Our Views: Subway marks big birthday

The world oldest subway — or, as Londoners call it, The Tube — marked its 150th birthday recently, reminding us that alternative transportation ideas can take a while to attract public support.

“It seemed an insult to common sense to suppose that people who could travel as cheaply on the outside of a Paddington bus would prefer, as a merely quicker medium, to be driven amid palpable darkness through the foul subsoil of London,” The Times of London recalled in an editorial about the subway many years ago. For a more extended treatment of London’s subway — and the many other intrigues of London underground — we’d suggest “London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets,” a recent book by Peter Ackroyd.

Today, of course, we take the subway systems in London, New York and other major cities for granted.

Thinking outside of the box when it comes to meeting a city’s transportation needs can reap big dividends. That’s an important thing to keep in mind as Baton Rouge area residents think about ways to make the city’s clogged traffic grid function more effectively.