Yesterday marked the official end of downtown construction and the altering of traffic patterns to create a one-way lane for buses on two different roads downtown. This was meant to ease congestion along the routes and create headaches and additional revenue for the city as they ticket unknowing drivers who are confused by the expensive lights which direct you not to drive down the street. This change was so important to Minneapolis that Mayor R.T. Rybak was greeting sleepy-eyed bus riders as they got off the bus this morning to ask them how it all went.
After shaking hands with the mayor and having a video camera shoved into my face at 7:45 AM, I mentioned that I slept nearly the entire way to Minneapolis so I really didn’t know how it went. Figuring that inquiring minds would want to know, I paid a lot more attention to how smoothly this new operation ran this afternoon. While I still can’t really speak for the amount of time it took this morning, I will be sure to follow up below tomorrow morning. But, for now, we’ll just cover the evening’s commute.
1. For nearly two years I have been dropped off and picked up next to my building. Yes, I realize that there are plenty of others who were not so lucky. This now changes for the evening ride home. I now have to walk two blocks outside in the cool or four blocks through the maze in the sky to get to my bus stop.
2. When I finally get outside I am no longer greeted with an orderly line, mentioned yesterday by dawnmarie, as there is no room for one. Everyone is bunched up and confused. There is no longer any room for the long lines that the old stop was able to accommodate.
3. The stop we chose had a nice overhang which would protect us from the elements. Unfortunately it also protects the smokers who like to use it to stay out of the falling snow. Time to move them somewhere else don’t you think? I honestly don’t want to smell like smoke for the rest of my commute. I didn’t have this problem at the last stop.
4. Tonight I noticed no decrease in the amount of time that it took to get from my pickup point to 35. In fact, it seemed to take longer. This may have been an isolated incident due to the weather but it seemed like traffic was moving fine. It’s just that we were now one block up and two blocks over from our traditional route.
So basically my overall impression? It’s annoying, it was unnecessary, and I really don’t think it’s anything special. A lot of shit needs to change in order for me to appreciate the amount of money, energy, and traffic this “update” caused. But who cares what I have to say? There are plenty of you out there that commute to downtown Minneapolis every day, what did you think about the change?