|Old mill - this is part of the potential site for the new bus/rail hub. The building was set on fire by a couple of teenagers almost two years ago now, though it hadn't been used for some time.|
I do believe that so much of this is centered around the reality that many residents are still completely tied to the idea of using their cars as the main source of transportation, and view it as their right to be able to drive wherever, whenever. I don't begrudge anyone their personal vehicle, but I think that having a usable, reliable public transportation system in place would help eliminate the traffic on roads, and would only benefit the folks who want to drive as well. I actually had a conversation with a local acquaintance a couple of years ago during which she said there is no way she would give up her car - that it was her personal freedom, and she would drive until the day she dies. I don't even know how to argue with someone who sees a car as personal freedom, but I also don't think I need to engage in an argument with someone over this topic. I do think that many would see the benefit of public transportation if it was accessible and easy to use, however, and that this would speak volumes to many different folks from all walks of life.
Denver is an approximate 75 mile (120km) round trip for residents of Longmont (depending on where one is going it could be slightly less or more), and having a rail system in place would make this so much easier and efficient, I believe. So, what do we do and how do we do it? If you are local, there is a planning meeting (otherwise known as an informal citizen brainstorming session) taking place on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 from 6-8p.m. at the public library (unfortunately, I will be in class and unable to attend). This meeting seems geared more toward trying to figure out how to develop the space around the future transportation hub than the transportation system itself, but it's a start (and is also very important to the vitality of the city). I'm wondering if there are readers who have had experience in dealing with a similar situation with public transportation and what your city and/or residents did to help encourage the project along. Even if you haven't had to deal with this, perhaps you live in a city that has a great transportation system and can offer advice to a smaller city that needs to be connected to a larger city through a mass transit system.
I don't have answers (as is typical), but I would love to see this project move forward quickly, and any thoughts, opinions, etc are certainly welcome.