Thursday, June 7, 2012

Girl, in Transit: Another big week for transit

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge Ashleybusstop1small.jpg

This is part of a series of stories by Kimmel, who's given up her car and is relying primarily on public transit.

Earlier this year when I traded in my car for a bus pass, I didn't think that I'd be just one of 400,000 others in the City. And the number of riders continues to grow. This week, the American Public Transportation Association released data stating that the number of IndyGo riders increased nearly twenty percent in the first three months of 2012, compared to the first three months of 2011. This gave Indianapolis the seventh-largest increase in bus ridership of all U.S. cities.

Of course this can be partially credited to the Super Bowl ridership numbers, but I can vouch for an increase in ridership on the normal routes that I ride, just by what I've experienced firsthand. I've also noticed an increase in diversity to boot.

Also this week, the Complete Streets bill was introduced to the City-County Council. I touched on Complete Streets in a prior post, but in short, if passed, the ordinance will ensure that roadways are designed with all users in mind: pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, elderly and disabled people, as well as cars, and would require planners to incorporate sidewalks, bike lanes, medians and other forms of transit infrastructure into plans from the beginning. Several organizations in Indianapolis, including Health by Design, INDYCOG and AARP, have been working to pass the ordinance in Indianapolis.

Passing this ordinance will get even more cars off the road and more people on their feet, bikes or buses. And we all know the benefits of decreased car ownership that I often harp on: less congestion, lower obesity rates, cleaner air, accessibility, etc. etc. etc.

There's a petition that I strongly believe should have your signatures on it, but you should educate yourselves first. Signing the petition will tell the City of Indianapolis that you support a city that considers all forms of transportation options for all people who use the streets in all ways. Right now is the time to call your City-County Councillors and ask them to vote 'yes' on the ordinance.

While you're at it, take a few more minutes to give your approval for the bill that would increase funding for extra bus routes in the area. This one fell through the cracks this year, but a similar bill is in the works.

Though the transit bill won't be introduced again until 2013, the Complete Streets ordinance is something you can do your part to support right now. If you have any concern for the future of our transportation, and our city as a whole, and if you'd like an even larger increase in transit ridership, I urge that you at least educate yourself. And maybe tell your friends.

And now I'm stepping off my pedestal...

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