Sometimes you’ve got a problem, and you think “I know! Central planning!”. Now you’ve got two problems.
…By the end of the decade, Boston’s subways could grow so packed that trains would roll past waiting commuters, unable to accommodate more riders, a new report from a leading land-use think tank warns…
But without investment in more subway cars … and other tools to relieve MBTA crowding, scattered congestion will become widespread…
“What’s happening in Boston and other major urban markets is people want to live closer to the city,” said Don Briggs … “They want to be connected by trains. They want to drive their cars less”…
I am darkly amused by one article managing to capture three perennial tropes of our Hari Seldonesque urban planning betters:
1) No matter what direction the results deviate from the Five Year Plan, the solution is always the same: more government spending.
2) Every occurrence in the real world is explained by reference to one possible theory among many…the one theory that is most congruent with left wing ideals. “The proles are eating more grain and less meat? Excellent! They must be convinced by our educational posters!” Well, yes. That, or, you know, the fact that the Bureau of Livestock and Tractors accidentally injected all of the animals with engine grease before installing new tank treads on them… In this case, perhaps increased mass transit ridership is due to the proles FINALLY paying attention to the exhortations of their betters. Or, you know, it MIGHT have something to do with skyrocketing gasoline prices, declining employment, and global economic implosion.
3) Adjusting the price to the wrong level, and then having to scramble to deal with the “unforeseeable” results. Whether we’re talking about gasoline price controls in the 1970s, or eye-popping subsidies to the corrupt, unionized [ but I repeat myself ] MBTA, bureaucrats never tire of taking sledgehammers to pocket watches and then complaining that they need to tinker further to get the object of their attention really PERFECTLY adjusted.
I certainly don’t blame think tanks for pushing their own particular bugbears. That’s their purpose.
I do blame journalists for not calling think tanks on their BS, or at the very least making them prove their points.
When someone asserts “people want to live closer to the city”, that’s not the end of the conversation – that’s just the beginning.
“Says who?” is the next step.
Like The Nuge once said:
It’s like I’ve landed in “The Planet of the Apes,” and I have to teach people to wipe themselves after they shit
Then again, what do I know about journalism? I’m just a blogger, not a journalist.