Urban, transit, parks, traffic, highway, communications and more, much more – all require planning. A lot of planning to work successfully. Reading about the events in Atlanta this week made me think more about this. A couple of inches of snow and some slick ice caused epic traffic jams, gridlock, pain, boredom, and sadly, even several fatalities. Poor planning to say the least.
Now much is always written about cities with no history of snow or ice and how few snow plows they own etc. but this could have been avoided. Alert businesses that they must adjust opening times based on the first letter in their name. Tell people to stay home – before the event. Tell people to ride their bikes in (Sorry I had to throw that in) to work. It would have been a bit comical but bikes move much better than cars in this weather. I know, I know, nobody has studded tires on their bikes. Lower the seat so you can put both feet on the ground when things gets dicey. Done and done.
As I write the Twin Cities is getting about an inch per hour of snowfall right in the middle of rush hour. Everyone will be late to work but the system is moving, albeit slowly. I was waiting for the bus on Marshall and Cretin and watching traffic. I was thinking surely in the 5 minutes I’m waiting that I’ll see a fender bender. Instead traffic was moving very slowly but steadily. One (only one) cyclist rode by on his or her (couldn’t tell through the gear) fat bike and was moving faster than traffic by a wide margin.
I didn’t really want to write about the above this morning but the words fell onto the keyboard. What I really want to write about is personal planning in a car-light or car-free world.
We have a car, an awesome, go-through-any-depth-snow mid 90’s Volvo that seems to be indestructible. My wife (not a winter cyclist) had to be at work early this morning so she took the car. Then I started planning.
Work is only about 4 miles away. My commuter bike simply won’t move in 5″ of fresh snow. I’ve tried and it resulted in more walking than riding. So….bus? train? Car2Go? walk? Combo? OMGtransit.com? GoogleMaps?
Each required it’s own plan and there were certain criteria I wanted to consider.
Do I want to minimize the amount of walking in the deep stuff?
Do I want to minimize wait time at the bus stop?
Do I want to just stay home and work here? (an option on most days but not today)
Do I want the shortest trip time?
The most important criterion for me was to ensure that I’d get some time at Blue Moon coffee – where I’m writing this. Still most options were on the table.
I opted for simple. I went on OMGtransit.com a very cool real time scheduler for bus routes and determined when I should leave. I can bore you with the details but suffice to say, two buses and 25 minutes later, I was here with my coffee and sweet. I was even treated to the ballet of the traffic during my transfer wait.
Point is, if you want to leave your car at home, it’s easy. It just requires a bit of planning. Of course the “easiest” plan would have been to drive my wife to work and take the car. I think if I had taken that option, I’d still be in the car – cursing.
Stay safe everyone!
Re-posted from Minneapolize.com