Friday, August 10, 2012

Re: Traffic in Austin

In his post, Traffic in Austin, Robert Anderson argues that we need to invest our money into a better roadway infrastructure in Austin. He talks about the increase in business, the benefits for the economy, and the benefits for the environment.

He argues that businesses would benefit because people would be able to get to work faster, and thus spend more time working. I would add that they would be less stressed, and thus more productive with their time.

He argues of the benefits for the environment, saying that it would reduce time spent on the road, and thus reduce pollution. I agree.

I do, however, think that there's another alternative. Better public transportation. I just got back from spending three weeks in Spain, and the thing that impressed me most in Madrid was the public transportation system. I ride the bus and train here, and ride my bike as well. For example, I was at the Rio Grande Campus for the first half of the summer. I had to walk 4 blocks uphill from my class to the bus stop, wait half an hour, ride the bus farther north than my house, catch another bus 15 minutes after that one let me off, and then walk just over a mile to my house. (A mile wasn't far enough for me to bring my bike.) It took me about 2 hours after my class was over to get home. When I go to NRG in the fall, I ride 3 miles to the train station on my bike, wait for the train, and take it, and then catch the bus to campus.

In Spain, there was a bus stop 100 feet from our hotel, and a metro stop about 200 feet away. At the metro stop, you didn't worry if you walked in right as the train was leaving. There would be another one running the exact same route in less than 5 minutes. And they were fast, you could get almost anywhere in the city in half an hour, and that included walking time.

I think we need to implement a system like theirs, where trains and busses run more often, and run to more places. I saw very few cars, and lots of people walking, and riding the metro there. I believe that doing this would cut down on traffic issues, benefit the environment, and benefit the economy, and would be a healthier solution than simply improving our roads.

I'm also going to throw in a poem I wrote in high school about being stuck in traffic. Enjoy. Or else.

Two miles.
So long to go,
a mere two miles.
The fog, mixed like a drink with poison,
containing cigarette smoke,
gasoline fumes.
So oppressive.
Oh, to be late for work,
to blame: others.
The infinite line of cars,
creating a road with their roofs
stretching on, forever.
Not a break in sight.
The feeling of their radios,
beating, like a heart.
The slow, low growl, of the engines
drinking, slowly, great, hulking beasts.
Awaiting their chance to pounce,
for the smallest space.
Heat, increasing, dissipating the fog.
Almost, as if drinking the poison.
Still remaining, smells.
Cigarettes, and the heating asphalt.
Bubbling, like a anger,
the anger of impatience.
All in a day's trip to work.

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