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Let’s get loud about transit

Posted: 4:21PM January 6th, 2012 | Comments

Bill McKibben had a great Opinion piece in the New York Daily News yesterday.  He took a minute to thank transit operators in New York for the work they do to keep the amazing beast alive and (mostly) moving.  ((Mostly.))  

His premise is that the real "green jobs" we should herald are those which allow us to keep our consumption of fossil fuels down -- in New York's case, the subway conductors and bus drivers and horse-drawn carriage operators (why not?).  Solar and wind are important elements in a sustainable energy future but the emphasis is on future. Their widespread use is very probably assured given falling manufacturing costs and increases in the efficiency of design and implementation.  But it will be a long minute until their presence is universal or their operation is consistent with the wide range of natural conditions they require.

Meanwhile, cities are at their most sustainable when they give their residents reasons for reducing the needless clutter in their lives while maximizing the accessibility and the mixed-use possibilities of their neighborhoods.  New York is a green city because its transit options engender walking, biking, and riding over driving (often residents don't even need wheels to acquire their groceries, their prescriptions, and their toys) and every resident doesn't get a sprawling lawn or a three car garage (those are in Westchester and Greenwich, CT, and all points north...)

In Madison, we deserve the chance to put our money where our mouths are when it comes to being a "green" community.  Next Thursday, we'll have an opportunity to do just that.  Please make space on your calendar for a public listening session about long-range transportation finance, held at Sequoya Branch Library from 5 to 7pm.  It doesn't sound like the world's sexiest dinner plan, but public participation is so, so important.  When fares for the NYC Subway rise, you'd think you were living in riot-gear Paris.  New York elected officials know that the public voice is loud, and so it gets heard. 

It's time for us to raise the volume a bit and make sure Madison has the transit opportunties it deserves.






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