This I Believe

Lois - Reinholds, Pennsylvania
Entered on February 18, 2007

I’m sitting here in a line of traffic on my way to work, just like you might be right now. This is not rush hour, but the traffic is lined up none the less – large trucks, cars, vans – all waiting to move along to wherever we’re going. And this is rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, not L.A., New York or Philadelphia. Traffic has increased in this area at an alarming rate and I don’t believe that we can possibly continue to build more roads for yet more cars and trucks. I have always believed we need to renew a mass transit system in the U.S., and I believe it now more than ever.

This morning’s newspaper speaks of an “interstate nightmare”. A Valentine’s Day snow and ice storm creating the worst havoc we’ve ever had on our major roadways. Interstates 78 and 81 were still partially closed 4 days after the storm, leaving motorists stranded for days. This nightmare began simply – an ice related accident where a truck blocked a ramp. This truck blocked more trucks, making access to the highway impossible for the snowplows to keep the roadway clear. A 50 mile backup occurred before traffic was diverted, which created traffic jams on other highways. As of 2 days later, the traffic was still being diverted onto the PA turnpike, where yet another accident closed it down for a time.

This was all weather related, you say, but think of it – 3 major arteries in PA were blocked – the minor roadways became strangulated and just getting to and from work became almost impossible. This all makes evacuation strategies seem very scary indeed. Think of Katrina. Think of your family stuck somewhere and unable to receive medical assistance. I believe we will continue to see more and more of these nightmares unless and until we do something.

I believe the time is ripe for us to be more accepting of public transportation. I believe we can’t continue to use up our farmland to build yet another bypass. I believe we cannot continue on this path we’re on – more cars, more roads, highway gridlock creating life-threatening situations, more pollution, global warming. I believe that it’s not fair to save this problem for our children. I believe we need to begin to solve this problem now.

I believe that we as a nation can gather our resources as we did to get a man to the moon. Talk about a focus on transportation! We created NASA to get a few men to the moon in a rocket, so why can’t we focus that same kind of enthusiasm to invent great systems of. people movers. London has The Tube; even Washington D.C. has the metro. Let’s get moving. I believe we can do this – I believe we must.