I have a challenge for the citizens of Worcester. This is what I would like you to do.
The next time you are out and about in the city and you see something you don't approve of or something bad happens to you personally or whatever happens that makes you swear under your breath, "F*cking Worcester" I want you to ask yourself how you got the perception that whatever you are complaining about shouldn't be the way it is. See if you can think of an example where whatever is bothering you isn't that way somewhere else. Then I would like you to think about whether that comparison is fair. I will give an example and this was also the inspiration for this.
Over at Wormtown Taxi on Thursday, Jeff posted a thought about city hall and whether our citizens lack of participation in their city's government might have something to do with the fact that there isn't much parking at city hall. At that point I tried to think of different city halls that I have had to go to over the course of my life.
The one I have had to go to the most is Worcester. There's plenty of parking, expensive and cheap, within a very very short walk of the building. I don't know if us common folk are allowed to park in the garage underneath the building. This is a big secret to me. Worcester has about 175,000 people living in it.
I have had to go to Government Center in Boston quite a few times. I always take the T there though. Never have I even had to think about parking my car there. I did alot of walking those days though. Boston has a population of about 597,000 people.
When I was living in Baltimore I had to go to City Hall once. I took a bus to the Light Rail and then took the Light Rail the rest of the way into downtown. Again, quite a bit of walking. Bringing a car into downtown Baltimore is ridiculous to me. I mean there is no where to park! There actually probably was but I didn't know enough about the city to know where that parking was. Baltimore has a population of about 641,000 people.
I lived in Oxford MA for quite a bit of my life. I had to go to the town hall often to pay for this or register for that. There is a parking lot in the back plus a lot at the Cumby's nextdoor. Really easy to get in and out. Oxford has a population of about 13,000 people.
I mostly grew up in Shrewsbury MA. I never had any business at the Town Hall in Shrewsbury but my parents often did and I accompanied them alot. Huge parking lot on site. Never a problem. There really isn't anywhere off site to park and walk to the town hall. Also of note, the town hall in Shrewsbury sits on a pretty large parcel of land that is so big that there is about 2 acres of just lawn. Shrewsbury has a population of about 32,000 people.
One time I had to go to Meriden CT to get a copy of my birth certificate. They had a parking lot out in back of the city hall. It was a little hard to find city hall through their maze of a downtown but I finally found it. There also seemed to be ample metered street parking too. I did my business but downtown was kind of a pain. Meriden has a population of about 60,000 people.
So this is my history of going to City and Town Halls. Two large cities where I did much walking and took much public transportation, one mid sized city where I parked and walked a couple of blocks to city hall, a small city where there was free parking behind city hall, a large town where there was plenty parking in the emence civic complex known as the town offices, and a mid sized town where there was a large public parking lot on site.
But of course what do I know. The only mid sized city hall I have been to is Worcester's so I don't think much of having to walk a couple blocks to get to city hall because it's all I know. Everyone who complains about not being able to park right at city hall must have been to mid sized city halls all over this country where you can park for free right on site to make Worcester stand out as this freak exception. This could be the case. It could also be the case that they might feel more at home in Boston, Baltimore, Meriden, Shrewsbury or Oxford.
So this is all I ask. When you have an idea of how something should or shouldn't be here in Worcester ask yourself where you got that idea from before you start condemning the city and make sure that your expectations are realistic. I mean let's face it, I think we would all love an NBA franchise here, and we all know Worcester sucks because we can't get one.
That last bit was sarcasm folks.