Monday, January 4, 2016

Chicken and Egg, Columbia-Style

Went to see a movie in Glen Burnie the other day and paid $1.85 per gallon to fill my gas tank while we were there. Has anyone spotted a price that low in Columbia? I'm guessing no. There's an ongoing a) war b) battle c) struggle over gas stations within the Bubble. And there are a variety of ways to look at it. Some say:

  • More gas stations mess up the traffic flow.
  • Gas stations bring with them environmental concerns.
  • Increased number of gas stations bring down the quality of the area where they are located.

But then:

  • Why is gas so expensive within Columbia?
  • Greater competition would bring down prices.

While we are at it, perhaps we should be looking at improving Columbia's public transportation instead of putting in more gas stations. Appealing, easy to use and affordable public transit would reduce our dependence on needing to fill the tank so often. Wouldn't it? It depends on where you need to go, of course. Columbia isn't really laid out for easy commutes,Local Man excepted, of course.

But then there's the issue of parking. Columbia has scads of free parking. As much as we brag about the natural quality of Columbia Association Open Space areas, we don't often face the reality of how much of Columbia is paved over purely for the convenience of the automobile lifestyle. In order to make public transit the more appealing choice, the cost of taking one's own car must become more prohibitive. So that means no more free parking.

My head hurts.

At the moment I'm not seeing an organized push to significantly improve local transit. We don't even have a Task Force to study it. (Do we? We have so many Task Forces right now I may have missed one.) We haven't seen any new attempts to charge for parking locally. Yet.

So we're back to gas stations. Do you drive out of Columbia to get a better price? Would you like to see more competition? Or do you like things they way they are?



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