My friend Valerie pointed me to the Sustainable Transportation Vermont blog, and I’ve found it refreshingly grounded and practical. My favourite post so far as been Walking the Walk, about the appointment of Curt McCormack as chair of the Vermont House Transportation Committee:
Representative McCormack does not own a car.
In past years, the main function of the committee has been to approve the state’s $600 million transportation budget, most of which has been dedicated to making it easier for people to get places in a car.
Which makes sense, given the fact that for almost a century this country has enabled the automobile to permeate every aspect of our lives. Pretty much anytime we go anywhere, it’s in a car.
But Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson wants to shift the Transportation Committee’s focus this year to offer Vermonters, especially those living in more rural parts of the state, more affordable travel options. McCormack, she said, is the ideal person to oversee an effort to expand rural public transit because of his lived experience. He’s not just an occasional bus rider. He depends on transit to get around, which is the status of the many bus riders who cannot afford their own vehicle. McCormack’s years riding the bus, getting to know his drivers and fellow passengers, experiencing the system’s frustrations as well as its benefits, will bring a unique and valuable perspective to his chairmanship.
I’m convinced that we would have significantly better infrastructure in place for walking and bicycling Charlottetown if we hadn’t had generations of city councillors who’ve seldom if ever walked or bicycled as part of their daily commute.
I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to see this change now that we have a mayor who’s also a cyclist: I’m joining the Mayor’s Task Force on Active Transportation this month–we meet for the first time next week–and I hope this group can be part of making that change.