by and will not benefit from except in VERY rare cases.
So, who’s fault is it then? Sure, the old farts are being narcissistic and short-sighted, but the working class folks are not speaking up! They stand around Starbucks, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and Target and bitch up a storm about how bad traffic is, and how long it takes to get from their house to the kids school, or soccer practice, or the store, or whatever. In the grand scheme of things, they’re being true Americans of the 21st century: Bitch like we mean it, but ultimately do NOTHING at all, but sit on our asses and watch Who’s Got Talent. If you could containerize that bitching, and release it into a turbine generator, our energy problems would be solved. Imagine that: “Bitch Powered” Great marketing potential there.
So, I ask anyone and everyone living in Virginia Beach: If you like traffic the way it is, or you don’t drive anywhere, just stay sitting on your ass and eating fat foods and sodas. Fuck it. Who cares. Right? If you drive and you’re tired of sitting in traffic as your life ticks away (that’s right, sitting still in traffic doing nothing is ticking away precious moments of your LIFE. As if that matters to anyone), then speak up. Do something. Write or email someone. Light rail, busing (real busing, not this imitation bullshit HRT sells as busing), or whatever, doesn’t matter. As long as it moves people around safely, efficiently and reliably, I’m happy with that. But do we need to pay for yet another study in 2010 to simply confirm what the 1980, 1996, 2000, and 2004 and now 2009 studies have all confirmed?
I’m so tired of this backwards-assed mind-draining dumbass bullshit mentality that I might just freak out and smack the next person that says there’s no problem with the status quo of our transportation system. AhhhhhhH!!!!!!!!!
Here’s my suggested rules for who should be able to vote on transportation issues, regardless of location:
- Must have lived in the area for at least ten (10) years
- Must be gainfully employed, full-time. Or be a full-time student
- Must not work from home, or do school online exclusively
- Must have a drivers license and own a car or motorcycle
- Must speak, read and write English
- Must have a high school diploma
This might be a good starting point at least. Anyone listening?