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Public Transportation

How do we, as vegans, create sustainable lifestyles and practices? How does being vegan shape your choices as a consumer?

Re: Recycle and Public Transportation

Postby Ariann » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:05 am

I am theoretically pro-public transit, but it rarely works out to be a good bargain for where I'm trying to go, in terms of either expense or time. I find that incredibly frustrating. I might be willing to spend another half hour going in each direction if it wasn't going to cost me just as much and involve considerably more walking in the freeze.
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Re: Recycle and Public Transportation

Postby debiguity » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:47 am

[quote="Ariann";p=501]I am theoretically pro-public transit, but it rarely works out to be a good bargain for where I'm trying to go, in terms of either expense or time. I find that incredibly frustrating. I might be willing to spend another half hour going in each direction if it wasn't going to cost me just as much and involve considerably more walking in the freeze.
This is how I felt as well (aside from the walking - it was the *waiting* for transfers that was the issue), though I also think that the time spent on public transit can often be more like time gained...after all, time spent on a bus or train is time you can do something other than stare at the road, while in the car you must keep your attention on your driving. (I know this is partially my wishful thinking, but that doesn't change the fact that people *should* keep their attention on their driving.)

I live 13.5 miles from work, and it's a reverse commute so it is a 25-30 minute car trip or a 2 hour bus+metro+bus trip, primarily because of the wait times to transfer from bus to metro to bus. It seems outrageous to me, and I never could bring myself to use public transit to get to/from work because of this huge difference in the time spent on the trip.

Then I realized I could bike. It takes me just over an hour each way, and I likely eat more in extra food than I save in gas, but I no longer feel guilty about not going to the gym, I've gained a sort of surfer zen which makes work much more pleasant, and I am less cold riding than I would be waiting for the bus, or even in my vehicle. And, that's 6,000 miles/year that I'm not wasting petroleum products and otherwise doing damage to the environment. win-win-win as far as I'm concerned!
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Re: Public Transportation

Postby Ariann » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:44 pm

That's really great you're able to bike! For awhile I was trying to bike places, but I ran into a few problems. I live in a really hilly area that I can't imagine ever being fit enough to conquer, plus I'm afraid of the downhill part. The other thing is showing up to places sweaty and having to figure out how to make myself presentable when I get there. When I worked 2.5 miles away (up a big hill I definitely couldn't bike up), I would walk both ways and bring a whole change of clothes + shoes and tidying up stuff so I'd look okay to work. My major commute now is 30+ miles to a different state carrying a bunch of books (and a growing fetus), so not so possible.

When I was working in Manhattan, I took the train in, then the subway up town and there was minimal wait and I had enough time to get off the subway a mile early and walk leisurely to work (something about having no above-ground time before work skeeves me out). That was pretty nice. But of course it took me an hour and forty-five minutes to get to work instead of just 45 minutes.

I don't find train/bus time useful because of the distraction of people, occasional motion sickness, plus utter exhaustion at the end of the day eats up the ability to do other work on the commute. I wind up just listening to music which is what I do in the car.
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Re: Public Transportation

Postby debiguity » Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:35 am

I have some pretty big hills too, and they still make me tired! My views on hills is that there's no shame in walking up them if needed, though the hills do slow you down. And make you sweaty!

I was afraid of the downhill part too, at first! Now I just love those parts, and I bomb down them like a maniac. A vigilant maniac wearing bright reflective clothing and lights, it's true, but I do love those downhills!

I carry all my work clothes (minus the shoes, which stay at work) and food with me because there's really no easy way to dress for the weather+bike exertion and work at the same time. Some people do, but it seems like so much work to me, especially if you have hills to deal with. A lot of people will say "just ride slower so you don't sweat", but that's not very helpful when riding up hills is already slow and it's sweaty work even if you're walking up them!

I don't have a shower at work, but by the time I get to the bathroom to change I've cooled down, and freshening up has turned out to be a lot easier than I expected.

One thing that I find exciting is the growing number of bike share programs in this country. The one in my area is not at all convenient for me (i'd have to either ride my bike to the nearest station, or take the bus, and I don't see the point!) and I wouldn't use it to go to work anyway, but for people who would want to bike for part of their commute but have very long commuting distances, it can give them more options.

I keep hoping that transit options will improve, in general. It seems like an uphill battle most of the time, and I think if it weren't for places with really horrible congestion, no one would use public transit at all. So much of our communities have been engineered to be traveled via car...
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Re: Public Transportation

Postby vegankitty » Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:18 am

Ariann, is it even possible to ride a bike from NJ into NYC? I guess the GW bridge ? I can't imagine doing it regularly.

I was thinking about getting a bike for work but storage is a problem. It wouldn't be safe outside and I don't have anywhere to store it in my apartment or building. So I haven't gotten one. I don't even have space for a wall rack. Darn tiny Manhattan studio. It's small even by NYC standards.
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Re: Public Transportation

Postby Ariann » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:53 pm

I totally see people biking (and walking!) over the GWB and it looks like they're commuters (wearing work clothes)! Isn't that amazing?

My husband has two bikes (both hand-me-downs): one for biking to the train station on our end, another for leaving in the city and riding back and forth from Penn station to work. I don't know where exactly he leaves his bike in the city, but it's always been remarkably safe. And our end it's safe to leave the bike outside no problem. Do you guys have a building basement?
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Re: Public Transportation

Postby debiguity » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:10 am

Another option if you aren't comfortable locking the bike up outside is a folding bike. Might be easier to find a place in a small apartment to store it.
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Re: Public Transportation

Postby vegematic » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:02 am

I live out in the boonies so there is not much in the way of public transportation. I'm hoping the weather will be mild enough after March break to ride my bike on most days. It's only a 6.7 km ride each way.

When I worked in Cambridge (MA) I lived about 45 km away and rode the Commuter Rail (part of the T system but not the subway). It was great! No sitting in traffic, no dealing with crappy roads in winter, plenty of reading/sleeping/zoning opportunities on my commute. Most of my friends (who professed to be good little liberals) were oddly offended by the thought of me (or any white collar, college graduate) taking the train.
I just walked. I was very happy.
-Bill Bryson.
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Re: Public Transportation

Postby Ariann » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:41 am

That's funny how public transportation is viewed differently in different places. When I lived in Cleveland I took the bus everywhere and everyone on the bus looked at me like I was crazy (mainly because I am white). Here, the commuter trains are ridden almost exclusively by people with white-collar jobs, at least at rush hour.
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