Walking To Work

Today I walked to work. As the crow flies, it’s only 2-3 miles, with one large hill (downhill on the way there, thankfully) that I’m sure adds something to the distance.

And the logical question is, why did I walk to work today?

Let’s back up a bit. I take the bus to work, in downtown St Paul, from the Selby-Dale neighborhood. It’s an enjoyable bus ride, about 6-10 minutes, and the bus stop is no more than 2 blocks from home or work on either end. We’ve got the Metropass program at work, so it’s cheaper than driving and parking (and paying for gas, etc). So I only use my car for church and errands.

But last week the bus drivers went on strike. No more free transportation (OK, not free, but they take it out of my paycheck before I even see the money, so, kinda free). No more carefree, stress-free mornings on the bus (except when that weird-smelling lady sits next to you, or the guy who tried to pick you up once is riding again today….). Now, I’m driving. Not only am I driving, but in order to park in the cheapest spot possible (although yesterday I did see a lot that was $1/day, but I didn’t believe it) for $2/day, it’s a good 10-15 minute walk from the parking lot to my building. And it takes probably 10-15 minutes to drive to the parking lot. So instead of it taking 10 minutes to get to work, it now takes 30, and costs more (they’re still taking the MetroPass $$ out of our paychecks until the strike is over, and then we can request a refund), and is infinitely more frustrating. Yesterday one of my co-workers who lives farther from downtown mentioned that he’s been walking, as he is vehemently opposed to commuting, for ecological reasons etc. I realized that I agreed with him on that point, also having a distaste for commuting, and also loving the environment (although not enough to rid my life of plastic completely). And, I got it in my head that I should walk to work.

So I did. It only took 45 minutes, and I had my Walkman, and my ear-warmers, and I took out the trash, stopped by the ATM, and got coffee and a muffin, all within that time. I even forgot to walk briskly, so as to get to work quicker, because I was enjoying myself so much. Almost forgot that I was going to work, it was such a lovely stroll.

However, we will see how I feel about the “stroll” home. Uphill. Up the Cathedral Hill. I sense pain already. (The other foreseeable problem is good walking shoes that look appropriate with work clothes.)

There was a good article in yesterday’s Star Tribune [link removed] about the bus strike.

Also, if you would like to get involved, my bus driver friend tells me the thing to do is to write the Governor and request he make the bus driver’s “essential employees,” which would require them to work under their old contract while in dispute. Everyone wins that way. Well, sort of. As much as anyone can win in this situation.