|Esplanade by Fairmount Water Works|
I'm afraid I don't know enough Philadelphia history to be able to prove this case; perhaps someone else can do that. What I do know is that Philadelphia politics is currently well designed to stop just about anything from happening.
And I'm going to show you how it works. Say you have a bike lane that is essentially the backbone of a citywide network of bike lanes. Say it runs through the bailiwicks of three registered community organizations. Say you want to make some improvements to the bike lane.
And here's what happens. The local city council members put their heads together and decide that they're okay with the plans, but that all three RCOs need to hold community meetings and get neighborhood approval. Everybody has to agree.
Let's say that your chances of RCO approval are actually pretty good - say 0.8 on a scale of zero to one. But your job is to get all three RCOs to agree. And here we run into what I call the dependent probability trap. The probability of getting all three RCOs to agree is not 0.8. It is 0.8 x 0.8 x 0.8. Which is 0.51, or fifty-fifty. Add one more RCO and it is 0.40.
The only way out of this trap is for our elected officials to engage in something called leadership. They need to stop giving their constituents a veto. They need to listen carefully, take counsel, and then make decisions.
It's a much harder job than just ducking for cover anytime a decision looms on the horizon. But it is the job we pay them to do.