By Kathleen Murphy, guest blogger and TLC member
As a long-time active member with Transit for Livable Communities (TLC), I am very passionate in my fight for better options for transit riders. I believe that communities need the support of their legislators to come together for a better transit future for Minnesota.
Being disabled and dependent on public transit for getting around on a daily basis, I feel that the needs of transit riders, disabled people, and seniors are not being fully met. We lack transit options. As a region, our transit planning takes way too many years before it ever gets to the building stage. On a daily basis, for people like me, it is very challenging to get around, especially in the summer months when road construction causes bus stops to be temporarily moved. It has been said, “If you want to get more exercise in your day, take the bus!” We transit riders do a lot of walking in the summer just to get to the bus stop.
I live in Richfield. It can be very hard to get around in areas of the metro where bus service is limited—especially when you cannot drive or when you don’t drive because you do not have a car. In my volunteer work with TLC, I often need to attend workshops or member meetings at the TLC office in Saint Paul or go to the state Capitol for hearings or to talk with legislators. Getting to Saint Paul at times can take up to 2 hours, with transfers from bus to light rail or to another bus. I have to hope that I will get there on time and not be late for a meeting or miss an event at the Capitol completely because my connections were not good.
Public transit is essential for many transit riders, including people with disabilities.
I do talk with many disabled transit riders like myself who have limited mobility, people using wheel chairs and dependent totally on transit for getting around. Winters can be tough and construction areas along transit routes are even tougher!
I feel there is a great need to make riding the bus and light rail a lot better. We need, as transit riders, to step up to the plate and demand better options for all! There are so many new roads and bridges being built, it is time to make it happen for public transportation. Let’s keep transit moving forward as we did in the beginning with the Hiawatha light rail line that opened back in 2004. Now the Central Corridor light rail line is under construction and opening in 2014. It will connect communities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
The Hiawatha light rail line opened in 2004. The next light rail line under construction, the Central Corridor line, will open in 2014.
I am so excited that the Central Corridor line is close to being completed—I will finally get to those Capitol happenings on time and not be late for my important meetings with TLC! There will be less congestion on the highways and more people deciding to take public transit to get around. Light rail lines are more reliable than sitting in a lane on those congested highways and not moving. I see a future of less congested highways when more people give up driving their car and use the light rail and buses for a better way of getting moving.
The Southwest LRT, the next light rail line in the plan for the region’s transit system, will bring better access to jobs for people fighting to get back in the work force, and better options for those who are limited in getting around because they have no car. We all need to keep up the pressure so that the Southwest light rail can begin construction in 2014.