22 contradictions that show we can’t be trusted to make good decisions for our cities

So often I’m struck by the ways our positions on neighborhoods and cities contradict each other. We say we’re for affordable housing, but oppose any affordable housing near us. We say we want to live a green lifestyle, but refuse to give up our big backyards. Anyway, here’s a fun (or perhaps frustrating) list of 22 contradictions that show we can’t be trusted to make good decisions about the places we live:

  1. Toll roads are unfair, but transit should pay for itself.
  2. There has been no investment in my neighborhood for years, but gentrification is evil.
  3. Housing is getting so expensive here; therefore, let’s not build any more.
  4. Traffic is terrible, so I bought a house that requires me to own a car.
  5. Developers are the scum of the earth; apparently, my house wasn’t built by one of them.
  6. America is a democracy, so these five property owners will decide the fate of my neighborhood.
  7. I played outside unsupervised all day as a child, but my kid will surely be kidnapped if left alone for five minutes; the fact that crime rates have fallen dramatically since I was young is irrelevant.
  8. I moved downtown to be close to all the action but, man, are these live music venues loud or what!
  9. Surely the 35 granny flats that get built next year will ruin our city, but those 350 new homes outside the loop? Meh.
  10. It’s too unsafe for my child to walk to school because of all the cars, so I drive him.
  11. It costs $6.00 to park in this lot two blocks away, but this really convenient meter in front of the restaurant is only $1.00 an hour.
  12. People aren’t riding the bus because it only comes once an hour, so they had to cut service.
  13. Walmart is an evil corporation, but—hey, look—there’s a Target going in over there.
  14. I want to live in a walkable neighborhood, but I don’t want to be too close to anything that’s not a house.
  15. This new freeway interchange will cost taxpayers $400 million…oh, that’s cool. The city is considering dedicating $75 million to a new transit line…SOCIALISM!
  16. I demand lower property taxes! By the way, why haven’t those road crews come to fix this pothole?
  17. Population density is really high in that neighborhood, so it’s too complicated to install rail there.
  18. I spent thousands of dollars to travel to Europe to enjoy their beautiful cities, but this is America…we’re different.
  19. Traffic deaths are terrible…Let’s be a Vision Zero city! Sweet, they just raised the speed limit on this road to 75!
  20. I will spend five minutes looking for a decent parking spot to spend 30 minutes on a treadmill.
  21. I demand to be able to vote ‘no’ on transit projects. Roads, sewer service, sidewalks, electricity, cable, free parking…now those are my rights.
  22. Living near the university gives us access to so many great restaurants and venues, but college kids are just the worst!

Can you think of any that I missed?


4 responses to “22 contradictions that show we can’t be trusted to make good decisions for our cities”

  1. Mateo Barnstone says :

    I’m worried about congestion, let’s gate large sections of the city and force traffic only down certain roads.

  2. BigRed says :

    I voted yes for every city bond election; every park, bike lane, school, library etc. Why are my property taxes so high?

  3. Mike Gorse says :

    Traffic is horrendous already and getting worse; we can’t let that greedy developer build lots of apartments on that parcel over there on the major transit corridor with the bus stop in front of it.

    Minimum parking regulations and single-family zoning on prime real estate are fine. Propose removing those things, and you’re social engineering / trying to dictate peoples’ transportation choices.

  4. Mike says :

    This has been heavy on my mind. Glad someone wrote them down. I would add: I want cheap gasoline and diesel fuels, and there hasn’t been a refinery built in almost fifty years. But no new refineries in my backyard; let’s import refined fuels from overseas.

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