Fri, Feb 3
Bustang by Myron, Post 6
Post 6 – The First (15) & Last (one) Mile.
Myron works for WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff as a Senior Supervising Planner. Myron commutes by Bustang from Fort Collins every day, and kindly agreed to write about his experiences for a series of blog posts. Read them in order starting with Post 1 – Hi, I am >BUZZ< and I ride a bus.
My last-mile options at the Denver end of the trip are different. I can select from six decidedly different trips to take me the one mile from DUS to work; three of them by walking, two by bus, and the one I have not used, bike sharing.
This week isn’t so much about Bustang. It is about how, as a public transit commuter, Bustang and its connecting modes get me from home to work and back again.
I don’t have a real mode choice for the first 15 miles of my trip from west Greeley to the US 34 Park and Ride. There isn’t a connecting transit service, and if I started riding my bike at 5:00 am on Monday, I might make it to the bus stop for Wednesday morning’s bus. Not having that much vacation time or a desire to huff and puff along the US 34 shoulder as cars and trucks wiz by at 65+ mph, I choose to drive. I would say that is typical of 99% of the Bustang riders at my stop, with the occasional bicyclist making up the other 1%. Note, I don’t see how people are arriving at the Fort Collins Bustang stops, and I assume some are able to take MAX or bike to the South Transfer Center.
But the Denver end of the trip is different. I can select from six decidedly different trips to take me the one mile from DUS to work; three of them by walking, two by bus, and the one I have not used, bike sharing. First on the bike sharing. Denver B-Cycle has stations near DUS and next to my building. Why don’t I use it? Because I like my limbs, and assume you all like yours too. So it’s either riding on the street where my limbs are in danger (which is the legal way), or ride on the sidewalks where I put your limbs in danger too. Trust me, there are bikers doing both, I just don’t want to try it.
So how can walking provide me with three different experiences? And do it all in a span of a block? Well, one trip can be made on the 16th Street Mall where every day brings a new smorgasbord of sights, sounds, and smells (note – I started doing this in the dead of winter. Spring certainly brought a more pungent set of smells to experience). One block over, the south side of 17th street is my usual morning walk. On the south side I am walking with traffic, including the buses running the 15 routes picking up riders at the ten stops between DUS and Broadway. There are people waiting, talking, smoking, and looking at their phones or up the street to see if that next bus is theirs. Residents at Hotel Barth sit outside watching us go by and there are homeless people sleeping near the Welton Street stop. Across the street, the north side of 17th doesn’t have bus stops, so everybody is hurriedly walking to or from work. I can walk quicker along the north side, but it just doesn’t feel as much like the city.
Along any of my walking routes, because of the bicyclists, screen staring walkers, and the occasional speeding driver I keep the motto “Pedestrian Beware” in mind. It’s a bit like playing football: keep that head on a swivel. Something I’ve noticed while walking – people in the city don’t walk everywhere fast because they are busy, it’s because they are hurrying to catch the bus or train.
Oops, describing my walking options took me over 500 words, so the last-mile-by-bus description will have to wait till next time.