I grew up taking the Crosstown 2 and the Central 3 just about anywhere I needed to go, in Windsor, Ont. So I understand the need for public transit.
Unlike many of the people who tell us all about how wonderful buses are, I relied on buses for years. Which is why I understand that almost everyone who rides the bus wants a car.
They don’t want to time their daily activities around the bus schedule. They don’t want to stress out about staying late at work and missing the last bus. They don’t want to stand in the cold, waiting 40 minutes for the next bus because the last one showed up five minutes early.
And being totally honest, I didn’t really like sitting next to the awful smelling guy who muttered and cursed aloud. I remember one man getting on the bus, bloodied and bruised. I remember another man hopping on the bus wearing hand cuffs.
Yes, I understand that some people need buses. I understand the big box chains and grocery stores and other low-wage-paying businesses appreciate taxpayer-funded transportation for their workers. I understand that buses can reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and help the environment.
I’m supportive of that at a certain level – nowhere near the level of many mass transit enthusiasts.
So that’s why I took about 10-15 minutes and filled out the SEMCOG 2045 Regional Transportation Plan online survey.
In the survey, you use an interactive map to point out the major transportation issues you deal with. I chose the Platt and Michigan intersection and the lack of bike paths on US 12.
On the last page of the survey, you’re asked to prioritize your transportation dollars. The survey gives you 16 stars to spend over eight categories. I spent five on pavement and bridges. I spent five on safety. I spent four on biking and walking facilities and two on traffic congestion, leaving nothing for advanced technology, environment, border crossings and transit.
I was not surprised to see my priorities way out of line with the average result.
Then again, the kind of people who typically know about SEMCOG transportation surveys are government employees and special interests dreaming of a big construction bid.
Visit the website and add your voice. The more people who answer, the more likely it is we’ll get a transportation plan that solves issues people care about. By the way, SEMCOG, you do yourself no favors starting a transportation survey with a bunch of questions about stormwater runoff and wetlands.
If you haven’t already visited, click here.