Man Bites Car

From today's Chapel Hill Herald-Sun, a story of one man who is trying to make the world a more friendly place for transit. UNC Employee Ernie Patterson is the UNC Employee Forum Chairman and he is trying to get people out of their cars. Patterson chose the hot and muggy month of July to make his point, as he walks, bikes, and buses back and forth to campus.

I applaud his efforts, especially walking most days in the midst of the Carolina heat. But, I was taken aback at the end of the article when I read this:

The walk or the bus ride has added 10 to 20 minutes to Patterson's commute each way. The added time is no big deal, he said. Plus, he has enjoyed learning the bus system, which he said runs on time or a couple minutes early and is driven by friendly people.

Patterson has liked the car-free commute so much that he is "seriously considering" giving up his UNC parking pass, which is expected to cost more than $600 next year.

(emphasis added)

C'mon Ernie. Considering giving it up? This is exactly the attitude that lead Chapel Hill/Carrboro to scorn the 17,000 potential parking spaces at Carolina North. If people can park they will, even those who try to make a point of how easy alternative transit actually works. Also, I would challenge Ernie to see how long it takes him on average to get into his car, drive to the parking deck, get out of his car, walk down the parking deck and over to his office. It is about 1.5 miles from Wilson Hall to his home in Carrboro, which is a really quick bike ride and I'm betting faster than the walk to and from the parking decks.

Anyhow, I appreciate the idea and hope that more UNC faculty and employees will make the switch to alternative transit.


Lots of folks already do.

The 6 years I was a student at UNC, I never had a parking permit -- who the hell can afford those? I rode the bus from Carrboro for 2 years, then after we moved to Hillsborough, I commuted with my husband and walked to campus from his reserved space at work (which he no longer has, as his company couldn't afford Franklin St rent and moved to just this side of RTP).

As it is, the people I know who work on campus either use the Park & Ride or buses, but they're not faculty, only departmental administrative assistants, so they can't afford $600/semester. P&R and buses are free, and only marginally more inconvenient than parking on campus, since the buses let out practically at the doorsteps of their buildings.

But the American way of thinking is that we need to have immediate access to our personal transportation devices so we can be completely free and independent of others' whim. Bollox to all that. I'd gladly take a bus or metro if it saved me money. Unfortunately, inter-city transit in the Triangle is crap.

I hope to buy a Vespa in the next year or so, because I could use it to run small errands locally, though it would be tricky to commute most places because it has a max speed of about 55 mph, which means I couldn't ride it on the interstate. Within Hillsborough or between here and CH? Easy, down 86.


With a stellar inter/inner city transportation system everyone would be able to experience their "completely free and independent" wills.

I see your frustrations but it will be harder to change the American mindset than it would be to WORK around it and with it.

Be just, and fear not.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

If you build it, they still won't come...

UNC has said that their folks spurn the new parking off Manning Dr. because it's "too far" to walk to South or Central campus! Amazing.

I've suggested they try a "yellow bike" program for folks parking @ Manning who want to jot over to the hospital, etc.

the administracia

doesn't have to park far from their buildings and they make enough not to worry about the high costs of parking.

I take the bus, so I am with C. Diane in thinking that the ability already exists.

I think the outlying park & rides should be expanded. Estes and Chatham should be 3 or 4 story parking garages with more routes and more express services. Make it so that you never have to wait for than 10 minutes during the busiest times of the day. (p.s. I would say the same for Southern Village IF they weren't planning to put the park there, who wants a parking deck next to their park?)

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

The system isnt designed for mass use

No matter how much people gripe and complain about how more local people should use mass transit to work in their areas, its never going to happen in NC b/c....

The systems we have aren't set up for mass usage. Why would the average joe give up his car and his ability to get to work ontime, just to wait for the 1 bus that comes 15 miles within his house, every 2 hours? I could wait for a bus for 35 minutes OR get all my chores done in that same time. How does that make sense?

Being from NYC, the only way you get what most green NC'ians are askign for is to adopt a straight up hardcore (see expensive) rail/bus/HOV/bike system.

Be just, and fear not.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

Not all or none.

I think that is the most important thing to keep in mind. Public transit could work really well in the Triangle, Triad (regions), Charlotte, and maybe Wilmington area. It will never work in places like Benson or Manteo.

It doesn't have to work there.

I grew up 25 miles from "town" and public transportation was used by the elderly to get to the "day" center. That is it. The same still holds true.

You are right that the other problem is higher coverage rates with lower wait time. There is no reason that anyone in Orange County should have to wait an hour (during peak times at least) to catch a bus to Chapel Hill for work.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.