Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Love Public Transportation

by Jordan Kamikawa

I’m surprised my legs haven’t fallen off.

You may be thinking that this blog is just going to be a long spiel about how walking crazy distances have been a pain, etc. etc. Contrary, let me say that I actually have enjoyed walking to most of our destinations. Although over the course of the trip we’ve walked quite a bit, it’s been great to get a feel for city life and to see the it from a slower pace. I feel that riding in a car often removes you from your surroundings in a sense, especially if they are just whizzing by.

In addition, the public transportation in both cities has really impressed me, and it’s been awesome hardly relying on a car for transportation (besides a couple short taxi rides).

I say this because I have never lived in a place that has had public transportation as easy or simple as both New York and DC have had. I grew up in Maui, Hawaii, where public transit was unheard of growing up, until very recently when they started a very small and inefficient bus service (which I have not ridden once). Thus, I grew up always driving to wherever I needed to go, even if the trip was short. Once I got to college in Spokane, Washington, my method of transportation was basically the same. I either relied on people giving me a ride to places, or driving myself when I finally got a car. Again, this was due to the less than mediocre public transportation system.

That being said, riding the subway system for the first time in New York was really a refreshing experience for me. Besides some weird smells and dirtiness, the ease of getting around the city was great. I love being able to just jump on the “train,” as locals call it, and follow a colored route to your stop. Also, it’s handy that the subway stations are located on almost every other block. Washington DC’s metro system was not as easy to use as New York’s, but it was still efficient in getting to all our meetings and the monuments.

However, our public transit experience was not all completely smooth sailing. We did get either confused or lost a handful of times, mostly due to confusing connections and/or directions. However, for the most part, I think we were able to get around very well.

Going back to driving will be weird, and not being able to find my destinations a couple stops away may get to me. Also, the exercise from the walking has been a nice change.

Who knows, you may see me walking around everywhere in Spokane.
Hmmmm...walking in snow and ice in sub-freezing temperatures just to get to Costco or Albertsons? On second thought, maybe not.


  1. I completely agree. The subway system is so nice to have! In Seattle, I hear that the bus system is not horrible (I've never tried it), but it doesn't seem like the stops are close enough to make it easy like the subway in New York. It's so nice not to have to pay for gas or taxis, and the subways come every few minutes.

    I must say, though, that I used the public transportation in Spokane during my freshman year, and despite the fact that the buses stop running at around 9 pm every night of the week, I found it a satisfactory way to get around the city. Of course, it is nothing compared to the subway system, and I too, have enjoyed using the public transportation on this trip.

    -Maddie Hayes

  2. I agree with you so much because after all of the walking that we did today which I think Maddie added it up and it totalled it up and it was around 6 miles. After today my legs have been worn out from all of the walking around. Finally when we get on a subway it feels so good because I don't have to do any work but just sit there and get to the next place with no problems. Legs are great and all and i am thankful that I have good legs except for my bad knee but after this trip my legs have never been more tired. The funny thing was that my parents and i were trying to decide whether I should have gotten surgery on my knee over break and if i didn I would have been on cruteches for about 3 months. That would have been really bad and I am glad that I didn't. The subway was the greatest thing ever and i am glad that big cities like DC and NY had that kind of transportation.

    Patrick Kenney

  3. It was actually closer to 7 miles, and I didn't include to and from lunch in my calculation. That's a lot of walking! I still can't believe we did it.

    -Maddie Hayes

  4. I come from a small town with a population of roughly 30,000 people. Public transportation exists but if you look at the overall size, it’s not a must. I’m pretty sure it’s never taken me more than 15 minutes to get somewhere, and that rarely happens. My elementary and middle schools were both within walking/biking distance and my brother drove me around my freshman and sophomore year of high school, until I could drive my own car. The only time I used public transportation was when my grandma wanted to take the bus up to Leavenworth, for fun.
    I’ve never really had an opportunity to appreciate public transportation because I’ve never used it long enough to care. After spending two and half weeks in New York and Washington D.C., I can officially say I’m grateful. Although we walked a significant amount, the access of public transportation has been nothing but successful. It’s efficient, cost-effective and reliable. I don’t see how you couldn’t use it if you live in a large city such as New York or Washington D.C.
    I agree with Jordan in saying that although I normally wouldn’t appreciate walking, it’s been nice to experience the city in a different light. I’ve walked by many things I never would have seen otherwise and experienced the culture in ways you certainly don’t get in your car.
    Riding the “train” has been a new experience for me as well. At first glance I frowned at the heavy traffic and as Jordan calls them, the “weird smells,” but soon embraced an experience that most consider part of their everyday routine. But, I was thoroughly impressed with how easy it was to find your way around. Just spending a week their even helped me develop a general sense of direction for possible future visits.
    If I lived in a big city such as NY or DC and used public transportation on a regular basis, I might even buy a newspaper every morning or read a book to kill the time. But, for efficiency purposes in a smaller town, I think I’ll stick with my trusty car for now.

    -Erica Schrader

  5. I agree with you Jordan, the public transportation system in New York and DC is very useful and efficient. It is a fast and easy way to get from one point to another in a short amount of time. The DC and New York subway systems are both very differnt. The New York metro system is easier to navigate because there are subway entrances at every block. The disadvantage to the New York metro systems is that they are kind of dirty. The DC metro systems are so nice. They are very clean. The disadvantage to the DC metro systems is that they are not on every block. All in all I agree with you that the subway systems are a great way to travel and get around in a big city like New York.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.