Friday, October 24, 2008
Your State Tax Dollars At Work
Here's a shot of the notorious State Government shuttle van idling outside the Buckingham Parking Garage. When the Rowland Government Center was being constructed, the state employees who were scheduled to be relocated to Waterbury were apparently horrified by the prospect of having to walk all the way from the garage to their office building. To placate them, the state agreed to operate a shuttle van. In the morning, the van sits waiting on Cottage Place with the engine running. When I took this photograph, it was there for five minutes before one woman arrived. The van then drove her to the Rowland building, then returned to idle some more. I don't know what the van's specific schedule is, but it's probably safe to assume it operates for one or two hours twice a day during the week. With the engine running the whole time, even if it's just sitting at the curb.
The distance from the parking garage to the Rowland building is about a thousand feet. One-fifth of a mile. The average person needs four minutes to walk that distance. But the state of Connecticut is willing to spend tax dollars on a shuttle van.
You can't even argue that it's for safety. At 8 a.m. on a weekday, walking along Grand Street in front of the Post Office or, on the other side of the street, in front of several small cafés, a dry cleaner, and a pizza place; then turning down Leavenworth Street, walking in front of law offices and restaurants before reaching the Rowland building at the end of the street--what could be safer?
It's ironic that the shuttle van is green in color; it's very not green in environmental terms.
[I should also add, before anyone asks, the Rowland building is not named for the former Governor. It is named for his grandfather, Sherwood Rowland, who helped expose (and halt) political corruption during the 1930s. While I'm on the topic of clarification, Rowland Park was named for Rowlands who were not related to those Rowlands. The mini-park was donated by the Chase family--Elsie Rowland Chase came to Waterbury in the late 19th century, when her father, Rev. Dr. Edmund Rowland, was appointed to St. John's Episcopal Church.]