Friday, February 20, 2015

More suburbs should ride the SMART bus

I added my opinion of "The Walking Man's" plight to conclude James Robertson ABC's Person of the Week.*
I found this a heartwarming story of human persistance and empathy leading to a success of charity, but I also found it illustrated the failure of mass transit in metro Detroit, where more than half of the jobs are beyond the reach of public transit, including Robertson's.  As a believer in public transportation who worked on the subway in Los Angeles, expanding and improving service for public transportation here is something for which I'll advocate.
I wasn't alone in thinking this way.   Yesterday, the head of SMART finally took the oppoturnity to advocate for the bus system.  WXYZ reported the announcement in SMART Bus system asking more communities to get on board.

The SMART Bus system is asking more communities to get on board and use the busses in the wake of James Robertson's story.
The Detroit Free Press also covered the announcement and read the letter sent to mayors and other municipal leaders.  They thought that it wasn't strong enough.  Here's the newspaper's recommended version from its editorial Support for transit? Not with this letter.
Dear elected official,

By now, you've probably heard the story of James Robertson, the Detroiter who walks 21 miles to and from work. If you were moved by his plight, here's something you might like to know: If your community opted out of the SMART's regional bus service, there are people walking to work in your own community.

It's a terrible situation — for the commuters who are walking, for the business owners who must depend on a challenged system to reliably transport employees to work, and for our growth and prosperity as a region.

So let's do something about it. Your community opted out of SMART years ago, but you can opt in. SMART has a team of experts on staff that can examine your transit needs, make a plan, and get your constituents on board.

Let's talk.

Speaking of the recipients of the original letter, two of the municipalities that WXYZ mentioned, Canton Township and the City of Livonia, are ones I've repeatedly pointed out to my students as non-participants in SMART, ones that leave a noticeable gap in the service area.  I know they have their reasons, but I think they are stupid, out-of-date, and shameful in addition to being anti-sustainability.  Here's to hoping that they get on board the SMART bus.

Follow over the jump for the footnote.

*This entry is now the most popular one of this month, this calendar year, and this blogging year with 1767 page views.  It's also the second most popular in the history of the blog, behind only Eye spy the gas price rollercoaster about to coast down like a parachute with 1988 page views.  That happened because I shared it on Join the Coffee Party Movement's Facebook page, and the entry earned 565 clickthroughs from the Coffee Party USA Facebook page in 2 days!

It's not the only one of my entries to benefit from being shared on the Coffee Party's Facebook page.  On April 27, 2014, I accidently shared Game of Thrones--names, geology, and security theater there instead of the Crazy Eddie's Motie News page.  The security theater part was on topic, but the rest wasn't.  I discovered my error within a couple of hours and deleted the link from the Coffee Party page before reposting to this blog's page.  Just the same, it got hundreds of page views, enough to put on the all-time top ten list.  It's currently inn 10th place on the all-time list with 695 (official) views.  The two entries are the only ones from this blogging year so far to make the all-time top ten list.  Behold the power of the Coffee Party's Facebook page!

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