What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

19 October 2016


Right now, here in Su-Land, we're considering options of where to live from a wide array that includes:
  • Close to work, but not walkable or bikeable to anything else
  • Walkable but not near a useful bus line
  • Walkable and bus-able, but expensive
  • Cheap but with no other redeeming qualities
  • Practically perfect in all ways except no car-free ways to get to work
  • A compromise that makes everywhere equally difficult to get to
You can understand why this has my brain shooting steam into the atmosphere and my eyes spinning round in my head. The lack of truly good options is underwhelming.

Like this. On all the streets. NOW.
Source: Joe Zlomek on freeimages.com.
And I'm hardly the only person with this problem. Everyone has to balance transportation vs convenience vs amenities when choosing where to live. And it may be that the trade-off I choose is that I get a car because my commute is otherwise impossible, a choice that many lower-income folks don't get to make, which makes me one of the privileged ones.

Not for the first time (or the last), I wish that US cities would try just a bit harder to make active transportation a practical reality for more people. Not just people who live downtown, or in a university district, or in gentrifying neighbourhoods (it's a common refrain in Austin that low-income and non-white neighbourhoods only get sidewalks when white people move in), but everywhere. I'll even wait on bike lanes if we can just get a sidewalk network built out. Come on, y'all, get with the program.

And in the meantime, I'm seeing how the puzzle pieces fit together best for me.


Sharlan Proper said...

Too many choices AND, way too few. I wish you well.
I appreciate your heart for the underprivileged in the midst of your options.

Crystal Collier said...

I completely understand, but having lived in NYC and used the public transit all the time, there's a cost to everything. (Taxes--whew!) It might be better to own a car. And let's not forget when public transit fails. There were times when people got stuck on the subway train for upwards of 3 hours while they tried to get it repaired. Once, for 8 hours in a heatwave! Still, it would be nice to walk the 1/2 mile to a subway stop and head straight in to any local attraction.

joyJ Owen said...

I have always bemoaned the fact that I MUST own a car. I'd much rather it be like it is in England where I don't really need to drive. Good luck!

Phil Beaudry said...


J E Oneil said...

It's a shame about the lack of busing. Maybe you'd be able to find some way to carpool? It's a possibility at least.

Su Wilcox said...

I never stop being amazed at the topics that bring on the comments.

@Sharlan: If you're going to be an advocate, you have to be an advocate for everybody. If not, there's a different word for what you're doing.

@Crystal: Yep, public services cost $$. But outside of NYC, cities tend to allocate a disproportionate amount to building yet another highway lane--a strategy we know for sure doesn't work--instead of toward solutions that might reduce congestion. I hear ya on the subway breaking down, though--that's the worst. A week before I went to NYC last summer, there was a 2-hour breakdown on matinee day at the theatres. Lots of held curtains and some folks (performers and audience) still missed their shows. I was praying that wouldn't happen when I was in town. (It didn't.)

@Joy: Yes. Or basically anywhere else.

@Phil: That's fantastic.

@JE: I'm hoping. That would be great.