[*BCM*] I digress

Thomas John Vitolo tjvitolo at bu.edu
Sun Oct 17 17:50:52 EDT 2004

> Ha HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa......Ha
> http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/10/17/commuting_troubles_
> get_worse_in_mass/

Seems to me that the lengthening (distance and time) of commutes is a lot of
things; funny isn't one of them.  As the article pointed out, it means more
pollution, more consumption of fossil fuels (from the Middle East too!), and
less time that kids get to spend with their parents.  Oh -- it also means more
tax dollars spent building and repairing roads that bicycles aren't allowed
anywhere near.

The MBTA website has some great links to proposed enhancements to the subway and
commuter rail lines, and some really interesting data on population density, car
ownership, and property values as a function of distance to the nearest commuter
rail stop.

You would think that increased automobile costs and travel time would improve
the odds of more folks taking mass transit/carpooling/moving closer to
work/telecommuting/etc.  Maybe it has -- after all, ridership in Mass has stayed
constant whereas other cities have seen a drop.

Still though, it seems to me that the MBTA could be better.  More money would
certainly help, and extending lines/shortening trips would go a long way toward
increasing ridership.  So, instead of just laughing at the problems, may I

 * Point family, friends, and coworkers to:
if cycling or walking is too great a distance / too dangerous / too uncomfortable.
 * Contact Mass public officials (Romney, DiMasi, Travaglini, and your state
senator & rep) by using the following page:

 * Encourage your peoples to stay/move into the city.  Closer to city == shorter
commute == more of your life back.

 * Lobby for more HOV lanes on highways.  It rewards the carpoolers, and more
carpoolers means fewer cars to clog up the roads, and less wasted fuel.

Me, I'm a grad student who lives 150 yards from his office.  However, I work out
at Lincoln Laboratory 1 to 5 days a week -- which is a 40 minute walk/subway
ride to MIT, and then another 50 minutes to Lexington.  So, there's a 2.5 to 3
hour commute round-trip.  It's an awfully long time, and there's nothing I can
do to shorten it except to buy a car.

Even if you're not the one stuck in traffic, you still pay some of the costs. 
It's your air, your tax dollars towards the roads, your planet's wasted fossil
fuels, and maybe your neighbor's kids who are neglected.

Thomas John Vitolo
Ph D Systems Engineering Candidate,
Boston University

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