For locals: my past Dayton involvements

composed February 27th, 2010:

In December, 1996, at the age of 42, I started a website called "New Ideas Now -Dayton and the Edge Cities", to aggregate news and commentary about suburban sprawl and how it was contributing to the death of downtowns and core cities like Dayton.

In October of 1999, I went from blogging about the problem to fighting it. Back then, people like me still had emotions like "hope" that things like "activism" could be effective, although these words are quaint to me now. The impetus for this redirection was a blatant "corporate welfare" proposal for a "mega-mall" between Cincinnati and Dayton.

The Sierra Club took the lead, so I worked hard with them for about two years fighting "Daytonnati" sprawl, although the mall fight itself only lasted until early 2000.

(The mall and the taxpayer-funded infrastructure for it never happened, although the opposition efforts were only partly responsible for this fact.)

Between 2000 and 2002, I also tried helping with "positive" efforts such as greenway encouragement. I am still a member of B-W Greenway in Fairborn, and I enjoy helping with honeysuckle removal whenever we get together to do this.

I also am still a member of the Sierra Club, and will continue to be, although I think we are now deep into an era when such organizations will be almost powerless to have any effect on the future.

Between 2003 and 2006, although I had already given up believing that activism could suceed, I still thought there was at least some hope (there's that word again) that at least some existing institutions had a future that was not neccessarily ugly.

I tried for that three years to give up most of my driving, so I obviously developed emotions about one such institution, "transit".

But this just set me up for even more heartbreak, because it became clear to me that almost every soul in the culture around me views transit not in terms of the environment or energy, but instead in terms of race and class, so transit is almost universally despised, especially in Dayton.

So now, the Greyhound station has been exiled from downtown to a ridiculously impractical "hub" far to the northwest, where I can't imagine anyone still uses it.

And, the RTA still cuts back and raises fares continuosly, even as more and more freeways and freeway lanes and interchanges are built every year in this city and region even though they're rapidly depopulating, and even though peak oil has begun.

It is amazing that RTA still works at all, but it actually still does, and I still use it when I can, for now, until it disappears completely, now that we are into this great collapse.