Saturday, November 18, 2006

Steelyard Drive?

Yesterday, we saw the government trucks changing the green freeway signs along I-71 near Fulton (did the developers pay for that, or did "we, the people"?). What was going up was the suburbanized nomenclature "Steelyard Drive." The whole concept seems to lend itself to irony and self-parody--the "drive" in the middle of standing water in the toxic industrial lowlands. I guess that's what the effect, the theme, of Disneyfication is; we shouldn't try to take it too seriously, nor should we be too offended, I guess. We can't expect too much from the talent that has been elevated to serve our community in recent years--there just isn't too much there to give. To me, it is a civic embarassment, but it is down in a hole, and we shouldn't have to put up with it long. Once people catch onto the fact that the place is toxic and have their car finishes ruined by the output from Mittal Steel, we shouldn't have to put up with much traffic, either.

It seems that the whole benefit of these developments is front-loaded, in the "Deal" itself. Everybody makes their money putting one of these things into a community, and there's not too much concern about what happens a generation or two down the road. Look to North Randall and Euclid if you have any doubts about that. I hear that the economic life of these types of development is now a scant 7 years, in real-estate circles, as shopping malls continue to proliferate and cannibalize each other, or at least eat each others' lunch. The other civic embarrassment that brought us Steelyard Commons and The Red Room Monologues only lasted 4 years.

Change is accelerating, as is disease. Perhaps cures can accelerate, too.

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