[RANT WARNING: Unusual-for-this-space ranting ahead. Turn away now if your negativity tolerance levels are maxed out.]
Driving to and from the gym today, it struck me that it’s official: downtown Tempe is under siege. Gentrification planners cannot be stopped. We’re boxed in by massive construction projects. It seems that there’s one at every intersection. Everywhere I go in my everyday life lies east of our neighborhood, but getting through downtown is insanity… all of the routes I take to reach my destinations are either single-laned or blockaded.
A Whole Foods down the street. A retirement community for university professors. Extravagant lofts, condos, restaurants, retail businesses, office spaces, parking garages, hotels, multi-purpose high-rises, just… development after development.
Historical establishments continue to get hemmed in or pushed out. This is sacrilege.
I witnessed the beginning of the gentrification surge back in the 2000’s, but now they’ve amped it up. Every week, I get numerous robocalls leaving messages to the effect of “I was driving through your neighborhood and I’m interested in buying your house.” Public meeting and town hall notices have piled up in our stack of non-essential mail. We residents are all invited to attend and “participate.”
My point? GETTING TO THE GYM.
Getting to the gym has become an exercise in frustration, if not occasional futility. I thought they were done with their development projects along the north shore of the lake, but apparently not. I usually drive east along that shore to get to the gym. I’ve tried all alternative routes. There’s no way to avoid the construction zones. Last week, I got pulled over in a moment of confusion and indecision about which way I could go – thinking too many steps ahead when I encountered another blocked road and stopped at the wrong place – and I was cited. I missed Body Pump, and now I have to go to defensive driving school. (Ka-ching!)
I made it to the gym today, though… I left 15 minutes earlier than usual. I’m prepared for “15 minutes earlier” to be “the usual” for a while. That’s fine. I don’t mind leaving early… but I do mind being stressed when trying to get somewhere.
Anyway, if you made it this far, thanks for reading. Maybe you can relate… maybe your everyday life is also impacted by urban gentrification. If you’re like me, you love your section of town and you have no intention of leaving. Silver lining: it’s always good to hone one’s adaptation skills. Adaptation, adjustment, and gratitude.