This morning I biked downtown. It was fun biking down there, becuase I got to go downhill most of the way and along the river so it looked nice. The green's starting to come back too, so it was looking pretty good.
The reason I went down was for the Metropolitan Council hearing on proposed MetroTransit fare and service changes. I guess it's kinda the first of my community activism career, even though I didn't do or say anything. They had a short presentation to outline the changes, which include cutting weekend and evening service on many bus routes here in the Twin Cities, plus raising the fares 25¢ across the board.
It was then followed by over two hours of people giving their opinion on the changes. Naturally, most of the community is against the changes. There were many people there, mostly disabled persons, who gave concrete examples of how the changes will significantly impair their life. It was also refreshing to see some professional businesspeople (non-disabled) complaining about the cuts, mostly becuase I believe that bus transit is for more people than just the disabled.
Unfortunately, there's not much that the Metropolitan Council can do about it. What needs to happen is that Governor Pawlenty and the State Legislature needs to know that we need better transit. I think that right now we should not be cutting back, but be overspending on mass transit in order to make a world-class system. It's amazing to me that some well-reputed sources can claim Minneapolis one of the best places in the world to live when you have to drive your car almost everywhere. I think we need to spend lots of money on transit to make a system with bus and rail integrated and covering more. Too bad the frickin' politicans in office just like all the traffic.
Some of the facts presented by citizens were questionable, but one sounded interesting. They claimed that the most subsidized form of transit is your car or truck. I believe it. If Detroit had their way, there'd be no public transit and just lots and lots of highways. Fifty years ago, Minnapolis/St. Paul had a world-class streetcar system, but the automobile industry managed to somehow put them out of business. Only now are we recovering from that. I fear that if we don't do something about Minnesota's transit, it'll be another fifty years of medocre transit. I hope that doesn't happen.
The bike ride back was a bit more hectic, but I liked it. I had to bike through downtown and decided to go up the big hill, but I made it pretty well. Plus, I like workin' out.