Wednesday, October 24, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 45



Nov. 6 means changes for Houston

Kristin Buchanan

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 for Houstonians.

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

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