Thursday, May 01, 2014

Austin, the Shark, and Jumping

Austin is the fastest growing city in the country right now.

That sounds terribly exciting when you read it in a news story, and in some ways, it is exciting. It's exciting to live where there's so much opportunity, where every business is open and a new one opens up every day. Having been to Detroit the last two summers, watching the city battle its decline, I appreciate the energy that Austin has now.

Having said that, though, I think we've jumped the shark.

Remember that lovely field full of wildflowers where I took the photo a few weeks ago? Last Sunday, I drove by and saw this:

They were in such a hurry to bulldoze this field and put in some kind of business that they were paying Sunday rates. Couldn't even wait one day.

This is happening all over the city. I was driving toward Eli's school today, and in front of me was a cement truck. In front of that cement truck was another cement truck. Then there was an exit, and the second cement truck turned off toward a different destination.

The traffic is ungodly bad. I think we have the third worst traffic in the country now. In the "old days", one of the big advantages of living here was that the entire city was at your disposal. Now you live in a part of town and stay there as much as possible. In another five years, instead of a part of town being navigable, it will be down to neighborhoods.

So if you're thinking about moving here, there are still cool things about Austin, but most of them are being diluted and compromised because of the crazy rate of growth. And there's no going back.

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