As my semester abroad is winding down to an end, there are many things I will miss about England: the pigeons, the ten pound note with Jane Austen's face (she replaced Charles Darwin, one of her biggest fans), and the garden of the Worrell House, for example. Reflecting on these changes has made me realize all of the things about America that I wish were different. One of the most outstanding examples, particularly in Winston-Salem, is the lack of public transportation.
I guess that is sort of an unfair claim; Winston does have public transportation, mostly in the form of buses. I hear from my family that there are also a lot of public-use bikes that are popping up; however, I know from growing up in Winston-Salem that cars are really the primary means of transportation. Even at Wake, where there is a pretty good system of relatively nice, free shuttles, cars still seem to be the dominant mode of transportation for students.
I also love to drive. There is something liberating in driving in a car by myself. I leave at my own convenience, and I can listen to whatever music I want. I can drive exactly to my destination without stopping, and I can leave again whenever I want. I do love that.
For some reason, though, I like London's public transportation system even better than driving. It is usually clean, it feels safe, and, as long as I plan well, it gets me places efficiently. Plus, I like to walk, and since the tube rarely drops me off at my exact destination, I get to explore the city a bit whenever I go somewhere.
The only real downside is that it can be expensive. Otherwise, I just get to sit, read, listen to music, talk to my friends, or whatever else as I am brought to my destination.
Although I don't know if a city the size of Winston-Salem would benefit from an underground, I think it would at least benefit from more walking paths. While buses and shuttles might work for particular stops, downtown is the only really walkable area. Perhaps cars would not be so essential if people could walk places.