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How many drivers can say they're turned on by their commute?
by crandell | 03/11/2009
Reading Stephen Markley's piece in the RedEye last week, All aboard—it's the Love Train, I was wondering how many suburban drivers would experience this same phenomenon. As evidence that many other CTA commuters feel the same way as Stephen, I submit the following blog devoted to checking people out on the CTA: R.O.C.K. on the C.T.A.
I have to disagree with Stephen's initial statement that "no one likes the train or bus ride to work in the morning." I enjoy my commute because it lets me read, listen to music, or totally zone out while staring out the window at our city's incredible scenery. But his observations of attraction on the train reminded me of one of the great advantages of an urban environment -- namely the abundance of opportunities for diverse social interaction.
Bringing so many people together so closely gets the social and economic engine running. In urban environments, people meet on the train and on the street. They help random strangers in passing. They stop in stores that catch their eye walking by. They network with their neighbors. They meet their spouses. They have a large pool of people to hire from for their office. They do business with someone six blocks away. They build trains and reverse the flow of rivers. When lots of people gather together in close proximity, it's amazing what they can do and how much more powerful the group is than the individual. And that's exactly why people started gathering together to form cities thousands of years ago. Suburban sprawl is all about the individual. Cities and towns are all about the group.
The attraction phenomenon Stephen's writes about is just a small demonstration of people seeing the many opportunities, so to speak.