A New Column: From Here to There by Jane Shey ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A New Column: From Here to There by Jane Shey

(CP is pleased to announce a new columnist, Jane Shey. She will be writing every couple of weeks or so about reflections of her life part of the time in Leuven Belgium and part of the time here in Annapolis. Shey is writing her doctoral thesis on how cities are responding to climate change)

This is my inaugural bimonthly column reflecting on my dual life living in Europe and the United States.  I have lived in Annapolis for 24 years and now I spend part of my time in Belgium working on a PhD. and the other portion of my time at my home in Annapolis.  So in the course of the year, I live in two very different worlds.  This column gives me an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned in both places and to provide a bit of a comparative analysis.
Perhaps the best place to start is how I get back and forth between the US and Europe.  Obviously, in this day and age, I am not traveling by ship.  In Belgium, I live in a university city called Leuven with a population of about 100,000.  When I travel to the US...

I grab my rolling bag and walk one block to the bus stop.  Within 10 minutes, I am at the train station.  A train the Brussels International Airport is about 15 miles from Leuven and costs $7.00.  I stop in the basement, take an elevator to the third floor and check-in.  To say that the journey to the airport is effortless is an understatement especially in comparison to my connections in the US.
After my arrival in Dulles, the most challenging part of my journey is the trip to Annapolis.  I can take the Dulles Flyer to the metro for $10.00 or I can take a Metro bus into a Metro stop in Washington, DC.  The only problem with this mode of transportation is the bus creeps along with all the other traffic on the highway.  So this trip can run 30 to 45 minutes.  From the Metro in Virginia, it is about 45 minutes to New Carrollton at the other end of the line.  Then at New Carrollton, I can either have a friend pick me up with a car and drive me the last 20 miles or I can spend $50 for a cab.  I can usually count on about two hours for my trip from Dulles to Annapolis and a minimum cost of $15.00.  In fairness, it is 63 miles from Dulles to Annapolis, but this whole experience underscores what an island our fair city is without viable public transportation options. I could ask friends for rides to and from the airport but one experience of driving from Annapolis to Dulles could be friendship-ending. 
After living in Europe, I find myself asking why are the transportation options from a major international airport to our nation’s capital so difficult?   I understand we are a car-based society and where automobiles are the best option, we should use them.  But riding in a car or bus on I-66 is clearly not a good option most times of the day and a regular dose of this abuse could lead to insanity.  As I ride the bus in stop and go traffic, I find myself dreaming about an express train that runs from Dulles to Union Station and even crazier, a train from Washington, DC to Annapolis.  Oh well, in the meantime, I will continue with my bus, Metro and automobile commute from the airport and just be sure and bring a good book.
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March 11 Mayor Josh Cohen (AT BB Bistro-West Annapolis)
March 18 County Executive Candidate Joanna Conti
March 25 County Councilman Chuck Ferrar

1 Comment:

John said...

There should be more options. DCA does have excellent non-auto transit options and was the first major DC airport built in 1940.

But the constraints of surrounding development prevented it from being too much larger--hence the need for IAD which was built in the early 60s.

The challenge I suspect, is the cost in running effective transit the 25 miles out to the airport.

Of course, interjurisdictional issues are another problem.

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