I recently spent $1,500 on new brakes and tires for my Subaru, which refloated the fantasy I have long held under the surface reality of my suburban existence, the dream of life without a car.
In that life, I would ride a bike and trains. Also trolley cars, subways and buses. Maybe a scooter.
Today I’m nurturing that dream at the Connecticut Train Day symposium at Union Station in New Haven, where the topic is bicycling and commuter rail. Rail*Trains*Ecology*Cycling arranged the event, and provided some really good coffee.
Norman Garrick, director of the Center for Transportation and Urban Planning at the University of Connecticut, raised a lot of interesting ideas in an excellent slideshow:
- If you want to see bicycles and trains working together, go to Amsterdam.
- Portland, one of the first U.S. cities to bring back light rail, is thriving and its mass transit system is growing — along with bicycle use.
- For bikes to become part of the mass transit system, they have to become more familiar to the masses. People who don’t look great in Spandex need to feel comfortable on bikes.
- Our transportation system should be about access, not mobility. We want access to our jobs, our friends and our families, and we can have that without traveling endless miles if we sustain “vibrant, viable urban places.”
Think about it.