From Sally Arnold, Chair of the Friends of the Rail & Trail
These are tender times. The current health crisis affects us all. Yet we are not all having the same experience. Some people have more time than usual. Others are working more hours and have less time. Some people have been economically devastated, others are doing ok. Some of us have serious health conditions that put us at higher risk, others are robust enough to help others. Our emotional responses to the pandemic differ too.
Whatever your personal experience of the COVID19 health crisis, we want you to know that we care and we wish you the best. The team of FORT volunteers is all healthy and continues to work from home to realize our vision of an integrated transportation system uniting our county. We are getting much more proficient at the technology needed for remote meetings and many of us find it uplifting to be acting on a project that will create a positive future for our county.
At this time, the RTC has no plan to change their timetable for deciding what kind of transit to put on the corridor. So we cannot stop communicating with the decision makers, inviting our supporters to write the RTC, and sharing our vision of a modern, reliable, efficient, and climate conscious system that provides maximum mobility, car-free travel options, easy access throughout the county, and serves as many people as possible.
Of course doing all this while under the shelter in place orders is challenging. Our strength is in our capacity to deploy our smart, enthusiastic volunteers to talk to the public at farmers’ markets and other public gatherings like Earth Day, Open Streets, etc.… Social distancing precludes us from using this powerful engagement tool so we will need to learn how to use media instead and that may get expensive.
Seen from the heart of a pandemic, it is hard to imagine that it will someday be behind us, but that is what we need to do – have faith and keep pushing forward. We all have immediate concerns right now, but when the health emergency has passed, we want to live in a world with a transformed eco-friendly transportation system that connects our coastal communities. While we recognize that many in our community are suffering, we know we can’t slow down our efforts to win a robust public transit system that reduces our climate emissions. So, over the next weeks and months, we will be inviting you to participate in this effort in many different ways… writing to the RTC, letters to the editor, social media posts and of course donations. But if you’re struggling, please don’t feel pressured to participate. For me, continuing this work is an act of faith. It provides me an opportunity to work with people I care about to create the future I want to live in. If joining us inspires you similarly, I am glad we can offer you the chance to act positively. But if this is not the time for you, that’s ok.