Why are the Roads so Bad?

This post is in response to South Buffalo Blogger, who wrote this post bemoaning the slow collapse of South Buffalo’s infrastructure.  I couldn’t leave the type of comment that I wanted to leave there, so I’m doing it here.

SBB writes:

Having lived in Buffalo all of my life, there’s love for this city…. compassion, understanding and sorrow in feeling like there’s so much to do in so little time. Of all though, there’s frustration from the (election grandstanding) lies, frustration from the waiting & wondering when our time will come for new changes, for new focus…. for that feeling of splendor I had as I sat on a bench down at the Commercial Slip.

South Buffalo’s time for new changes and new focus, I’m afraid, has to wait for the revitalization of a much larger segment of Buffalo than what the Commercial Slip might bring to Downtown.  It has to wait for a revitalization of this house:

and this area:

and this business:

Aside from a very small mansion district, the city has nowhere to turn to generate the revenue needed to do what you want done for South Buffalo – that is, without completely shutting out other neighborhoods.  Neither does the state (and, as we shall soon hear from Governor Paterson, not for a long time).

South Buffalo, like the rest of the city, will have to pull itself up on its own.  There may be those in office softly cooing “keep the faith, help is coming” but in reality, what help there may be can only dot the landscape with little fixes.  Wholesale changes are not in the picture.  SB’s street lamps will continue to rust and its streets will continue to crumble, as they are in the rest of the city.

That’s pretty gloomy.  The upside is that streets and streetlamps are merely facades.  What makes a true neighborhood are the people in it.  What we need to do is convince the politicians to concentrate what funds they do have on things that bring people together into a community.  This may sound hokey, but I think your focus on bumpy roads and duct-taped light poles misses the point about what made makes SB great.  If anything, pictures of people at Community Center functions, at church bazaars and at school athletic contests, and the use of public funds to encourage more participation in community collective activities (how about an open market every Saturday?  Or book parties at the library? An Irish Festival every season?) might be a better rallying cry.

Maybe, if cars are forced to go 15 mph down cruddy Seneca Street, they’ll have that much more time to observe how SB reinvents itself with festivities and events that put other Buffalo neighborhoods to shame!

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