Commuter Rail Dreams
I just returned from a week of cycling across California (from the Sierras to San Fransisco). This is the second time I’ve done this trip… and I love it so much, I’ll probably do it again.
When I did the ride 2 years ago, the host hotel in San Jose was a Hampton in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t close to anything, so being without a car forced us to choose between cab fare and a long walk for lunch and dinner the day we arrived. This year, the host hotel was the Holiday Inn near the airport. It is surrounded by restaurants, but best of all, it is next to the VTA rail line. We used the train to go to the mall (I forgot my swimsuit… I always forget something), then we went in the other direction to go downtown. It was great to be car-free!
The trains had bike cars between the passenger cars. The photo was taken during an off-peak hour, but closer to rush-hour there were lots of bikes hanging in there.
Imagine what a transit alternative like this could do for bike commuters here. How nice to have the option of riding 25 miles, or riding a few to a rail station, then a few more to the office… to escape the heat, or the torrential downpour.
Would it relieve traffic congestion in Orlando? Who knows. Transit ridership is up all over the country because of gas prices. But some people will never give up driving.
I’d use it, for sure. Heck, I’d even use it to extend the range of my long weekend rides — it’s a bit of a killjoy riding back into town through 15 miles of urban sprawl, acres of hot asphalt and grumpy, errand-running motorists on Saturday afternoons.
Will we ever get it? We probably won’t know until the next time the legislature is in session. But we can follow the plans and progress here: http://www.cfrail.com