Something About Glass Houses

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Something About Glass Houses

We all make mistakes. I never do anything much worse than forget to floss, but it’s a mistake nonetheless, and I hope people will not judge – my teeth, gums and dentist will punish me enough. OK, and maybe I speed sometimes, and, as a policy, I take more than one sample per table at Costco.

But this blog isn’t about my mistakes, pathetic as they are. It’s about a mistake made in Dallas, Texas, where parking meters were installed on a bike lane.  The Dallas Morning News reports in its city hall blog, with plenty of sarcasm, the details about this serious blunder.

Jared White, the Bicycle and Transportation Planner in the city’s Planning and Neighborhood Vitality Department, blames the new meters on “a mix-up involving the contractor” and says they will be removed today or, at the latest, Friday.

It’s just like the quote says. Meters were ordered and scheduled for installation, but during that process the location of the installation was misconstrued, misunderstood, or not clearly defined. City officials say it was the contractor’s mistake and the contractor will pay to fix the mistake.

And even though it seems pretty ridiculous putting parking meters on a bike lane, we all know how easy it is to make a mistake like this. Many of us are only spared heaps of humiliation because we are fortunately not in the position to make mistakes of this magnitude. I remember quite well a mistake a colleague of mine made, a mistake I should have noticed, but didn’t, that involved the publication of 100,000 magazines and our company’s biggest client. I remember the mortification well and can make myself sweat bullets again just thinking of it.

Tracing the path of the mistake is easy, reparations are usually possible and forthcoming, but living down the shame is hard. Let’s all just give each other a break.

Read the article here.

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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