Naysayers make so much more noise than yea-sayers that it’s hard to look beyond the racket of “so damn mad.” But possibly in 10 years, visitors will regard Victoria with respect and admire the safe streams of walkers, bikers and drivers, the imaginative efforts to house the marginalized, the public art, and the projects that enhance community. And future cities might emulate Victoria’s willingness to attempt the difficult, uncomfortable, responsible work of reconciliation.
All these programs require a political intention to look beyond personal popularity and re-election, and instead work toward a vibrant and sustainable future city. That intention is called leadership.
Being “so damn mad” might be a good strategy for a five-year-old wanting cookies; it’s not so effective as strategic planning for a city’s future. The contentious bridge, for instance, is now an attractive well-lit public space not unlike European plazas where visitors and locals stroll at all hours. (Try standing mid-bridge to view a full moon over the legislative buildings.)
And perhaps in a decade, everyone will have forgotten the road rage of entitlement, of vitriolic personal attacks by internet trolls, of thinly veiled racism and NIMBYism.
Perhaps they’ll say: “Those leaders had real vision.”