When a headline says it all: Even after Fern Hollow, Pittsburgh still isn’t fixing bridges




Fig. 1. Post-collapse scene at the Fern Hollow Bridge, photograph by National Transportation Safety Board, January 29, 2022, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Mike Wereschagin, “There’s been almost no progress fixing Pittsburgh-owned bridges a year after Fern Hollow collapsed,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 27, 2023, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2023/01/27/fern-hollow-collapse-anniversary-pittsburgh-bridge-repairs/stories/202301270078

Traffic non-enforcement

Fig. 1. Obviously, nowhere near Pittsburgh: “A Pennsylvania state trooper checks motorists’ speed using a radar gun.” Unattributed photograph credited only to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.[1]

No sooner had I written my last blog post, when I started noticing something new in the annals of Pittsburgh aggressive driving.

It seems that when folks stop for a red light, the thing to do now is to steer around those folks and run the red light yourself. I’ve seen this on three separate occasions since writing that post. This afternoon, a dark blue Maserati pulled from behind me to do this, as opposing traffic had already started doing left turns. They all managed to avoid a wreck.

Also this afternoon (January 27), a pickup truck driver had me roll down my window to chastise me and call me names for driving slowly on a rutted brick road.

It’s bad enough being bullied by the job market and by Uber. In Pittsburgh, I’m routinely bullied by fellow drivers. I need out. Now.[2]



Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[3] fair use.

I have Twitter poll up on my private account, intentionally for followers only. I’m wondering first if any of my followers are still on Twitter (so far, six have checked in), and second, what their plans are for the platform (all six indicated they intend to stay).

In general, I’m reevaluating my social media presence and thinking it may be time to terminate both by Twitter and Facebook accounts. I can’t even stand to log in to Facebook and I’m not seeing any engagement on Twitter. Getting rid of the plugin that posts to both would probably improve my sites’ performance a bit.

So-called ‘ridesharing’


Fig. 1. Yeah, this is me. The sign says, “If you’re whining about a labor shortage, STOP ignoring my job applications!” And the QR-code leads here. Photograph by author, January 16, 2023.

About 30 years ago, in Graton, a small, unincorporated town north of Sebastopol, California, long before it got gentrified, there was an old lady who occasionally opened up her restaurant on Graton Road. It was something she clearly did when she felt like it and only when she felt like it.

I was still an omnivore and she cooked a fine breakfast for not a whole lot of money, so I made it a point to stop in when I could.

One day, she imparted some advice that’s stuck with me. The fastest way to go out of business, she warned, is to charge too much. The second fastest way to go out of business, she continued, is to charge too little.

One of the points of contention about Uber driver worker misclassification is that Uber drivers do not set their own rates. They work for whatever Uber chooses to pay them.

I previously wrote of Uber’s latest pay cut that “I’m sure it’s at least a quarter or a third of what they pay us after their commission; it feels like 40 percent.”[4] Today, I was flabbergasted all afternoon by how little I was being paid for rides. I’m sure now that the cut is fully 40 percent.

By that old lady’s reckoning, Uber is choosing to put its drivers out of business.

I explained in that post that this situation is not sustainable.[5] It is now a full crisis. This cannot continue for any length of time whatsoever. It must end now.

But nothing has come through. And the message I’m getting is that death is the only way out.

  1. [1]Associated Press, “Senate OKs local police using radar for speed enforcement,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 23, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/senate-oks-local-police-using-radar-for-speed-enforcement/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “A life worth living,” Not Housebroken, January 27, 2023, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/12/27/a-life-worth-living/
  3. [3]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “A life worth living,” Not Housebroken, January 27, 2023, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/12/27/a-life-worth-living/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “A life worth living,” Not Housebroken, January 27, 2023, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/12/27/a-life-worth-living/

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