September 10, 2018
I snuck away on my motorcycle for a long ride for a few days.
I love riding — except when it’s raining. I don’t like that at all. We saw no rain since forever, until I decided to crawl on the back of a two-wheeled vehicle that has no protection from the elements and is a long way from my dry garage.
Oh, yeah, then, we got rain.
I’m pretty sure that I brought all of this rain by getting on a motorbike. Thank me later.
In other transportation news
We recently lost a great American.
I admire the way Senator John McCain lived his life and approached his service to our country, even while I didn’t always agree with his political positions,. Our nation, from the president’s office down to each individual American would do well to heed the advice in his farewell letter.
One piece of advice resonated with me:
We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement.
Austin can claim about a million of those opinionated, vociferous individuals. Not everyone is as vociferous as some, but we have arguably more than our fair share of raucous public debates. And by 2040, it’s estimated that Central Texas will be home to about 3 million more voices.
If you’ve been here 5 minutes, you know the number one thing we have in common is complaining about traffic.
After 10 minutes you’ve probably noticed that we have a de facto two-party system that drives (see what I did there?) the entire conversation about resolving our traffic woes. We’re forced to pick a side — roads vs. transit, rail vs. bus, roads vs. rail, toll vs. non-toll, cars vs. bikes, cars vs. pedestrians, cars vs. tractor-trailers.
And everyone vs. scooters.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
We’re beginning a serious discussion about the future of our transit system. The outcome will have very real implications for our community, both in terms of transportation and affordability.
As we start this needed and important discussion, let’s focus on a clear purpose: a safe, frequent, affordable, reliable and cost-effective system that can be up and running relatively quickly. Let’s also keep sight of what’s possible and practical.
We should work from today forward, not look back to what could have or should have been. Forget the scar tissue of yesterday and the old fights. Focus on what we have in common — the desire for a better quality of life and a more affordable community.
Lots of us have opinions. But no one is totally right because there are many of us to satisfy. We have to resist falling into an all-or-nothing, my-way-or-the-highway (I did it again) mentality.
This fall, Capital Metro will start the next chapter of that conversation, and I’m urging them to lead our community into the next decade with a forward-looking plan for a truly regional electric transit system that fits our community and positions us to take advantage of new technologies.
Going forward let’s ask four questions of any transit proposal. This will help us focus on outcomes, not necessarily a certain mode.
We’re privileged to live in an enormously prosperous community. The opportunities and possibilities here are seemingly endless. Let’s work together to define a path towards a future version of our community where everyone can access those opportunities, including those who need transit and those who will choose transit that’s done right.
Got your tickets?