Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Planes, trains and automobiles...and bikes...

A little bit of trivia for you: at what time of the day, on what day of the week, is it most dangerous to drive, according to the National Safety Council? (If you are an inpatient soul, jump down to the bottom of the post for the answer.)

This morning was the second time in a week I've gotten up at an ungodly hour (prior to 6:30 a.m.) to take a roommate to the airport. Thankfully, ironically, it was early enough that I avoided traffic around the city both coming in and going out. That didn't stop me from getting cut off about three times heading to work, but I guess you win some and lose some. 

One 15 year-old who is winning more than losing at the moment is Kimberly Anyadike. The Compton, Calif., resident is part of an initiative by Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum that gives youths flying lessons in exchange for community service. Anyadike is flying from Compton to Newport News, Va., in an attempt to become the youngest black woman to fly across the United States, according to the Arizona Republic. Along the way she is meeting with members of the famous "Tuskegee Airmen" who flew with distinction during World War II. 

This morning I was mildly embarrassed to get passed by a Smartcar on Comm. Ave. How on earth does that little thing have more horsepower than my Civic? Being the type of person who does not get worked up by cars, I'm already over it, but I was amused to find a story on about Baltimore rolling out a fleet of electric cars as apart of a car-share program. Mom, take note: Here is some good news about the home of "Homicide: Life on the Street." In partnership with the Maryland Science Center, battery-maker Electrovaya is providing 10 cars that get 120 miles to the charge to be used to tool around the Inner Harbor area by residents and tourists alike. The cars only go about 35 mph, but as is pointed out in the story, it really isn't possible to go much faster than that in the city. 

On the drive into Logan this a.m., I felt very sorry for those poor individuals dressed for work and waiting for the T at 6:30 in the morning. Where on earth did they work, I wondered, that they needed to catch the train so early? had a story this morning on the fact Philadelphia's public transit, SEPTA, has partnered with Google to provide maps which will help residents and visitors better get around the city by public transport. Right now only the trains are featured online, but they are hoping to get the bus routes up as well. Users can type in attractions or destinations, and the maps will show the routes to take to get there. I think that's awesome; I know Boston's system well, but I've lived here for nearly seven years. On my last trip to Philly, I would never have figured out the buses if I weren't on them with my cousin.

Every day I pass bike commuters while driving my car to work. For about a second, I think what good exercise I could get, and how I could quit the gym. But then I remember it has been raining for the last month, I would not enjoy it in the snow, and I like wearing skirts to work. However, I hope if biking were my only option, I'd be grateful. Google News hosted an AP article from six days ago on a U.S. charity called World Bicycle Relief which will be giving out 50,000 bikes to schoolchildren in Zambia over the next three years. Studies have shown that a lack of safe, reliable transportation is a major reason children do not get to school in developing countries. The amount of time and walking distance by the children cited in this story is astounding. It really makes you aware of how fortunate we are for those long, yellow school buses which annoy us by stopping traffic every morning. Seventy percent of the bikes in Zambia will be going to girls, as it is evident in the research they are the most likely to be harassed on a long walk to school. 

The answer to the opening question is actually 2 a.m. on Sunday morning - when drivers who are exhausted and/or inebriated from a night's revelry are heading home.

(Photo courtesy of 

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