When asked how they would feel about seeing public transportation become a part of their rural community, Vermonters react in various ways. Some welcome the idea. Others, mostly former city-dwellers who do not wish to encounter vestiges of the city life, boldly announce, “If I see one public bus on my road, I’ll hop on it and leave!”
While it is important to preserve the historic qualities of our dwellings and neighborhoods, and the landscape that lends our rural setting its rich and unique atmosphere, it is also important to allow the transformations that enhance our enjoyment of modern life. It is all a matter of balance.
Thus, as cities naturally tend toward rural qualities; so do rural settings tend to incorporate urban solutions to the demands of modern work and life.
We often think in terms of extremes, forgetting that it is possible to meet practical needs with “organic” solutions. Many Vermont communities already offer a shuttle service that enhances the quality of life of residents and visitors who employ it, while harmoniously blending in with the rural life, pace and beauty of the community. Furthermore, this certainly contributes to our communities’ environmental and economic success.
According to a National Association of Realtors’ study, referenced in a recent WCAX article, our priorities have changed over the past seven years. In fact, the study reveals that, “More people cited increased public transportation as a need in their community.”
This is true in rural communities as well and it points to an interesting an inevitable phenomenon: As rural and urban developments take into consideration our changing values, both settings cannot help but migrate toward a balance where practical needs intersect with quality of life. More than this, they inevitably migrate toward each other.