Friday, April 27, 2012

Streetcar desire

Imagine streetcars replacing the MAX bus line up and down Main Street. Can you see it? Visualizing deeper to see a sleek silvery rail-ship slithering north and south to and from the airport? East (well not too far) and west connecting downtown with Johnson County? No need to drive to drink at the Power and Light public alcohol spigot.

Public transportation - so energy efficient. Carefree movement. Connection and interaction.

Empty Kansas City schools could serve as terminals; 21st Century re-use and redevelopment. Sleek safe conveyances to convey our children out of the city.

Do you ride the MAX bus now to get a taste of things to come? I like the MAX drivers, the vehicles too. When it’s really hot, they charge you half price. I doubt any regular riders read this blog, though. This mass transit, public experience probably doesn’t fit into your life. But, you’re visualizing and imagining, so that’s good. Can you handle being connected and being publically transported?

Do you have what I call a “commuter kit”? iPod, earbuds, maybe an e-reader. Backpack, waterbottle, basic-black-shades of grey, maybe brown outfits. Those colors hide the publically absorbed workaday grime of reality. Umbrella, don’t forget that. Comfortable shoes for walking and puddle-jumping. Head to Northface for your urban uniform.

In the meantime, I visualize deeply and can see it vividly. I’ve lived places with tolerable workable scheduled public transport in places across the pond. I visualize an accessible-on-your-handheld-device public access app with training spots, public announcements, even training videos; “Time to dress warmer for that commute”, “Fun healthy snacks you can smuggle”. We’ll need some tail-kickin’ WiFi on these streetcars; be sure that’s in the RFP, Sly.

“Hello, Google?...yes we need some fibre…sorry, you spell that with an “er”? OK. Yes for streetcars. Our transiteers, yeah, like Mouseketeers without the ears. We deeply desire digits for the streetcars. MAX bandwidth, baby. Who’s payin? Just send us a bill, we’ll figure that out. How many digits?”

Face it. You’re not ready for this. Don’t worry, you’ll adapt. Get some practice. Ride the MAX during your city “downtown / MidTown / Plahzah / Brookside" jaunts. Believe me, you’ll need some practice. And start saving on parking by parking on a MidTown sidestreet for free, walk a block or two east or west  with your family and catch the bus at 39th and Main. Practice. Connect with the public and keep visualizing, imagining, and desiring those streetcars.

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