Thursday, May 22, 2008

the future of transportation in the mountains?

Dogwood winter merged imperceptibly into blackberry winter. I'm enjoying the extended cool weather this spring -- especially when I see on the weather channel how extraordinarily hot it is out west. It's been pleasant weather for reading outdoors, walking the dog, and planting tomato plants.

I've also been doing a fair amount of errand running. Among those errands are taking cats to the vet (have to load up two of them in the next 30 minutes), getting routine doctors visits and annual tests out of the way, seasonal shopping trips (gardening, yard and home improvement projects). Given where we live (the-middle-of-no-where-Kentucky), all of these trips require an absolute minimum of 30 miles round trip, others are more like 80 miles round trip. We'd also like to take in a movie or two (at the theatre) in the summer time, and that's at least an 80 to 90 mile round trip.

Now I'm lucky compared to most folks around here. Nine years ago, when I bought a new car, I got a 3-cylinder Chevy Metro that gets between 45 and 50 miles per gallon all the time. During school, I generally buy gas once every two weeks, in summer, it's closer to three weeks. My husband's car gets more like 34 mpg. But he drives his even less often. For the moment, gas prices haven't had much of an effect upon our family. Nor are they likely to be a serious impact on us any time soon. But I am concerned for the future of rural areas and small communities like those in eastern Kentucky.

Urban areas will experience difficulties, but will be able to adjust by shifting to mass transportation, improving pedestrian and bicycle pathways, and other types of adjustments. The density of population in urban areas and the efficiencies of scale that provides will make transitions less costly, and easier to fund in urban areas. Things are likely to be far more dire out here in the mountains.

1 comment:

Jessica G said...

Kudos to you for being able to round up more than one cat at a time for transport! I could never do that without looking as if I was attacked by a mountain lion...

I am quickly looking for a way to adjust to the cost of transportation myself. $50.00 a week for fuel does not fit into my fixed income. I had been walking the kids to school and taking a bus to Gateway. However, now that the kids' summer break has started, I have to get them to Caywood Elementary (15 miles away) for their summer camp program and then figure out which bus and at what time to catch it. The logistics of it are crazy! Bus schedules are not very easy to read for someone who has just started to use them.

My bus pass however is only $45 a month,(when I get to NKU, it will be free) compared to $50.00 a week for gas. Heck of a bargain. Its worth it to me to get up earlier to get the bus rather than spending the $100.00 a month I have allocated for gas...