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The Search for True Mass Transit

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I live in the city and for nearly eight years I worked in the Innsbrook area. During that time I would have loved to have been able to take a bus to and from work but I instead drove my car and fought the traffic every day because there is no GRTC service into that part of the county. I tried taking the buses that go near the area, such as the Gaskins Express, but not only did this involve the inconvenience of a long walk, it became downright dangerous at times when the shoulder would disappear and you were suddenly left to thread traffic.
I was so glad to read Sara Dabney Tisdale's story, “Engine Trouble” (News & Features, July 7), about the problems faced by GRTC, especially in the counties. In recent years Style Weekly has given a lot of ink to mass-transit opponents such as the business owner who said the rebirth of downtown restaurants and retail came after a long fight to have the Trailways station removed, or the business owner who vehemently opposed using Main Street Station as a GRTC transfer center, because, among other reasons, it would bring the wrong kind of people into the neighborhood.

Not long ago I took Amtrak all the way from Richmond to Miami. There is nothing between here and there that compares with the beauty and grandeur of Main Street Station. Even the Miami station, though large, is a bland modern building located in a poorly lit section of town, next to an auto scrap yard. Unfortunately, like most people, I had to schedule my trip though the Staples Mill Road Station because there are so few direct routes through Main Street Station.

Richmond is the birthplace of the electric streetcar and it once had one of the best mass-transit systems in the nation. After World War II, there was tremendous expansion into the counties but our mass transit system stagnated instead of following the growth. How can it continually be said that Richmonders don't want mass transit if it has never been legitimately offered in most metro areas?

W. Henry Winston
Richmond

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