On my morning commute, I leave our apartment at 6:55. The 47 bus arrives at 7:04. That’s the only part of my commute when I’m truly aware of the time. When I arrive at the Westlake Station platform, sometimes I wait a few seconds for a Link train – sometimes I wait a few minutes. (It depends on traffic lights, passenger stops, and many other factors.) I get to my desk somewhere around 7:30, and start work at 8:00.
I believe in a relaxed commute. That’s what the title of this blog is all about.
I can’t tell you how much time, if any, commuting home on Link has saved me, because I’ve never really paid attention to the clock. It feels like it all balances out. It feels like the time I save not waiting for the 47 at 4th & Pike is spent walking down the hill from Capitol Hill Station. It feels like the time saved by not having the bus stopped on Pike for lights and traffic is made up by having the train stopped between stations because of tunnel bus jams. But I don’t really know. I don’t really care, actually: It’s the enjoyment of the commute, not the time.
Phillip had the day off today, and I decided to try taking Link all the way from Capitol Hill to Pioneer Square. Not knowing what the difference in travel time would be, I left our apartment ten minutes early, at 6:45, just to be safe, and walked up the hill to Capitol Hill Station. I chose a path that took the less-steep parts of the hill, and that needed only two crosswalk lights. I got to the platform. The arrival time sign said I had a 3-minute wait. Then it said I had a 4-minute wait. (Those arrival signs need some work.) Soon, the speakers announced: “The next train, southbound, is arriving in two minutes.”
A 2-car train arrived, and I took a seat. I remembered to check the time: 6:55. I was leaving the station at the same time I would have been leaving our apartment.
There were no delays in the Downtown Transit Tunnel. (There rarely are in the morning.) I exited at Pioneer Square Station and walked toward work.
When I was across the street from my office building, waiting for the walk light, I remembered to check the time. It was 7:05. I was a little stunned, actually. The 47 bus was probably at Summit & Thomas, on Capitol Hill. Sound Transit had promised a 10-minute trip from Capitol Hill to Pioneer Square, and it was true. (Actually, it was less than 10 minutes, considering I’d already walked out of the station.)
I considered starting work early, but instead took a detour over to Columbia Center, bought some coffee, and did some reading.