Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Austin Of Futures Past, or The Roller Coaster To "Anywhereville"

I have an impressive track-record of leaving places just as they change for the worse.  My newest accomplishment is Austin, sadly.  Like the places before it, I am not leaving because it changed; the changes makes it easier to decide to leave.

There are two shirts, each a variation of the other, that were jokingly witty about 5 years ago.  Now they are straight up honest.  One says "Welcome to Austin.  Please don't move here."  The other: "Welcome to Austin.  I hear Dallas is nice."

I live exactly where someone who wants to take full advantage of all Austin has (had) to offer would want to live.  Since Austin is the #1 fastest growing city in the country, many people want to live in my parking lot.  They obviously can't, so instead developers are building new places to live immediately next to my parking lot.  Case in point: within a mile of my apartment, there are 3,000- 3,500 new units of housing being built.

These developments would be fine, if they were simply a human filing system: if people moved in and never left their condos and apartments.  But sadly these new residents want to come and go, to places like, say, work, or The Mothership (aka Whole Foods), or the new Trader Joes going in down the block from The Mothership.  The traffic is only going to get worse.  Roads built back when "if we don't build the infrastructure, they won't come" can't handle the "they" that came anyway. 

I'm not the only one who notices.  Many times I have been told "you would have loved Austin 15 years ago," but what I hear is "I have lived here for a long time and am noticing that it is changing for the worse."  Yesterday a long-time resident told me Austin was now "Anywhereville".

The Chronicle articles about the myriad music, movie, and food festivals all seem to have an unwritten underpinning: this city is on that part of a roller coaster ride where the cars are inching up the incline before a huge drop-off, and even though the cars are getting higher and higher and higher, their speed is getting slower and slower and slower.  Eventually...WHOOSH! the bottom falls out and there's vomit everywhere.

There are things, places, and people in Austin that I ADORE.  But on the increasingly frequent days when all of the things that I have to put up with to live here, significantly outweigh the positives of living here, I want to turn to my 3,500 new neighbors and their 3,500 cars, and yell "SUCKAS, you would have loved Austin 3 years ago."

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