Transit Trekker Endorses The Transportation Bill of Rights

The shoulder of a 35 mph road on the outskirts of Bremerton, Washington state. The road is located in a relatively undeveloped area, so it is lined mostly with trees, shrubs, and gravel, with a telephone pole in the middle distance. There is no sidewalk. The asphalt shoulder is about 18 inches wide, with an additional 18 inches of gravel, then a little border of grass and a small ditch. It's not very walkable, and it's definitely not something that would be reasonable to navigate along with a wheelchair.

The shoulder of NE Sylvan Way in Bremerton, WA, on a recent Transit Trek to Illahee State Park.

Transit Trekker endorses The Transportation Bill of Rights.

The Transit Trekker Manual will, I hope, be a source of at least a little income for me. It’s also an opportunity to build support for increasing funding for rural transit. I’m navigating a steep learning curve when it comes to familiarizing myself with how and how much rural transit is — or more often, is not — funded, so that I can take every opportunity to encourage folks who pick up the manual to advocate for rural transit. While I have enjoyed Trailhead Direct, rural and exurban communities deserve reliable, frequent transit. Expanding rural transit will support communities while by default making much transit-based recreation easier.

I also hope that the manual can prompt the outdoor recreation industry to push for rural transit access. There are probably some economic development analyses out there that I have yet to come across, but I would be surprised if rural communities with better transit that are near to recreation centers aren’t better off after the arrival or expansion of that transit service. (If you know of any such analyses, please post in the comments.)

And, even if it is not the case that rural transit supports the outdoor recreation economy, transit-reliant non-drivers deserve reliable access to transportation, and the cost of providing that pales in comparison to the absurd amounts we spend on highway expansion here in Washington state.

Finally, I want to emphasize that transit access is one part of the Transportation Bill of Rights. It is a holistic framework that recognizes the confluence of almost every key issue we face, including housing security, transportation access, the limits of law enforcement, climate change, and climate justice.