transit and traffic

Urban transit is one of my favorite topics. It takes a lot of calming measures not to get tyrannical about it. From arguing with CB which was the most efficient route between Prince Ave and Five Points (I was right), to analyzing every turn J makes as she gives me a ride home from class, to class itself (!!!). Yes, especially with class itself (Urban Development and Growth Management AKA urban growth, urban transit, and planning policies), it’s just fuel for the fire.

I ride marta a lot because I can and because i hate traffic. full disclosure: I also get a discounted monthly pass. I hate traffic partly because it makes me angry, but also because i feel so guilty. We all complain about congestion, and we consider ourselves outside it—”why is everyone else on the road RIGHT NOW??!”—and yet we are all a contributing factor in the traffic jam. If those of us who had a choice that morning had chosen a different mode of transit instead of a private automobile do you know what Moreland or I-20 or Ponce would look like?? Do you know how much less carbon monoxide fumes we’d be responsible for? (sitting in traffic, by the way, is the worst for toxic emissions).

But, as a book I’m reading in class correctly notes, “the low price and high convenience of private vehicle travel makes it the preferred mode of travel for most people most of the time.” By “low price” this book is implying that we are not adequately paying for our private vehicle privileges, that our roads and our gas and our driving is so subsidized that the real costs are never even considered, especially when their not all counted in dollars and cents:

The fundamental problem of the US urban transportations system is that private vehicle users do not pay the full costs of vehicle use. We automobile travelers do not fully pay for the health and environmental damage resulting from auto emissions, for the additional congestion we cause, or for the many other social and environmental problems… in addition, we pay only indirectly for parking and other services. This causes two problems. First, we use private vehicles more than we should from the perspective of society as a whole. Second, all other competitors to private vehicle travel are placed at a disadvantage.

if it was about the money and you put $5 in your car everyday to get you to work and back you might rethink taking it, and to be honest, most of us Atlians are putting more than that in everyday, go figure. But again, it’s not just the money and it’s not just about you or i.

That’s why I ride Marta.
and I understand that others do not feel the same way or feel able to make the same decisions, i just wish we could!

next time: affordable housing, walkability, etc. featuring H and M’s recent exploits in house hunting.

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