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Sports Traffic Jam

This originally appeared as a post in the fediverse, which I have copied here for longevity.

So I go into Philadelphia once a week for a rehearsal and I used to drive because the train schedule looked inconvenient despite there being stations near my house and my destination, plus parking was the same price as the train so I may as well drive right? Recently I’ve been getting more frustrated with car-centric infrastructure, so I decided a few weeks ago to take public transit. It worked great the first week, so I decided to keep it up. Last week, I got to the train station and waited. After the train was a few minutes late I checked the SEPTA website and saw it was 15 minutes delayed. No problem, I’ll be a few minutes late but it’ll be faster than walking back home to get my car. The delay kept creeping up and eventually it said 30 minutes late and there was an alert the train was stopped for an unruly passenger. I gave up and drove, which was a good choice because the train hadn’t moved by the time I got there. I can’t complain there. Stuff happens and there’s not much you can do about it. I’m happy I have the option of driving when the train doesn’t work out.

Fast forward to tonight. I planned on taking the train again because the Phillies have the NLCS game tonight, Flyers were also home, and Mexico/Germany men’s soccer was also happening and my route goes past the sports complex. Public transit for the win, I can take the train and not have to worry about traffic at all. Except again the train was late. SEPTA website said there would be a 20 minute delay. Knowing it got longer last week, I checked Google maps which said I could drive faster than I’d get there on the delayed train, so I’d only be a few minutes late. I walked back home to start driving and what ensued was a 2 hour round trip in which I did not go to rehearsal, because I would’ve missed almost the whole thing because I95 was a parking lot between the Philadelphia airport and Broad Street.

I eventually made it home without significant issue. I know this is not a big deal and may be kind of whiny, but I think it’s a low-stakes look at the problem with a lot of infrastructure in the United States. Everything is designed around cars, so the public transit is inadequate because there isn’t enough public interest to justify improvements, but in many cases driving isn’t any better. Anyone trying to drive anywhere near South Philly couldn’t easily get anywhere because of the games and I saw tons of people flying Phillies or Mexican flags from their cars knowing they weren’t getting to the start of those games on time. The roads weren’t serving the goals of any of the people using them but there’s not another viable option. It’d be great to see infrastructure that actually serves people.