Sidewalks before transit

April 20, 2013

I recently returned home to the Indianapolis area. Growing up in Carmel, the only bus I rode was the school bus. My travels with the military exposed me to mass transit: the subway in New York City, trains in Europe and the Middle East, and the bus and light rail system in Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

Here, on a mid-morning in February, I thought I would try the bus. Through helpful mapping software on the IndyGo website, I located the nearest bus stop. Very convenient. The walk to the bus stop: inconvenient and dangerous.

There are not sidewalks on Westfield Boulevard, so my journey was through damp, muddy grass and on the “shoulder” of the road.

The bus system has impressive digital infrastructure. When I finally reached the bus stop, I saw a phone number on the sign along with a five digit code. I called the number where customer service told me the exact location of the bus and how far away it was from my stop. And the buses are clean and spacious.

Would I ride the bus again? Absolutely. Maybe on a weekly basis. Is it worth millions in investment to expand our mass transit system? I don’t know. Maybe we should invest in sidewalks first. After all, you have to walk before you ride.

Justin Wiser

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