Category Archives: public transit

WV Statewide Bicycle Study Step 5

My activity levels have picked up significantly this week! I thought I would be sleeping better, but I have actually been too excited to sleep. Some of the fitful rest was thanks to being in a room full of people who understand what the vision for bicycling in West Virginia should look like. Perry Keller with the Department of Transportation presented to stakeholders, the vision and goals of the statewide connectivity study. This meeting was one of 8 being held around the state, and the first of two such public meetings to gather the input of those who are riding these Appalachian hills.

If you were unable to attend the meeting, please visit their webpage. There are resources for existing bike trails (many that I had never known) and plans for the future. The DOT wants your feedback. Without it, things remain as they are and they won’t know what we want and need. Make the time to email perry.j.keller@wv.gov with your recommendations and desires for West Virginia.

Mr. Keller had a very comprehensive grasp on the situation. I was impressed and eager to know more. I was able to inquire about the Complete Streets bill that I heard mention of a few months back and haven’t heard follow up on, as well as find out about the processes for ensuring there are safe routes to schools built into plans for new construction (such as our newest middle school preparing to break ground, or the recently completed South Side).

People representing RTI, PATH, Edward Tucker Architects, KYOVA, the City of Huntington, Cycle-Recycle, Etromay, Putnam County Parks and Recreation, and a few from the general citizen ship were also in attendance. It was also a pleasure to see the Herald Dispatch and a local news channel reporting on the meeting.

The bike rack upon arrive to the bicycling meeting at the TTA as the bells tolled.
The bicycle parking upon leaving the meeting two hours later. I do know of one other who rode his bike (thank you Larry).

 

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Planning a Trip with Four Transportation Options


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My husband Brent thinks I am never happy. He’s probably right. I have a soul that yearns to travel and children who would rather stay home. I am hindered by time, money and my own desire to do things with a husband who has a job to tend. So I fill my wanderlust vicariously and creating fictional trips I hope to take, but then soon realize all those reality factors haven’t magically slipped away in my dreams.

In a recent planning scenario I was looking for somewhere to go, with my entire family, for our 10 year anniversary that passed in mid April. I wanted it to be a two night excursion, given our first night away from home is usually wrought with sleeplessness and cranky children. There was the school/work factor, so we needed to keep it to a weekend getaway.

I came up with the possibility of going to Charlottesville, VA. 300 miles from our house. Here’s how it might look:

Drive the van round trip ($140):

  • 11 hours in the car
  • 2 tanks of gas at about $140

Ride the train round trip ($500*):

  • 15 hours, if it’s running on time
  •  $500 for six tickets

Hypothetically someone buys our van before we go and we rent a van ($440):

  • 11 hours in the car
  • $300 for a rental van
  • $140 for gas

Greyhound bus for comparison ($500+):

  • 23 hours on a bus
  • $500 for five tickets (the most I could buy at one time and thus not getting that extra discount on ticket six)

Thus, I theorize gas is not yet expensive enough to use mass transit, when you have a car in your drive way that’s paid for, and six people to transport. Should the car go, it’s still less expensive to rent a vehicle and it would take less time.

Not all travels are determined by money and time. The quality of the journey has weight, as does the means by which we will explore our destination (driving around, walking about, cycling all over?).

Drive

  • Could drive, walk or bring our bikes

Train Ride

  • Would walk or find public transit

Rental Van

  • Could drive or walk, no hitch for the bikes

Bus Trip

  • Walk about or find public transit.

Still appears that driving our own vehicles gives us the best variety of options once we arrive in Charlottesville. Yet, the journey over and back would be more exciting and restful for us all, we should hope, if we were to take the train. What would you do, hypothetically of course?

 

 

*When I did my research we had two weeks till our fairytale departure so the prices reflect short notice. With more time to plan the prices did drop to $360 for Amtrack for six tickets (2adult, 4 children).

Daddy Daughter Date: A Vet Visit

Before I get to the daddy daughter date of today, I want to catch everyone up on a few experiences. I posted a Friday Comparison yesterday that showed us having driven 4 miles. I picked up the children and two friends after school in the van yesterday. Six children, one adult is a driving situation. 98 degrees at 3pm, could also reinforce the desire to drive. Three things happened during this short trip, the fuel light came on, there was construction traffic two blocks from school (5 minute wait), and the children had left their bikes at school in the morning and I had to get them home.

The fuel light coming on didn’t phase me as it was such a short trip, but I also needed to drive the van today, so I was going to need to fix that issue. Having to sit idol had me moderately concerned, with the fuel light on, but things cleared up quickly. The parking director at school laughed that I was driving and knew about the construction. He commented that I would have made better time on my bike. He’s probably right. Bringing the bikes home in the trunk worked well, until I drove the van this morning and forgot they were in there.

