Every once in a while I read an article about an elected official in some town riding the bus to work. It’s a great way for mayors and councilors to check in on the current state of their public transportation system and start thinking about how they can work to make those systems better. Toledo’s Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz has agreed to take the bus to work once each week, and points out some of the benefits of public transit: “It is convenient, affordable. Everything about it is positive. From a health standpoint, it is pointed out to me — and I agree — that I could use the exercise.” I know most of our elected officials in the Richmond area are part-time, and those from Chesterfield and Henrico would have a much harder time getting to work via bus (and in the former’s case, impossible). But I’d love to see those that could make a public commitment to take the bus to work—maybe just once a week for the next month?
AROUND THE REGION
Catherine Komp at Virginia Currents has a great piece on the newly-opened Front Porch Cafe in Richmond’s East End. The Cafe is an excellent place to get coffee, but it’s also a great place to employ young people. Later on in the article, Councilmember Newbille weighs in on the need for a good public transportation network to connect young people—and all people, really—to the region’s jobs. Luckily, the #7 bus runs right past the Front Porch Cafe.
This piece in Business Insider, while not specifically about Richmond, speaks to the same issues brought up by Councilmember Newbille in the previous link: “America's highly segregated and car-dependent cities and counties make it difficult for many workers to reach the facilities where the jobs are. And the jobs are increasingly is the suburbs.” Interesting side note, a lot of the research in this article comes from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Indianapolis is one of the 20 finalists for Amazon’s HQ2, and here’s a letter to the editor at the Indy Star that points out why: “One of the requirements Amazon stipulated is direct access to mass transit, such as rail, subway or bus lines. The system we’ve had for decades – and still have today – wouldn’t qualify, but, fortunately, progress is underway thanks to Marion County voters, who approved a tax increase in 2016 that’s allowing the Marion County Transit Plan to be implemented.”
Now for your regularly scheduled update on Nashville’s transit funding initiative! Mayor Megan Barry’s transit referendum proposal has passed the second of three votes required to put it on the ballot this May. The next, and final, vote will take place on February 6th.