Some of us probably remember that campaign slogan from a few years ago, “Orlando: You Don’t Know the Half of It.” The idea behind the campaign was to promote Orlando beyond its theme parks, and often that’s the way we feel about our public transportation options.
We don’t know the half of it when it comes to transit. Only 4 percent of Orlandoans use public transit to go to work, and about 87 percent of us are hopping into our cars — either solo or carpooling — to get around town, according to the U.S. Census.
That’s probably because while we have some public transit options, they aren’t the most convenient.
The Sunrail is a great option for getting around certain parts of town, but the keyword there is certain. The train doesn’t run on weekends or holidays, and while it will take you into Orlando’s surrounding areas, you still have to figure out how to get from the station to your final destination. Ack!
Some of those gaps may be filled through pedestrian improvements proposed in Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Vision Zero plan (a plan that was first implemented in Sweden in the 90’s). But that’s a longer term plan – with an emphasis on aimed at eliminating traffic deaths by 2040. 2040! By then, we’ll be as old as our grandparents!
If you Google how to get around our city, the first suggestion is to rent a car! The second is to take the LYNX bus. It has over 60 routes and the rides are $2 bucks a pop. But still…. factor hanging around under the hot sun when you’re going home with groceries and your ice cream is melting out of the bag. Nope.
We’re still working on it. And we urge anyone who can to take public transit – because of the benefits. You’re doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint by not driving your car, you can probably avoid some nightmarish traffic by taking Sunrail, and if you’re headed to an area like downtown, you don’t have to go through the epic task of finding an affordable parking spot.
So that got us thinking: What would it take for more of us to get around the City Beautiful without our four-wheeled favorite mode of transportation? That’s the question we’ll be digging into with you this month.