Today’s To Dos
We were invited to a birthday party today. It was in Lavalette, which is in our neighboring Wayne County (Out Wayne, aka OW, if you are local). I had called the Wayne Express transportation company earlier this week to find out exactly which of their buses went down that road and what times, as their website was very poorly constructed and the information was sparse, but there was a map with a bus line highlighted showing the street I needed. I spoke with a lady in transportation who informed me there is now only one bus that runs five times a day, weekdays only and it would be a $1 for every rider. This bus did not go where I needed. I called our TTA and asked if they provided service to Lavalette, nope. It’s not a bikeable road. So minivan it was. This was not a social engagement we wanted to miss, these were good family friends and having an able vehicle in the drive way, was our means.

Coinciding with the party we had a scheduled veterinarian check up for our two cats. This was a divide and conquer situation. Brent and London were going to go to the vet and I was going to take the boys to the party. Seeing that I was driving, Brent took the camera at my request, to document “taking cats to the vet by bike.” What I didn’t expect was them to turn it into a sight-seeing daddy daughter date.

I mentioned forgetting about the two bikes in the trunk of our van. We left before Brent and London and it never occurred to me they wouldn’t have their bikes in the garage. When they arrived home from the vet, Brent said London rode my bike better than she normally rides her Junior Viper. There were no complaints and they had a jolly good time. Glad that worked out well. The worst that could have happened is they missed the appointment, and that’s not a terrible thing.

The Date
In my mind’s eye, they were going to take the cats in the trailer. Brent decided on his own they would get more fresh air on the rack. He rigged up this cat transport with some ratcheting belts. He was very careful to get them tight and check them for shifting and falling.

Stopping in Ritter Park. Coco and Kit.

They turned the whole adventure into an opportunity to be a tourist. They stopped often for breaks and actually arrived late to the appointment. Our home thermometer read 104 degrees today, but I doubt it didn’t just say that because it was melting.

London and her cats at the Memorial Arch.
They arrived at the vet without issue.

London has been trying to learn to use the camera. She says she wants to have her photos in the newspaper some day. These next few are from her perspective.

Kit
Coco.

Everyone made it home, safe and hot. I looked up their route on Google maps and discovered they went about 10 miles round trip. I asked Brent what the vet had to say about his mode of transporting the cats and he reports she had no issues with it what so ever. She seemed to give the impression people usually bike their cats to appointments, but somehow we both doubt this.

Yeah, my garage is on my to-do list for the week. I have been collecting things from around the house all summer for a yard sale. Soon, I keep promising myself, soon.

I was laughing so hard when he rolled up I was sure PETA would be right behind him. It was something out of a comic book. I chuckled more when we looked up the route he took and compared it to the more direct route suggested by Google. He rode 3.6 extra miles because he couldn’t remember how far down 3rd Avenue the office was.

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London had quality time with her dad today. She seem to smile a lot more after they arrived home, I know I was. The boys and I had a great time too. It’s always refreshing to laugh with friends and family.

Miles Walked: 6 Biked: 82.9 Bused: 0 Drove: 22.3 This week
43.7 195.8 12.6 422.2 Since August 14, 2011

Patience with Huntington

There are challenges in every city in America and beyond. Sometimes I get very short sighted and focus on my angst with Huntington, WV. The city has a failing infrastructure that is taking a lot of time to fund and repair. One of the unique features in this town are the aqua-ducts or via-ducts. They are roads that were cut to go under the rail road tracks that run on the level ground. When we get a heavy rain, like we did very early this morning, they fill with water so quickly cars can get trapped and the water can’t get drained away (The details are in the link above).

This morning Brent had intended to walk the children directly to school but London wanted to take the bus, so he obliged her. They left at 7:20AM for a bus that was schedule to arrive at 7:50 and didn’t arrive till 8:10. The via-ducts were full of water and the buses had to find other ways around. Brent called me from the school at 8:22 to report they just arrived, London forgot her lunch and our friends would be taking the children to school all next week. I know he was frustrated.

I am frustrated too. The bus was working out OK when it was only a couple minutes late (the very first day), but the inconsistencies and the forces of nature are too hard on the start of the children’s school day. We were not the only ones on that bus trying to get to school this week either. Every day I rode there was another mother and son going to Spring Hill Elementary. I don’t know what time their tardy bell rings, but if it was 8:00AM, they were late most days too. I wonder how many other Huntington families rely on the TTA for school transportation?

There was an opinion piece in our local Herald Dispatch newspaper this summer about how we can all help with the storm water issues. If you live here, I suggest taking some of Bill’s advice (we have). In the mean time, we are going to go forward with our car pooling plan to get the children to school.

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