I love Public Transportation
The one thing I hate most about Houston (where I live when I’m not off wandering the globe) is the dearth of transportation options. Ok that’s not entirely true, I also hate mosquitos, traffic and the fact our summers ALWAYS reach triple digits. But I digress. The thing I hate most about Houston is the lack of ability to transport myself anywhere without the aid of a motor.
Houston has a bus system but it isn’t the most connected system. The light rail (which cost hundreds of millions of dollars and services about an 8 mile stretch from near the med center to downtown) is great, if you live close by or don’t mind paying to park and then paying to ride…. But all in all, our public transport here sucks!
I remember going to DC and NYC when I was younger and using their subway system. It always felt so easy to get where I needed to be, even if you had to change lines (granted the first few times I always had someone with me to point me in the right direction). Then the summer I spent abroad we walked everywhere. Sure some days it was tiring and I wanted to bitch about it or it was hot and I wanted to bitch more, but I could eat two whole pizzas in one day and I didn’t gain an ounce so clearly the walking thing was not that bad. Not to mention human traffic jams are WAY less infuriating than the ones with cars.
I’ve been back to Europe a few more times since that first trip. To France in 2009 (literally walking all over, taking the metro from the airport to the hotel and then taking the RER out to Versailles, Mt St Michael etc), to Munich in 2011 (walking from the hotel to the tram stop then taking the tram with Kilted Scotsmen to Oktoberfest), to Montreal in 2012 (getting off at the wrong stop because sometimes I have blonde moments and then walking to where I wanted to be) and to Stockholm in 2014 (again from the airport into the city and all over with more walking down cobblestone streets which technically could be described as a hazard to my health but they are just so damn pretty!) public transport has been seamless! I love walking and taking the subway/metro/tram whatever its called wherever. It’s basically going to somewhere without actually thinking. All I have to keep in mind are my stops and I’m golden!
When I went to San Francisco is 2013 that was the first time since DC or New York that I had taken major transit in the US. San Fran isn’t bad, better than Houston but not on par with DC or NYC. The Muni, the Bart and the buses don’t overlap very well. For example, I was going to try to take a combination of them all from my hotel near the wharf to a pub in Haight Ashbury to meet some old high school friends but according to google maps the shortest route would would have taken 2 hours. The cab ride at 60 miles an hour up rainy hills was much faster (however I may had several heart attacks along the way). And then I pulled another genius move when I was trying to go to Haight Ashbury the first time during my stay and somehow ended up in Oakland. Word to the wise, Do not always trust phone apps…
When I go up to Austin to visit friends I usually rent a bike to ride along their fancy boardwalk that lines the dammed up river in the heart of the city. I have a bike here at home. I’ve been riding it a great deal lately despite the 100 F temps and I can’t wait for it to be cooler so I can ride it to work (although I really have to plan out the route because the mean streets of Houston are not bike friendly)!
So what’s the point of this post you ask? The point is, get it together USA, Houston more specifically. It is proven scientific fact that the cities where people walk or ride bikes or even subways for that matter more often than they use cars have a better quality of life which could in part be due to the fact they are healthier but also because they don’t have road rage. Also car repairs are expensive….
I took this picture with a Kodak Point and Shoot in 2002 of a DC subway entrance/exit.