Posts Tagged ‘cnn’

I commute to work, first by commuter rail, then by subway. It should take 1 hour each way but usually takes 1 hour 15 minutes — and it can take much longer as there are often signal problems, equipment breakdowns, lack of a crew, etc.

Still, I always say that it’s better than sitting in traffic. All the train commuters I know complain abut public transit and yet prefer to take it. We can sit and read the news or a book. We can chat with friends and strangers.

Now I see from a tweet linking to CNN that lots more people are getting on board.

Thom Patterson at CNN Travel offers his five reasons for believing that Americans are falling in love with public transit.

1. “Ridership is experiencing a winning streak. The nation is on track to top 2013’s annual ridership, which was the highest since 1956. …

2. “Americans are breaking up with their cars. Since 2007, Americans have been driving less, breaking a trend that had been rising for more than two decades. … The public transportation industry says commuters could gain an average annual savings of $9,635 by taking public transit instead of driving.”

3. Cities seem to like streetcars and trolleys. “In Oregon, Portland’s success with its streetcars in the early 2000s helped spur similar projects around the nation. New streetcar projects are in service, under construction or being planned in Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cincinnati; Dallas; Detroit; Kansas City, Missouri; Salt Lake City; Tucson, Arizona; and Washington. …

4. “Several city planners are pinning their hopes on spectacular new transportation facilities that combine transportation with other activities such as shopping and eating. …

5. “These days, jobs are where you find them, not necessarily where you live. Supporters say the need for faster, affordable mass transit between nearby cities has never been greater. Utah Transit Authority’s light-rail line called TRAX has connected communities within the sprawling Salt Lake County for 15 years. … Now, commuter rail lines have been proposed connecting other regional cities — such as Chicago with St. Louis, Dallas with Houston and Orlando’s airport with downtown Miami.” More here.

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Pamela Boykoff at CNN has a nice story about a ballet school in the Philippines and the hope it offers children from very poor families.

“Jessa Balote is 14-years-old and training to be a professional ballerina in Manila,” writes Boykoff.

“It is a task that takes enormous amounts of dedication for even the most determined of young women, but Balote’s challenge is nothing compared to life outside the dance studio where she has to support her entire family.

” ‘I’m the only one they expect to bring the family out of poverty,’ she says.

“Balote is one of 54 students enrolled in ‘Project Ballet Futures,’ a program run by Ballet Manila to provide free ballet training to children from some of the city’s most deprived neighborhoods.

“Balote lives in Tondo, a slum built next to a major waste dump in Manila. Her parents make what little money they have by selling trash. If Balote was not involved in the dance program, she says she wouldn’t be able to eat everyday.

” ‘They want to earn money to be able to survive,’ says Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, founder of the program and the Philippines’ first prima ballerina. She believes in her students, personally paying for their lessons and uniforms.

“Macuja-Elizalde’s goal is to help these children become professional members of the company with incomes to match. They are among her most focused students, she says, not afraid to work hard and to push themselves and their bodies.”

Read more.

Photograph: CNN

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Perhaps you saw this CNN story about a sports-loving boy from Soweto and his transformation into ballet dancer.  “Andile Ndlovu is one of South Africa’s most prominent young ballet dancers, an international performer and award winner both at home and overseas. But for Ndlovu to be accepted into the rarefied world of classical dance — which in South Africa is traditionally seen as an elitist and a predominantly white preserve — the boy from the rough Soweto townships says he had to overcome outdated stereotypes.

” ‘I used to be picked upon for the way I walk and the way I act or carry myself,’ he says of his time at school, where he became disparagingly known as ‘the dude who did ballet.’ …

“In late 2008, [his] perseverance was rewarded as he was offered a place at The Washington Ballet, one of the most prestigious dance companies in the United States. That year he shot to fame in a production of Don Quixote by the South Africa Ballet Theater. Now 23, Ndlovu has gone on to win awards at the Boston and Cape Town International Ballet competitions, as well as securing prominent roles in numerous ballet productions across the world. This success, he hopes, will eventually enable him to change conventionally held views not only of black dancers but male ballet dancers in general.

” ‘What I wanted was to change people’s minds in South Africa about black ballet dancers. I wanted to change that view, because everybody used to put it in a category for the elite people or, you know, it’s only for a certain racial group,’ he says.”

In this YouTube video, he describes how his sister was the one who gave him a push into the life he has now fully embraced. Speaking of her makes him smile.

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