Ode To Transit

Corona lockdown time has meant I walk a lot. I hestitate to even say it as a thing that someone else might read because it’s such a common thing that people are doing to get by. I queue up a podcast or moody music and the pup and I go forward with no destination in sight. It’s both a chore (pup has gotta go) and a necessity for my body and mind.

Yesterday I walked and started listening to an episode of The Daily. It was a reading of an article about the NYC subway and advocating for investing in it’s maintenance. As I listened, I walked past a group of young kids standing behind the rails of a bridge that spans the transit lines in Berlin and felt heartwarmed at their excitement over the S-Bahn traveling under their feet.

I have always loved public transit. It’s liberating to be able to go somewhere without driving or finding parking. I like listening to music, reading, people-watching or just daydreaming. Riding transit relieves some stresses; I don’t have to tend to the maintenance a car, pay for gas or fight traffic. Many years ago, when living in Cincinnati, I would load my bike onto a bus and head to work 8 miles away. After work I would ride home. While the trip took longer than driving it was exhilerating to experience the city in a new way.

The article describes transit as the equalizer in a city. It gives everyone, no matter their position in life, mobility beyond their neighborhood and a chance to expand their world. Now, living in Berlin, I get to utilize the city’s vast array of transit options. The network here is diverse and opens up both all the city has to offer and gives me easy ways to escape into the nature that surrounds Berlin. Transit has shaped my life and given me a connection to place in a way I would have never imagined.