Stop your long commute

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Informed Reader - : The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Commuter

The number of people who travel 90 minutes to work — deemed an “extreme commute” by the Census Bureau—has doubled since 1990, reaching 3.5 million.

I can tell you from personal experience that my commute stress level has gone from below average to nearly nonexistent since I stopped driving and started Metroing to work.  I had a 25 minute drive, very pleasant as DC Metro area commutes go.  Now I have a three block walk, 25 minute Metro ride, and then 2 minute walk to work.  I’ve only been at this new job since March 26th, and I’m reading my third book.

Currently, actually, I’m reading Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, by Robert Putnam, quoted in the above article.  I’m still trudging through the 150 pages at the front of the book where he reels off statistics, but I expect to get to the good parts soon. 

As an aside, if you ask anyone who knows me, you will find that any amount of statistics that I find excessive is REALLY EXCESSIVE.  I enjoyed Bill James' Baseball Abstract in my early teens.  This is, for those who don’t know, the book where you can find out who the backup third basemen for the Pirates was in 1967, and what he hit on Tuesdays against left-handers in his home ballpark.

The point here is that these commutes are ridiculous.  As usual, I don’t know what the solution is.  Better public transportation would certainly be helpful.  I mean, I’ve taken my commute, which used to be a total waste of time, and turned it into nearly leisure time.  Not everyone has the flexibility to be able to move near work, or the willingness to live in a “transitional” neighborhood in the city to be near public transportation.  But there has to be some middle ground.

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