I’ve lived in Connecticut for most of my life. I was born here. I grew up here. I live here now. And for all of that time, I knew Connecticut as a driving state. Want to get dinner? You have to drive. Want to see a friend? You have to drive. Want to do anything at all? Get in the damn car.
But in the middle of growing up here and living here now, I took a few years and went away. And the place I went to is a wonderful little city called Boston. And in Boston, having a car isn’t a necessity or even a convenience. More often than not, having a car in Boston is a nightmare.
That’s because Boston is a train town. Want to see the Red Sox? Hop on the train. Want to cross the river into Cambridge? Hop on the train. Want to do literally anything fun or exciting? You can probably just take the train.
Of course, with each experience there were trade offs. In Connecticut, you have to buy gas, worry about car maintenance and road conditions, elect someone to be the designated driver, and (obviously) own a damn car. In Boston, you have to wait for the train regardless of weather, you have to make sure you have money on your subway pass, you have to figure out which stop is closest to your destination, and you have to make sure you end your night in time to catch the last train or you’ll be stuck.
And while waiting at a T stop in Boston in 5-degree weather was never my idea of a good time, now that I live in Connecticut and have to drive everywhere, you have no idea what I would give to have some train travel to get around.
I’m so desperate for it because Connecticut is so disconnected with itself. We have great cities like Stamford and Hartford and smaller areas like Fairfield, Norwalk, Westport, Middletown, and West Hartford that offer great restaurants and exciting nightlife. But those places are so spread out that they are borderline inaccessible when you factor in driving safely (i.e. – not drunk and not overly tired).
So, naturally, the dream is a rail system that makes sense for the state but also connects everything Connecticut has to offer. And, wouldn’t you know it, someone posted a map of exactly that on /r/Connecticut this week:
The problem is, this thing is only imaginary. Obviously, this map is not real or you probably would have heard about it. But imagine if it was. Could you picture yourself living in Rocky Hill but taking a high-speed train to Norwalk in less than an hour? Or, even better, could you imagine living in Milford but being able to go out for a night of dinner and drinks in Stamford without having to worry about who’s driving home or how late it’s getting?
As a state that exists between metropolitan cities like New York and Boston, it’s amazing how far behind we are when it comes to the idea of unifying public transportation systems. This map is almost certainly a pipe dream, but hell if it isn’t tempting. Give us this, and maybe we won’t complain so much when our tax bills are due.