Not sure what brought this to mind. During my last trip downtown via Metrorail I witnessed an example of a major failing of our transportation system. In this case it is the example of exclusion. It also highlights how some transportation modes can create barriers to other modes.
Stuck On The Tracks
We were approaching the curve in the tracks as it crosses 6th Street and curves toward downtown. I was unfolding my bike and getting ready to debark at Plaza Saltillo. I glanced up and saw a motorized wheel chair with the rear guide wheels struck in the rails. The tracks split at this point and fortunately he was clear of our tracks. He was, however, inside the crossing gates. A motorist got out of his car to help this poor guy get unstuck.
There are no sidewalks on this section of the street and like so much of east Austin infrastructure, in poor state of upkeep. Why was this person trying to travel via wheelchair on this street and not some better alternative? I’d be willing to bet he didn’t have much choice.
When we’re debating alternatives and options in transportation policy we need to remember such issues and widen our concept of what mobility means.