Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pittsburgh Presbytery meeting at Westminster: (1) Why have I become parochial?

Hill Church painting at WestminsterAs I headed out the door this morning to drive to the meeting of Pittsburgh Presbytery at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, one of the church members said she hoped I had a nice meeting. I quickly acknowledged that I hoped so too.

I was dreading the drive that would take me from Tarentum to Upper St. Clair, and I reflected on why it was that I did not look forward to this trip. I knew that when I got there I would enjoy seeing people I had not seen in a while, but I still dreaded the trip.

In the last presbytery where I had been a member I was accustomed to much longer driving times and distances to meetings; my friends from Rhode Island would laugh about their own reluctance to leave a state so small that they said you might miss it if you sneezed while driving through it. Yet today, driving across Allegheny County seemed like a trip to the other side of the universe.

Almost back on trackI knew what I dreaded: crossing the bridges and going through tunnels that I so rarely had to use. These are times when I always end up in the wrong lane and then off on a side trip through an unfamiliar part of Pittsburgh. Sure enough, it happened again.

I even drove slowly as I crossed the Fort Pitt Bridge, looking carefully for signs to tell me which lane would get me to the Fort Pitt Tunnel. Of course none of the signs said any lane was for the tunnel, and once the tunnel was in sight there was no time to get into a lane that would go into it.

The trip back was more of the same. Being in the wrong lane inside the tunnel committed me to another long detour before I found bridges and roads that would get me back to 28 North.

It is no wonder to me that people who have lived in the Alle-Kiski Valley all their lives are reluctant to go into Pittsburgh or through it to shop or to attend meetings.

I wonder whether anyone has ever given any thought to the possibility that better signage could enhance the social and economic cohesiveness of the region? Or is the goal to keep people from venturing outside their own bailiwicks?

My other articles on this meeting are: 1 2, 3, 4

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