How many of us have invited out-of-towners to visit and had them be shocked about how nice Pittsburgh actually is? How cool the bridges and museums are? How sweet all the old architecture and stained glass is? How funky all the coffee shops and art galleries are?
For me, it's the never-ending story. (To which I respond, why else do you think I would have moved here??? Masochism???)
So maybe we should be focusing on getting more people here? It's a noble goal of VisitPittsburgh and the ever-green convention center. However, we all know those organizations are pretty pathetic and clearly they aren't getting the message across on a broad scale. Plus, it doesn't solve the actual getting-here problem.
The New York Times and Forbes are attempting to deal with the attitude problem.
So we're left with the problem of accessibility.
It's hard to get a non-stop flight here unless you're coming from Baltimore, NYC, or Boston - places that already have a gazillion non-stop flights. We can't even fly non-stop to Harrisburg.
The interstate and intrastate train and bus situation is horrendous. Either you transfer 3 times to get anywhere worthwhile or take about 3 times longer than the equivalent car trip. The brand-new Steel City Flyer is the one exception to the rule. And now we're tolling the hell out of people who dare to take the turnpike. Interstate 80 is barely holding on as the one bastion of free-riding left in the state.
Heck, we haven't even actually finished the Great Allegheny Passage, the bike route between DC and Pittsburgh.
Unfortunately, we are inconvenient and out of the way of every major tour itinerary around the country. How do we fix that?
I don't know. But it seems to me that intrastate and interstate initiatives are a good start. Why don't we start working with Cleveland or Philadelphia? Instead we're fighting Toledo's population count, and all these mid-size cities are fighting for their own pieces of pie instead of realizing that Toledo is a stop on the future high-speed train to Chicago. These are the big nation-changing projects that I'd love to see Obama's stimulus package devoted to.
This is a recurring theme on the Burgh Diaspora who loves the term Cleveburgh. And I'm coming around to the idea. Let's think bigger. Pittsburgh has a great central location. Let's stop Pittsburgh from being the end of the line.