Here’s a handy guide to not putting your foot in your mouth when discussing Cleveland’s “Opportunity Corridor,” a $350 million highway-development scheme that will displace 90 families on the Southeast side. Don’t, under any circumstances, say the following things:
1. “The Forgotten Triangle” …
Can we just stop using this patronizing, culturally biased term? Pretty please? As my friend Akshai pointed out, who exactly “forgot” about these neighborhoods people live in? Was it the people that live in them? Did they forget they live there?
This bs term is being used to make the case for clearing parts of these neighborhoods for a road. (Mansfield Frazier calls this “planned abandonment.”) Would it be so easy to seize people’s homes as agents of the state if we were to call these places by their rightful names, Central or Fairfax, proud neighborhoods with many assets? Of course not! Stop using this term immediately if you don’t want to sound like a jerk.
2. This project is decades old (as if that is a good thing)
When this project was dreamed up, gas cost 98 cents a gallon, Enron was a blue chip stock and everyone thought Full House was a good show. Here’s the thing: we’ve learned a lot since then (or have we?) MAYBE, just maybe, projects dreamed up during an era of different energy and economic realities aren’t appropriate decades later! Go back to start!
3. This project will help transit/support transit oriented development
Excuse me, but … LOLZ! Building a $350 million highway right next to an underused rail line is not doing transit any favors, let’s be honest with ourselves here. Passenger rail and driving are competing modes, they’re not complimentary, in case you’re confused. If we start offering everyone who drives to work daily a $50 prize that won’t help transit and this isn’t all that different.
The idea that this will help support transit oriented development is just as perverse. The thing about transit oriented development, that is a term that is not synonymous with “any development by transit.” The only kind of development a $350 million piece of car infrastructure will support is car-oriented development, not to be confused with transit oriented development, which necessarily requires a REDUCTION in car infrastructure.
Also this project has no transit elements whatsoever. This project is transit oriented development a lot like the widening of 271 is transit oriented development, in that IT IS THE OPPOSITE OF TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT. If it is in fact Opposite Day, however, continue calling this exorbitantly expensive road project transit oriented development. 🙂