Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tales from the Vienna Woodenhead

I see Don Pelton eloquently rebutted blowhard Chuck "Mr. Civil Discourse" Pezeshki in the June 11 edition of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Pullman is not Vienna

I agree with Chuck Pezeshki that Vienna is a wonderful city (Opinion, May 22). I like to stay at the Bristol Hotel, which is across the street from the opera house.

The advantage that Vienna enjoys over Pullman is that it has a population that can support many public amenities. Austria has a population density of about 260 people per square mile. To apply that density to Whitman County would yield a population of about 550,000 with two-thirds living in Pullman. Yes, Pullman would be a city of 360,000.

Following the Vienna example, most folks would live in multistory apartment buildings with the ground floors making perfect locations for many small shops supplying necessities to the residents living upstairs.

Sadly, Whitman County only can offer a population of about 42,000 or about 20 folks per square mile. About two-thirds, or 28,000, live in Pullman. Of these, about half live in the square mile next to the university. The others live within about eight square miles, or approximately 1,800 to a square mile. This is not enough population to support much mass transit. But, if Washington state were like Austria, our population would be 19 million and there would be lots of trams, highways, and maybe even a subway from the CUB to Bishop Boulevard.

For Pullman, I would rather have at least one super Wal-Mart-type department store with an inventory of upwards of 200,000 items augmented by many specialty shops instead of large numbers of nearly identical neighborhood stores with inventories of 5,000 items as in Vienna.

Donald D. Pelton

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