Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

The Washington Post's Sunday Source (requires login) has two public transit-based features with detailed directions. It's like having a Hop Stop, except The Post includes suggested destinations. (For the sake of whining, it's still not fair Hop Stop, that you haven't included Baltimore in your cities, yet.)

The section's feature details places to camp without a car ("Car-Free Camping") and includes Greenbelt Park, Lake Fairfield Park, Little Bennett Regional Park, and Watkins Regional Park with detailed routes and precise directions listing the distance from DC (the parks vary in Maryland and Virginia), routes and station names, and the distance of the park from the last stop (which vary from a few blocks to more than a mile). Kudos, Washington Post! The more precise and patient directions are to get somewhere by way of transit, the smoother and less anxious the ride. The article also lists C&O Canal National Park as a destination that can be reached by bike.

A sidebar also lists trails that are accessible by transit, listing several hiking clubs and general directions ["Hit the Trail (Leave the Tent)"] .

The Source joyously themes its RoadTrip column by focusing on DC's Circulator, a $1 fare bus that connects central destinations in the city. Whether the stops the column lists are for you are irrelevant in the face of my utter joy: a map that uses a city sponsored bus. An affordable bus (day passes are $3). Museums, theatres, food, drink, and attractions round out the trip and include the heinously overpriced Spy Museum and the very intriguing National Museum of Crime and Punishment. (The column also includes the National Archives, high five!)

As gas rises ridership increases. I'm wary of the news stories proclaiming this is the way to go--I distrust non-proficient riders more than I fear becoming one--and worry that cities nationwide can't afford to support the riders. I want to believe the increase in attention to transit will bring money to these operations but more cities think that taxing outrageously expensive gas will aid transit, but I'll say it again: that brings more stigma to everyday riders. In DC there's not much stigma because there isn't much parking, but taxing drivers in Virginia, an automobile-based landscape, will heighten frustration, even if it doesn't pass legislation.

It's nice to see fresh ideas and ways to use what is available and I appreciate The Source features over the tired news story any day. :)

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