Saturday, August 1, 2009

Low Car Diet: Public Transport in Minnesota

For the past week or so Jeff and I have been visiting my family in Minnesota. Since we're still on our Low Car Diet, we've been looking for ways to limit our trips in cars. But when you're outside the city, it's really hard!

There are options - we have bikes, there are buses, and Minneapolis has a light rail system. There is even a zip car at the University of Minnesota. But out in the suburbs things are a lot farther apart than in the city, and it's really built to accommodate cars.

My friends that live downtown in Minneapolis are pretty good at making use of the bus system, and when we're with them, it's easier to avoid driving. We went to a Twins game and saw the light rail in action, though we didn't end up using it ourselves. It is cool how much the light rail has helped post-game traffic, though. I think Minneapolis would be a good candidate for more zip cars if it had just a bit more public transport - maybe an expansion of the light rail to include more locations.

Either way, it makes me appreciate how many options there are in DC. When I'm going out, I can usually walk - my work, stores, and restaurants are all within a mile. I can bike if I'm going a little further. Or, if I'm headed out even further, for example to the University of Maryland, I can take the metro. Though any one of these things might work, having all of the options makes it seem a lot easier.

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