Archive for October 2nd, 2018

Northampton Subway MapWhen traveling, I tend to judge a city, in large part, based on the robustness of its mass transit system. When I lived in New York City for a mere four months in the summer of 1977, I became rather adept at getting around via the subways.

From the Citylab article Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit? (Don’t Blame Cars): “One hundred years ago, the United States had a public transportation system that was the envy of the world. Today, outside a few major urban centers, it is barely on life support. Even in New York City, subway ridership is well below its 1946 peak. Annual per capita transit trips in the U.S. plummeted from 115.8 in 1950 to 36.1 in 1970, where they have roughly remained since, even as population has grown.”

In NYC, the aging infrastructure has caused much of the L line in Brooklyn to be overhauled. This will be a major disruption to the businesses in the area.

The Boston Globe notes: “Dozens of T stations are crumbling, corroding, and leaking, as revealed by a new, detailed inventory the feds now require transpo officials to keep. As reporter Adam Vaccaro writes: ‘…hundreds of MBTA properties — stations, garages, and parking lots — are in disrepair, from equipment that seems permanently broken to shabby surroundings that make the daily commute that much more unpleasant.'”

From the Citylab piece: “This [abandonment] has not happened in much of the rest of the world. While a decline in transit use in the face of fierce competition from the private automobile throughout the 20th century was inevitable, near-total collapse was not… [They slashed expenditures instead of] improving service to stay competitive. This drove even more riders away, producing a vicious cycle that led to the point where today, few Americans with a viable alternative ride buses or trains.”

I’ve gotten around fairly well without a car in San Francisco (1988), Atlanta (1995), San Diego (2003), and Washington, DC (2018). I can get around much of Albany sans motorized vehicle if I have to, though Sundays are tougher. Having a car in Toronto (2011) was actually a hindrance. The car was parked in the hotel lot, and we didn’t use it for five days.

Unfortunately, the American attitude, as Shooting Parrots pointed out, inspired an American company to come up with their Seat Saver’ range of fake food and drink spills “to discourage people sitting next to them on public conveyances.”

For ABC Wednesday

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