Originally published in the Explorer (June 2013 edition).
“RVA Rapid Transit is going to bring rapid transit to Metro Richmond.” That is the statement on the RVA Rapid Transit Facebook page. I like the positive thinking. There is no hoping to bring, there is no trying to bring, there is simply going to bring.
You may be wondering, who is RVA Rapid Transit, what is rapid transit, and why should I care? RVA Rapid Transit is a grass-roots organization (birthed out of Richmond Hill) seeking to bring a transportation revival to our city. Rapid transit is a system in an urban area that transports people in a high-capacity and regular manner using dedicated lines. The DC Metro is an example, as is the Chicago L. Cleveland has the best Bus Rapid Transit system in the country and the type of system being proposed in Richmond.
Richmond’s public transportation system is constricted. Out of the top 100 largest metro areas in the U.S., we rank 92 in connecting people with jobs via public transit with only 27% of our jobs available to workers via public transit. None of our community colleges are fully accessible by public transit, keeping those who could most benefit from job training and skills unable to reliably attend classes.
As Christians, this should concern us. As members of this community, this should concern us. If we want to attract talent and businesses to our city, we need a first-class public transit infrastructure. Imagine the culture shock of young professionals from New York City or Chicago who navigate with ease their cities without a car only to find themselves stranded or severely limited in where they can go in Richmond. If we want to allow aging seniors to stay in their homes longer, we need ways for them to get around without having to drive. If we want to help the environment, we need to reduce the number of cars driving in from the suburbs. If we want to take seriously God’s heart for the poor, advocating for rapid public transportation is one of the most direct, effective ways we can tangibly help care for those in greatest need.
So what can you do? Sign up for their email newsletter. Like RVA Rapid Transit on Facebook. Pick up a red, blue, or green card from tables around the church and give it to somebody at work or school. Spread the word! Together we can work for the welfare of the city to which God has sent us. (cf. Jeremiah 29:1-12)