Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why It's Not a Priority

I've been meaning to write about Ryan's article in Grist for a bit now, but have only gotten around to it now. Many of you have probably already read it but in case you didn't, check it out. Many kudos to him for putting his thumb on the problem.

He discusses why such a big issue doesn't get a lot of attention and no big plan has come to the forefront to address it. Part of the problem is Journalists afraid to tackle the subject.
And as part of the broader political conversation, transit lingers in relative obscurity. My informal polling of several environmental journalists in Washington suggested that discomfort with available information on transit and emissions reduced their willingness to write on the subject. As such, transit struggles to join the political conversation -- and since it's not part of the conversation, writers have little incentive to learn about it. On the cycle goes.
I'm going to chalk that up to the fact that they don't get it. I give Ben Wear of the Austin American Statesman a hard time on here because it's obvious he doesn't know a trolley pole from his .... but also the conversation is incredible boring, uninformative, and many times patronizing.

For my day job, I cycle through about 400 blogs and articles a day about transit, and if there is one thing that makes me super board its another lame national article without a substantive discussion of the issue but instead a "What is TOD?". This occurs in major newspapers and its not until there is a fiery issue like the Dulles extension that people get more informative news and information.

I'm glad however there is an informed blogosphere with blogs in almost every city to discuss these issues with substance. If only there was a transit beat reporter in every city that understood the issues. Then you might get a more pushy public, and politicians that care more about the issue and saw its importance.

1 comment:

fpteditors said...

This blog and City Transit Advocates are the way to turn the tide. The economics are on our side. Average people get it. They consistently poll in favor of transit. The media and "environmentalists" trail behind. We have to encourage people to get involved in the local efforts for transit advocacy.