Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why You Need Mass Transit!

Last night driving home, I came up behind an automobile driving at about fifteen miles per hour, with a disabled license plate and the blinker on signaling a left turn. As you might guess, after five or six blocks when I finally got tired of following the car and pulled over and passed on the right, I looked over and the driver was a little old man hunched over the steering wheel. He had to be over eighty if he was a day.

Now my Dad is eighty, and he still gets around pretty well, but he no longer drives in cities (he lives in a medium-size town). People function in different ways as they age, but I have to admit that I doubted that the man driving that car really should be still driving.

Then this morning on my way to work, I had to slow to avoid a mobility scooter in the right lane. It made me remember one day when I saw a whole convoy of those scooters, more than a dozen running down the highway over in far east Dallas. Later someone told me it was a group from a senior housing development on their way out to eat. Apparently it was a regular occurrence in that neighborhood.
Now, I know people need and want to get out. People need to buy groceries, go to the hair salon, get to the doctor and whatever other activities are important to them. But if you’re under forty-five, then you really need to think about whether you want all of the millions of us baby boomers clogging up the highways, driving our scooters or going for miles in the left lane with our blinkers on.

If I were a young person, I’d be thinking we better build a bunch of trains and streetcars everywhere, before things got so bad that I couldn’t even drive to work in the morning with dodging hoards of scooters—knowing baby boomers, we’d drive in all the lanes.

Mass transit takes a long time to build. If I were you, I’d start now, before all of us baby boomers turn eighty.

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