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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tell the Ohio Department of Transportation--What???

Tired of Ohio's defunct transportation system?  Want more alternatives beyond just getting in your car?  Tell the Ohio Department of Transportation to provide more funding for automobile-alternatives and complete streets.

Ohioans need transportation options that are sustainable, such as walking, biking, passenger rail, and public transit.  But to fully take advantage of these modes, we need efficient, robust systems that meet the needs of all users.
Ohio also needs safe streets that accomodate all people, not just automobile users.  Complete streets afford individuals safe transportation choices and a transportation system that is more diverse and less environmentally damaging.  ALL Ohioans' needs should be considered in road and transportation development projects.

Ohio's transportation system is failing to meet the needs of its users. Here are a few facts that illustrate the problem:
  • Ohio spends only $1.52 per person annually to fund public transit.
  • Congestion in Ohio has increased by about 2% every year for the last three decades.
  • Many Ohio households lack a motor vehicle, either by necessity or choice.
  • In Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati alone, tens of millions of gallons of fuel are wasted each year as a result of congestion.
  • Ohio's transportation system results in hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation-related healthcare costs each year.
This all is most likely true, probably very true at that, but the question is what to do about it. After all, more bike trails sound good, except for Ohio weather--2011 is a record setting year in precipitation and next year may be just as wet. This begs the question--who in their right mind is going to ride a bike to work in the rain or snow?After all, very few Ohioan live that close to their jobs. I know I take the freeways with all too many of my fellow Ohioans. We drive the freeways because we need, distance demands it.
Then, there is the problem of public transportation--buses. I remember being one of the few people who had a car to drive to work, which meant that more often than not I was called on to drive the cleaning crew to the customers.  As I recall, having driven a few co-workers to the bus station, that they usually had to take 3 or more buses to get to work and another 3 or more buses to get home, making getting around into a job in itself.
But then, again, I remember driving a couple of co-workers to the bus station. I remember the young man said that he took the bus 7 days a week, so I suggested that it sounds like he needs a car. The two of the literally laughed me to scorn to suggest that he work enough hour to pay for a car and to work enough hours for car insurance and to work enough hours to pay for the gas, that I was being silly, since the young man has a life and therefore can not work ALLLL those hours. 
What can I say, young men like him and women like her are another reason why so many people avoid taking the buses, even when the buses take them where they want to go.
I would love to be greener--if only . . . I could be without taking an hour or two or three to get to work and the same hours back.