Morning reader(s). It was a damp and dreary morning for the District. A situation worsened for your fair SPY by another day of seemingly endless construction on 17th Street in between New Hampshire Avenue and P Street NW. Or as it’s otherwise known, my apartment. I DESPISE this construction, but before I go into why, here is a bit of background.
Since December 2009, construction workers have been toiling away at a major renovation project for 17th street. According to GGW, the project “will bring ADA-compliant curb ramps, new tree boxes, street lamps and new road and sidewalk surfaces to 17th Street” which results in 17th street looking like this:
It is funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), or as it’s more commonly known, the Stimulus Package. So yes. The 17th street project, as with most infrastructure projects, succeeds in employing more people while simultaneously creating a tangible, public good. In other words, it’s EXACTLY what the government is supposed to do in countercyclical fiscal policy (thank you SIPA).
This general logic aside, I HATE it. I hate the noise, the seemingly neverending list of projects, the closed off streets, the traffic. However, more than all of that, I hate the apparent superficiality of the changes. Yes, wider sidewalks and new black stylized streetlamps improve the appearance of the neighborhood, but are they really necessary? Even the tree boxes seem to come with issues.
I guess at the end of the day, I would feel better about DC fixing things if something was actually broken. You can’t tell me DC doesn’t have other neighborhoods with REAL infrastructure problems. Why isn’t ARRA targeting them and not us? Is it residual maintenance costs or what?
The construction will continue for the remainder of 2010. However, since I know nothing about urban infrastructure, I throw question to you dear readers: Am I allowed to be annoyed, or should I, with my apartment and my steady job, just shut the eff up?
*which looks shockingly similar to the 17th St now. Thanks pilver for the rain pic!