Say something nice

Transportation people work hard at their jobs, too. We should say thanks.

From Jarrett Walker’s Human Transit:

When I redesigned Corvallis, Oregon’s bus system in 1995, the local newspaper’s coverage of the change focused on one senior housing complex, where people were enraged because I’d moved their bus stop around the corner to a different side of their building. Nobody in the local media cared about the dramatic improvements to mobility that the new network would provide. There are two morals to this story: (1) If your transit agency proposes a service change that looks to you like an improvement, send them a positive comment, because regardless of the proposal’s benefits, they’ll probably be bombarded by negative ones from people objecting to any kind of change. (2) We need better tools for making the benefits of a transit proposal visible to the ordinary citizen, so that a larger share of the population can make self-interested judgments that will weigh the advantages of a change, not just its inconvenience.

I realize Jarrett Walker (the very same Jarrett Walker who’s rejiggering our bus system as we speak!) is coming at this from a policy perspective. We need the folks with decision making power to hear from the people who support these projects, because they’re definitely hearing from the people who don’t.

But I think there’s more to it than that! It’s super draining to work long and hard on something you believe in only to end up with an inbox full of angry, grammatically-incorrect emails. I empathize! And, at least for me, while my brain knew that there existed people who were supportive of what I was doing, the casual “you suck” emails stuck with me—especially in the absence of a resounding number of “you’re great!” emails.

With that in mind: Here’s a (extremely short and totally incomplete) list of local folks pushing Richmond’s transportation systems forward (with all of their might!), and they deserve your kind words!

Who else am I missing? Who else do we need to shower with praise for their hard work?

And, as always, you can contact your elected officials (here are all of their email addresses plus the email addresses of everyone running for office) to tell them how much you love the Floyd Avenue Bike/Walk Street, or how excited you are about the impending bike share program, or how you just can’t wait for BRT to launch next fall. Those cats are on the receiving end of a lot of negative vibes, so a kind supportive word would be well received. Plus it lets them know that real people really do support these projects.


  • Sam reminds me to say thank you to your bus driver as you get off the bus.

Author: Ross Catrow

Loud clapper.