Public Transit is a Human Rights Issue Under Covid19

By Teka Lark (May 7, 2020)

More women take public transit than men, and more Black people are in car FREE households than anyone else. Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian American households are more likely to be in a car FREE household than white people. So it has always troubled me that upper-middle- and middle-class white men have continued to dominate this conversation. This conversation is intersectional. Open streets, human transit movement should be feminist. It should be Feminist with a capital F, but no it is far from that. The women in the human-centric transportation field seem to rather be viewed as the “cool girls” than stand up for other women and children. On Twitter, FB, in the media I keep hearing praises for carFREE BUSINESS initiatives that put people at risk and women at risk so that predominantly white business owners can make money. And I see women, with children co-signing on it, because of the pack dog mentality of movements that are male-dominated.

If you care about women and children, you need to speak up about the irresponsibility and selfishness of opening up businesses now —even if a bicycle is pasted on to it.

You need to say something about the vile new practice by urbanplanning/alttransit/bigdevelopment funded media trying to find the silver linings on opening up nonessential businesses, just because the streets are blocked off from cars. The workers that SERVE you and the public employees that bring them to work don’t live on the open street and often have to come on the train, the bus from FAR AWAY owing to redlining and racism to serve, work, so others can have fun.

There is no bright side to Florida (with horrible public transit) opening up because the streets with businesses happen to be blocked off from cars. The servers don’t live in the businesses, does that entire concept escape you?! If you’re Black, Latinx or white working class, you’ve probably experienced a two-hour commute for a piece of shit job, if you’re white, metropolitan and middle class, understand this: that is how the rest of us get to to work to serve you a coffee.

People are going to die because of this shortsightedness. Do people understand that people don’t live at their workplaces, that they have to travel, and all kinds of things can happen between home in East NY and serving a coffee on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan?

Men fine, I can see how middle-class white men don’t see this, but women in the carFREE movement–Black and Latina women are trying to eat, so I get why they are quiet, but white women — I’m not getting your silence on this madness? Being a feminist means sometimes being unpopular with guys.

This is a picture of Maryland of your essential retail workers getting to work, so maybe you can think about this before you co-sign on to some dude’s awesome idea of opening things back up.



“We Can’t Have Bike Lanes Because of Black People”

By Teka Lark (January 31, 2018)

When I first started in alt transit advocacy it was 2006, I saw Inconvenient Truth at the Santa Monica Pier and was convinced I alone was killing the planet. So I sold my Mini Cooper S and quit my job to start my art project: ShameTrame LA. It was a conceptual project that was actually supposed to be fun. I thought this would be great. I would be helping the earth and at the same time have a cool art project to promote me.

But you know what happened? It wasn’t fun. I saw a part of Los Angeles I never saw before, the poor part, the economically oppressed part. I saw the police harassing people for existing. I waited for hours with people who worked in retail, cleaned houses, and took care of rich people’s kids at bus stops for busses that never came. I almost was murdered daily on my bike.

I changed the name of the project from ShameTrain LA to The Bus Bench, because I wanted to be respectful to the LA that existed, but my middle class upbringing shielded me from.

Fast forward, I’m in New Jersey, and again, I think I’m going to create a project that pushes forward the environment and complete streets and bicycles. I think this will be fun, but then I run into “we can’t have a bike lanes, because of Black people” and “we can’t have open streets, because we’re too close to Newark, and you know, Black people.”

I read through urban plans that could be complete streets, pedestrian friendly, and inclusive of bicycles, but they aren’t, because RACISM takes precedent over safety, health, comfort, and the environment.

I seriously don’t get this. I get it, but I don’t get it. People will let their hate for Black people kill them and the planet. People will Trump the possibility for a good life that harkens back to a path that we have so much nostalgia of. The future is not going to be Disney’s Tomorrow Land with everyone in their own private vehicle; that just leads to Blade Runner.

What is wrong people?

And you know what is weird, if I hadn’t wanted to ride my bicycle up Sunset Blvd., I would have never known any of this. I would have just been in my car, looking for valet, thinking about the best place to get mimosas….