Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ground transportation

I just returned from a week on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. If anyone wants a disturbing image of car silliness for her upcoming peak oil/sustainable living/other arrangements Pulitzer piece, I suggest a trip over to Baltimore-Washington International airport (BWI). The expanse of parking lots is truly mind-bending, especially given that the public transportation seems to be quite good. Instead, it appears most patrons drive in thick traffic and pay a fair bit to park their cars miles beyond the terminal--only to then ride busses back to the airport itself!

The contrast between the BWI scene and my return to Missoula was incredible. Back in Missoula, I walked out of the terminal to my bike, which was locked up to a split-rail fence in the long-term lot. I stuffed my carry-on in the front basket, unpacked my helmet, stowed the locks, and pedaled home wearing a small backpack. It felt wonderful after several hours in planes, and the thirty minute ride into town gave me time to survey the valley I'd missed for a week.

This was my first flight in a couple of years, and, like most people I imagine, I'd never thought of using a bike as ground transportation. I have to credit a guy in a minivan for the concept. A couple of months ago, I took the trailer out to a store near the airport and picked up a suitcase for Rachel. Seeing the luggage strapped to the top, guy in minivan excitedly asked if I had ridden in from the airport. We seemed to be thinking just the same thing: "Cool idea!" I hear from a friend that LAX recently got bike lanes. Maybe it's catching on.


Blogger Ephany's World said...

Portland has bike lanes all the way to the airport and I believe they're working on a long-term locker facility. :)

2:48 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

And I keep thinking it's a dream...

4:07 PM  
Anonymous duane said...

What you described is a clear indication of our addiction to oil and/or automobiles. I live in a town (Medford, OR) that is national headquarters for a major auto dealership. Our streets are loaded and so are the dealer parking lots. We're 300 miles and 20 years from Portland.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Beast1624 said...

Thanks for the post. You've inspired me to respond with my own post. I was through BWI about the same time myself but my experience was reverse of yours. Thanks again!

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh, BWI is an airport that handles 20M people a year, from two major metropolitan areas, and pulls people from as far away as Harrisburg PA. And Missoula is...well, I can't even find its stats.

So who the hell are you to judge what "most people" do to get to the airport? You see a sea of cars and voila, we're addicted to oil.

Good to see you dig deep, my friend, and no just judge things on an appearance.

5:31 PM  

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