Transportation here is suffering not only from the trees, poles, and lines stretching across major and minor streets, but also from the lack of electricity to power traffic signals and street lights. One can drive for a mile along a street with functioning traffic signals and suddenly face a string of dead signals requiring all-way stops. I need a special effort to remember to stop at dark signals, because I am so conditioned to responding to the illuminated signals. Riding last night through darkened sections of Cherokee Triangle and Crescent Hill required constant vigilance to avoid downed trees, storm debris, broken guy wires, and ordinary road hazards that would ordinarily show up in the light of street lamps. Confused drivers at dark, unsignalized intersections add to the danger.
We probably still have over 150,000 people without electricity. Many gas stations have stopped operating, either because of lack of electricity to pump the gasoline or because of disruption of their gasoline supply. Grocery stores without backup power supplies are losing perishable goods for lack of refrigeration. Gradually, people without electricity are losing not only the food in their own refrigerators and the electricity in their own homes but also the ability to go elsewhere to get food, wash clothes, or otherwise take care of business. LG&E says that it could take another 10-14 days to restore power to all of its local customers.
Enough of Louisville is back in operation now (including, thankfully, the office of Bicycling for Louisville) that most people can probably walk or take a bus to meet their immediate needs. Our transit system, TARC, is still working - though with much stress on their staffers working under difficult conditions to keep the buses going. Most Louisvillians will probably remember the aftermath of this wind storm as a major inconvenience but not a tragedy.
Nonetheless, it leads me to consider how little it takes to turn modern life upside-down. Loss of electricity affects our homes, our livelihoods, our food supply, and our transportation. Interruption of our gasoline and diesel supplies would have similarly far-reaching effects. Obviously, relying more heavily on bicycling for transportation would not eliminate all of these vulnerabilities. It would, though, improve our resilience to deal with extreme weather events and other disasters.