Nov. 6 means changes for
Last summer I experienced a sneak peek
into the future when I visited Japan.
Aside from everything being smaller, there
were wonderful little conveniences that made life in Houston seem archaic.
Instead of sitting through endless hours of traffic, I
rode the Japanese railway to get around.
It was a wonderful experience. The trains were clean and arrived on time.
(Our bus system can't even claim that.)
Fellow Coogs, with your votes we can see
Houston journey out of the dark ages and into the present millennium. Nov.
6 is our chance to let our voices be heard.
If you're confused about the difference
between the two light rail proposals, let me break it down.
Proposition 1 would allow voters to decide
on expansion on the light rail system. Proposition 3 would allow voters
to decide if the rail should be pulled up, letting the
hundreds of millions of dollars already
spent to build it go to waste. Ultimately, it's our decision.
Personally, I'd like to see more efficient
public transportation in Houston.
A rail system would lower pollution. With
fewer cars on the road, emissions would become less of an issue. (No doubt
the city would never be the same again -- could
the Houston skyline be complete without
the dense layer of fog? It might take a little getting used to.)
With the new transportation system, Houstonians
would not only be breathing easier, we would be getting more exercise walking
to and from the train stations -- not to
mention the many flights of stairs that
would be within the stations. Who knows, we might even lose a few pounds
collectively, forcing us to relinquish our title as "fattest
city" to someone else.
Rather than obsess over minute details
such as the great inconveniences involved or whether or not it's even a
realistic expectation considering the size of the greater
Houston area, imagine for a moment Houston
life with a system of aboveground trains.
You would wake up in the morning and walk
a mere half-mile to the train station. Just outside is a strip center with
a Starbucks, a McDonald's and an IHOP. Upon entering
the station, the sweet smell of fresh
pastries comes to greet you from a nearby bakery, and the morning news
is just within reach at the kiosk in front of you.
The aboveground rail system would provide
a shopping center and transportation junction in one, creating more jobs
A friend of mine, who also recently enjoyed
the wonders of Japan, described his experience riding a Japanese bullet
train. He said it was comfortable and smooth. There
were no delays, no stops and no problems.
It was the most automated form of transportation he said he's ever seen.
With the introduction of the Metro light
rail system, Houstonians might decide they like the convenience of transportation
that is quick, reliable and relaxing.
On the other hand, who knows how long that
would take? Maybe we'll all buy one-way tickets to Tokyo and tell all the
Houston bureaucrats, Sayonara!
Buchanan, a senior communication major,
can be found enjoying "oishii
okashi" -- Japanese for "yummy snacks"
-- at email@example.com.