Bob Ransford:

Masked like some furtive bandit, fearful of just being outside the four walls of my home with a compromised immune system, I walk along the waterfront as the sun rises in the early morning, trying to find some solace from weeks of mostly solitary confinement.

There are only a few who disturb their slumber so early on these days that seem like working holidays. How could I not acknowledge those who I pass at an adequate social distance? It’s basic human contact. At very least, it’s an acknowledgement that, if the passerby is not hidden behind a mask, I have nothing really to hide from them. If they, too are masked, a good morning greeting is a kindred-like act, admitting a mutual anxiety, a resignation to a certain desperation to survive. A simple “good morning” or a “have a good day” is a declaration that we are one — we are ALL in this together.

Perhaps it’s also a wishful act. Wishing that we will all continue to be “in this together”, with the “this” being the caring for the planet that we all share. Wishing for a togetherness or mutual resolve to face reality and tackle the big challenges that face us all. A mutual resolve that has long been missing. Could this be the dawn of a new reality?

A simple acknowledgment as we pass by each other.

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Excerpts from Jarrett Walker’s perspective on the importance of transit in a time of pandemic.  Full essay here from Citylab. 

In response to this emergency, major agencies are doing their best not to cut service much. … Based on my informal discussions with many agencies, the service cuts seem to be in the range of 10% to 40% at this point, far less than the roughly 70% drop in ridership.

Why are agencies behaving this way? Because they are not businesses. And if there’s one thing we must learn from this moment, it’s that we have to stop talking about transit as though ridership is its only purpose, and its primary measure of success.

Right now, essential services have to keep going. It’s not just the hospital, the grocery store, and basic utilities.  It’s the entire supply chain that keeps those places stocked, running, and secure. Almost all of these jobs are low-wage. The people using transit now are working in hospitals that are saving lives. They are creating, shipping and selling urgently needed supplies. They are keeping grocery stores functioning, so we can eat.

In transit conversations we often talk about meeting the needs of people who depend on transit. This makes transit sound like something we’re doing for them. But in fact, those people are providing services that we all depend on, so by serving those lower income riders, we’re all serving ourselves.

The goal of transit, right now, is neither competing for riders nor providing a social service for those in need. It is helping prevent the collapse of civilization. …

… even for those with the fewest options, the term dependent has allowed us to imagine helpless people in need of our rescue, rather than people that we depend on to keep things running. Everyone who lives in a city, or invests in one, or lives by selling to urban populations is transit dependent in this sense.

Meanwhile, if we all drive cars out of a feeling of personal safety, we’ll quickly restore the congestion that strangles our cities, the emissions that poison us and our planet, and the appalling rates of traffic carnage that we are expected to tolerate. Once again, we’ll need incentives, such as market-based road pricing, to make transit attractive enough so that there’s room for everyone to move around the city. That will mean more ridership, but again, ridership isn’t exactly the point. The point is the functioning of the city, which again, all of us depend on.

Let’s look beyond ridership or “transit dependence” and instead measure all the ways that transit makes urban civilization possible. In big cities, transit is an essential service, like police and water, without which nothing else is possible. Maybe that’s how we should measure its results.

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Only two days in isolation, and this moved to me to tears … of laughter and recognition.  Bloody brilliant!

The Marsh household, who live in Faversham, took to singing about things people had been complaining about yesterday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Dad Dr Ben Marsh, a history lecturer at the University of Kent in Canterbury, told KentOnline his family have been overwhelmed with the more than 400,000 views it has already received … “It pulled on all the experiences people had been complaining about – like not being able to work or play football – and it just seemed to fit really well with the song.”  (Click through here.)

Dr Marsh said his children – Alfie, 13; Thomas, 12; Ella, 10; and Tes, eight – have been in a few school productions but have otherwise had no musical theatre training.

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