I was talking to a friend a couple of days ago, who has finally become mobile again after being without a car for a long stretch of time. He lives in the burbs….hates it….and was comparing it to living in prison. Well, yeah. I can imagine. The thought of living in the suburbs, to me, is tantamount to that very thing. Prison. There isn’t enough money to pay me to live in the burbs.
Although raised in a rural area, my heart has always had an urban beat. I have a car….a nice one…but it stays parked about 80% of the time. I love our state-of-the-art public transportation here in Portland. I love it in New York. I love it in Boston, in L.A., in London. I also love the trolly that runs near my friend’s house in New Orleans….I am an advocate of public transport. Period.
Here in Portland, there is a large designated area downtown where passengers can ride the MAX light rail or a trolly free of charge. To get downtown, I merely walk 1 block from where I live, and can hop on within 10 minutes and be downtown in under 15. There is an iPhone app that tells me which carrier is nearest and what the best travel options are. It tells me if a bus is running late or if taking the MAX (our light rail) would be the better option.
No worries about parking or traffic….none of that nonsense. I live within walking distance of virtually anywhere I’d want to go anyway, so I usually either walk or ride my bike. The only time I drive, really, is either to go across town to pick up Ingrid, or to go out of town. The rest of the time, I bus or take the train…and I love it.
It is good to get to know the public transportation system in a city. It is a freeing endeavor. It makes one’s life easier, is better for the environment, and is simply the smart thing to do. It gets you outdoors, puts you in touch to a greater level, really makes you feel a part of things, and is quite nice, actually.
I love Portland. I’ve got a ticket to ride. Here…and elsewhere.