By Emma Struss
In what has come to be a daily ritual over this winter (with the temperatures dipping), I check the outdoor thermometer before leaving the house. How I should get to work: bike, walk, or drive? Three main factors are weighed into make my decision: time, road conditions and temperature. I know that biking takes 12 minutes, walking about 40 minutes, and driving just under 10. Transit as not an option in my commute. The estimated time it would take me to get to work by bus is 35 minutes – almost the same time as walking. Although some people manage to bike on ice and snow, I hold out for relatively clear roads, which leaves me either putting on my boots and walking when time allows, or driving. Driving usually wins out.
If there is something Minnesota winters have taught me, it is that transportation options are a must. Just as weather conditions change, so do our physical abilities and time limitations. However, one thing does not change: our responsibility to live in greater balance with the earth. We must continue to support and invest in sustainable transit options that provide safe, convenient, and affordable modes of transportation for every Minnesotan.
According to the Metropolitan Council, only 25% of metro area residents live near convenient transit service and many in Greater Minnesota have only minimal service. This is not acceptable, especially when we consider that by 2040, we’ll have twice as more seniors that want and need transit. We need to communicate with our legislators that Minnesota needs to fix its broken transportation system real with options. Car dependent transportation not only causes significant environmental problems, but also threatens the future of Minnesota’s economy. If Minnesota is to stay competitive with other U.S. cities such as Denver, Portland and Dallas, we must continue be able to get everyone to work regardless of age, physical ability or socioeconomic status. No one wants a lengthy, costly or dangerous commute. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice our time, wallet or well being to get to where we need to go.
Safe and convenient transit, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is a win-win investment. We’re stuck in traffic, and need action now. This is why the Sierra Club is teaming up with organizations across Minnesota to build a robust “Transit for a Stronger Economy” campaign, a commitment to give transportation in Minnesota a sustainable future. With your help, everyone wins!
Get involved! Join us for a Transit Advocates Leadership Training on Tuesday, February 5, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Augsburg College, Science Hall, Room 123. Dinner is provided, but RSVP is needed. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-659-9124 x307 to sign up, or for other opportunities to help.