Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Igloo From Hell

I'm really sorry for not doing more local arts posts. There are lots of great things about Pittsburgh, great people, offbeat projects, some great neighborhoods, history etc.... which luckily now you can hear more about in places like Pop City, the City Paper, The Post Gazette and great new sites like Bittersweet Harvest and City Creative.

However, the city is small, fragile and cannot survive the kind of taxpayer supported clusterf--cks it's had to go through in the past.It's not fun but someone has to stand with a sign saying-- not again, and I guess that's my job.

In spite of all the promises made when they built the new Penguins Arena, to tear down the old one and build a normal mixed use, residential, retail development to help reconnect the Downtown and The Hill, a curious number of people are showing up with honestly bizarre excuses to keep old "Igloo" standing-- few are Hill District residents.

No doubt is was an interesting and significant building and even less that it holds a lot of great memories for many people. But, almost nobody who remembers the old Hill, or has an even passing knowledge of urban issues, thinks the area was improved by the huge steel shell, massive block of parking space and highway interchange that made it very difficult and unpleasant to walk from the Hill to Downtown or that the city was made better off by the loss of several blocks of potential tax generating property.

Even the Post thinks it's wacky.

"Pursuing them would produce real harm by placing significant constraints on the development of the plot that surrounds the arena and, at least from the vantage point of the Hill District, a large steel shell -- albeit smaller when fully opened -- would remain standing between the neighborhood and Downtown."

Keep it up Pittsburgh. You still have a shot at being Detroit. Just follow these tips.

"Tear holes in your city and stick in as many highways as you can. Highways that will divide and cut through existing business districts are the best. You must have major highways cutting into your downtown!! Remember, you don’t want people to live in the city especially wealthy people.

Raise Taxes in the city to pay for it and your other plans. Well, just raise taxes for any reason really.

Cut and remove as much mass transit as you can. Transit is needed to have a dense city and you don’t want that.

Add as much parking as you can. You can build huge garages to help waste tax money but you mainly need huge areas of plain old surface lots.

Put huge Sports Stadiums in or near the key areas of the city. Since they are usually empty, they are are like putting extra fancy holes in the town. they waste lots of tax money and best of all they need tons of parking!!! (remember you don’t have mass transit.)The key is to put these holes in or just near the downtown and make sure that a sea of parking lots sit on the most useful city land."

Hat tip to Pittsburgh Comet.

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