Where’s the love?

It’s all about civic engagement today!

Tonight was a public meeting at Seattle Central Community College to talk about construction progress and issues related to the new Capitol Hill light rail station (to be complete in 2016). I was amused to discover when I sat down that I was a row ahead of two members of the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board that I’d met last night. We chatted a bit about my application process and the fact that with the shift in the Mayor’s office it’s very possible that I won’t know if I’m in or out until April.

Anyhow, tonight’s meeting. There wasn’t anything terribly new to learn, SDOT is making some pedestrian improvements to help mitigate issues with all the truck traffic we’ll have for a few years as they cart dirt around while doing excavation and from the mile segment that’s drilling from here to downtown.

It’s funny to me, that my attitude towards this meetings is often a lot different than the vocal “concerned citizens” at these meetings, and I suspect it’s because I sort of work on the other side. I’ve been helping engineers and architects prepare for public meetings for the last eight years—and frankly, they’re all crap at communicating with audiences who aren’t engineers or architects. They speak in technical language and while it might seem like they’re not answering your question, trust me, they think they are.

So I find the antagonistic attitude most people take towards the people who present at these meetings both terribly amusing and a bit sad. Perhaps I’m naïve, but I really don’t think my (locally at least) government is out to make my life difficult or similar intentionally. And certainly, yelling at engineers isn’t going to make them likely to communicate with you any better.