[LINK] How Suburban Sprawl Hurts the Poor by Joseph Stromberg
Yes, all of this. Transit is so important. Suburban sprawl makes life harder for those with fewer resources. Taking transit for the last two years has been okay for the most part, but I’ve definitely felt and seen the frustration that happens when one is forced to take transit in a society built for car culture.
Recently, I missed a bus to go to the dentist, walked an hour, only to learn that I couldn’t move my appointment. I sat on the side of the road and cried before walking the hour back home. Every week, I walk for twenty minutes, before taking a 40 minute Metro/bus ride to church, and then do the same thing back. I have the option of calling a friend for help and do not have to support a family, but I see people every day who have kids and jobs and caregiving responsibilities, and must do all of these things with transit. Especially in suburbs like Webster Groves, transit is the worst. Some buses come only once an hour, so if you miss it, you’re screwed. For me, Webster Groves is where I go to school, and not my livelihood. But daily, I see people bus in to work at McDonald’s or Subway here. A commute is hard enough in itself. Imagine taking a commute every day from one’s own neighborhood in the city, to a wealthy neighborhood in the suburbs where you must serve everyone who lives there.
Taking transit convinces me more than ever that the hardest-working people are those who are most marginalized in society, with fewer resources. At the same time, they are some of the most patient, kind people, who look out for people running late on the bus, who help those who are older onto the bus, who listen to how others’ days are going and commiserate over policies that hurt those most vulnerable. It is extremely difficult to believe that people are poor because they are lazy or that people who are rich deserve better healthcare or schooling when one rides public transit every day. It is easy to believe those things when one lives in a suburb. I know, because I grew up in one, where the real estate was worth at least a million dollars each, and I could go weeks without seeing someone who was fighting for survival.