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This is part of a multi-part reflection I've been doing following the death of my friend, Mark Baumer . There's nothing graphic i...

On Hiatus

I've been considering going on hiatus from the blog for a while, and today seems like a good point. The Statehouse, it appears, voted to approve the budget for the Garrahy Garage. I think I fooled myself into thinking that because I had been writing about this and sending letters to representatives, and because I had gone up to the Statehouse and spoken at the meeting on the line item, that I had made my point clear enough that there was a chance the money wouldn't go through. We did indeed get one mayoral candidate (so far) to go on record against the spending. But for the most part, I feel like the effort was pissing in the wind, because Rhode Island just doesn't get that it's going to find itself under water (literally and figuratively) if it doesn't change its ways. It seems we think we're going to change everything through solar cars and cats from space, or whatever other strange technologies du jour happen to pop up.

I feel disgusted and burnt out, and my urge is to not care at all what happens to this city or state, and to just give up. So I'm going to step away from the blog--which feels like an unhappy duty--and try to enjoy myself.

Writing a blog, to me, doesn't feel like a good way to interact with the world. I don't honestly like computers very much. Feeling that there's a responsibility to produce content for people to read about these issues means having to interact with a technology that at once connects me to many people, but also separates me. It means being much more sedentary and alone than I'd like to be. And I'm not sure it produces change.

I should say that going on break from the blog doesn't mean not being involved. I am currently working on what seems like a potential success with Hope Street merchants, to get protected bike lanes installed there. I continue to be excited about Hugo Bruggeman's "better boulevard" idea for Blackstone Boulevard. And the WBNA is now working as a partner to get a temporary protected bike lane for Park(ing) Day. So I'm sure I'll have my hands full. But I'd prefer as little of that to have to do with blogging or Twitter as possible.

So perhaps you'll hear much less from the computer, but see my face in the sun more.

Happy biking/bus riding. Get off your computer and go change something.

1 comment:

  1. James,
    For what it's worth, you've long been my favorite blogger in Providence, and I think your are more creative and interesting than most urban activists I read. And although short term change has been slow, I think you've definitely positively contributed to the longer process.

    That being said, I completely understand why you'd feel disillusioned about positive change in Rhode Island. Sometimes this place can seem mired in a world that is 20 years ago or more. At the same time that some cities are rushing to be the next to support active transportation, Rhode Island has treated it as a hassle to have to repair sidewalks, remove beg buttons, and build a few bike lanes. I'm leaving Providence tomorrow, and moving to Washington DC. As sad as I am to see this place go, it will certainly be less frustrating to live in a place that demonstrates respect for pedestrians, bikes, and transit riders. I hope things can change in Providence, but like you, I'm left without much confidence given the extreme insularity of the politics and the state itself.

    But keep it up! You've definitely empowered many people to bring about change. And I applaud the effort you've put in to make the city better for people like me.

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