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Letter: More people should take public transportation

More people should take public transportation

How wonderful to have so much happening downtown on a recent beautiful Saturday evening: City of Night in the Old First Ward, the Eagles concert in First Niagara Center, a sold-out baseball game, VibeFest at Riverworks. Anticipating the healthy crowds, we sensibly took the train downtown to catch the shuttle bus to City of Night, only to be caught in a horrific traffic jam that took 40 minutes to pass through. While my daughter and I sat on the bus. Alone.

What’s up, Western New York? Must we drive everywhere, no matter what the cost to park, no matter what the cost to our health, no matter how much it ruins our quality of life? Vehicle emissions directly harm the lungs, contributing to fine particle air pollution, regional haze, global warming and asthma rates. Buffalo got a D for ozone pollution in the 2015 American Lung Association “State of the Air” report. Even without the poisoning factor, gridlock is stressful and wasteful of time. The suburbs are not immune to these harms either.

Given that our community already has the infrastructure, in the form of publicly owned but disused railways, to collect people at free park-and-rides from outlying areas and whisk them care-free and car-free into the city center, shouldn’t we be capitalizing on that asset by completing our original multi-line light rail plan?

Let’s be sure Buffalo’s revitalization includes viable car-free options for all. But meanwhile, if you live near a transit line, please leave the car at home.

Elizabeth Giles