By Courtney Turner
I hate driving. Aside from emptying the dishwasher and folding clothes, it’s my least favorite thing to do. However, I’m finding that I spend more time in my car than anywhere else–and I’m not even commuting for work.
Because my kids aren’t eligible to ride one of the 43 buses that serve their high school, I spend 45 minutes to an hour round trip every morning to travel 12 (total) miles to get them to school and then get myself back home. It takes me another 45 minutes in the afternoon to pick them up; this time, the time suck is not due so much to crazy traffic but rather the lack of well-thought-out after school pick up procedures to allow for the departure of above-mentioned 43 buses coupled with hundreds of cars all trying to use the same egress (the result is a complete logistical nightmare and it is really only a matter of time before an angry parent decides griping on Facebook isn’t enough and takes matters into his or her own hands). Once I get everyone picked up from school, we head home and, less than an hour later, it’s time to run the baseball shuttle, which could include an hour drive north or south in rush hour traffic for a game or a 45-minute trip back to the high school for practice.
Writing this, I realize that I don’t hate driving in and of itself. I hate driving because I don’t have any other options. I used to love to drive–windows down, music blaring, cruising along. I did my best thinking while driving. Unfortunately, my current reality is windows up to drown out the blaring horns, I can’t hear my music, and I’m constantly seeing red thanks to the glare of brake lights from the gridlocked traffic all around me. The only deep thoughts going through my head center on whether or not my current situation is good for my blood pressure. While my husband can take a bus and then Metro to work, relaxing the entire time, I don’t have that same luxury. As a result, I’ve become resentful of having to spend so much time in the car simply because other options aren’t available in my area.
The Metro and buses do a great job of getting people into and out of the city every day, but it’s time to focus on the transportation issues that arise when neighborhoods and schools are overcrowded. I, for one, would like to hear my music and enjoy driving again.
Courtney Turner is IPMI’s member engagement and special projects manager.