Many hope for a day when discrimination does not exist in the United States. That day has not come. In my opinion, one only needs to examine the transportation policies of the City of Beavercreek, which is about a 15-minute drive from the University of Dayton, to find discrimination. The Beavercreek City Council has blocked the installation of 3 bus stops on Pentagon Boulevard, which runs near the Fairfield Commons Mall. This is despite the fact that the Greater Dayton RTA was prepared to construct and maintain the bus stops at no cost to either the city or the mall.
The lack of bus access in this area disproportionately affects minorities. In fact, 73 percent of bus riders in Montgomery County are members of a minority, 64 percent of which are African-American. While I am not sure of the intentions of the Beavercreek City Council, the lack of bus access near the Fairfield Commons Mall is discriminatory due to its disproportionate affect on minorities. Unfortunately, this denial of bus access in Beavercreek has negatively affected the search for work for many individuals.
Job counselors have complained that a lack of bus access in Beavercreek has prevented minority individuals from gaining employment. I heard one individual tell how, after searching for a job for many months, she had to turn down an opportunity in Beavercreek because she did not have a car to get there. Currently the nearest bus stop to the Fairfield Commons Mall is a 40-minute walk away. People who must take this trek are forced to cross a dangerous six-lane bridge with no sidewalks. Let’s not forget those with physical disabilities who rely on the bus to get where they need to go. Furthermore, the lack of public transportation along Pentagon Boulevard prevents people from accessing health care and education opportunities in the area.
Ultimately, the blockage of bus stops near the Fairfield Commons Mall is unjust. It unfairly burdens racial minorities, individuals with low incomes and individuals with disabilities. For these reasons, I urge members of the UD community to forgo shopping at the Fairfield Commons Mall until everyone is granted the opportunity to do so via public transportation. Instead, we can frequent malls in the Dayton region which currently have bus access.
There is The Greene, which is also located in Beavercreek. Or one could spend an afternoon at The Dayton Mall. Both of these malls have bus access. Furthermore, both of these malls appear to have a lower crime rate than the Fairfield Commons Mall, according to a Dayton Daily News article. So let’s refuse to shop at the Fairfield Commons Mall until the Beavercreek City Council has a change of heart and grants bus access to that area.
If you would like to learn ways you can help achieve bus access to the Fairfield Commons Mall, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.