Tonawanda News

Opinion

October 25, 2013

LEFFLER: In WNY, wheels are a must for upward mobility

Tonawanda News — Let’s go to Delaware Park for the day, shall we? 

I wonder what the best way is to get there. Let me cruise over to map.google.com and make myself a map. 

Type type click. Lockport, NY to Delaware Park, Buffalo.

If I want to go by car, it’ll take 34 minutes to go 28.2 miles.

But what if I don’t want to drive? There are occasions when I want to go to Buffalo and not have to drive. Or more accurately, not have to drive home. 

I could take the bus. It would take an hour and 48 minutes. More than three times the length of time it would take by car. 

Heck I could probably bike there just as quickly. Fortunately, Google Maps can figure that out, too — with freakish accuracy, I might add. By bike it would take 2 hours even. 

What about Metro Rail? If I add that to the equation, it shaves 34 minutes off the trip. But that’s assuming I catch it at the right time. 

Of course, taking the bus assumes that I catch it at the right time. Or for that matter, the right day.

See, NFTA buses don’t run in eastern Niagara County on weekends. Which, ironically, is the best time to go to Delaware Park. It’s also the most likely time that I’ll want to go to Buffalo without having to drive home.

Welcome to Western New York, where having a car is pretty much a requirement. Where we have a train system that travels a whole six miles in a straight line in the city of Buffalo and otherwise our “public transit” is buses, which don’t run on weekends in my neck of the woods. 

I have often joked that Western New York is still in the Bush recession. No … the other Bush. I’ve also wondered aloud whether part of the blame for that is our lack of mobility. 

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