I returned my “U-M Blue Pass” and became a foot commuter in June.
What does this MEAN? Over 25 years ago, I purchased my first “Blue Pass”. It gave me the opportunity to look for a parking space that wasn’t 10 miles away from my office but perhaps within walking distance. It didn’t guarantee a parking place only the privilege to look for a parking place.
I’d like to think my desire to reduce my “carbon footprint” on Earth by becoming a foot commuter was fueled by my desire to be a better citizen and not resentment.
What ever the reason, I started traversing the distance between my home and office either by foot, bike or bus. It takes about about 35 minutes by foot, 20 minutes by bus if I time it right and by bike 15 minutes. This felt like a big deal — I was giving up something right? (The privilege to park in a U-M lot and the fee associated with it.)
I didn’t anticipate what I’d gain: 1) 300+ calories burned each way 2) my new relationships with the community 3) time to think 4) extra cash in my checking account.
My first new community relationship was with the “Plymouth Road Troll.” You have the opportunity to bond with other commuters at this Plymouth Road light. I’m pretty sure the button doesn’t work. (FYI)
Early-on another “foot-commuter” filled me in on the details of the “Plymouth Road Troll“. While negotiating the steps in Plymouth Park I said, “where did some of the boards on the steps go, they were here yesterday?”
She said “there is a crazy man that rips them up and the City puts them back.” I could only stare. When my power of speech returned I said, “How do you know he is crazy? Where does he live? How do you know it is a man?”
My fellow commuter, with knowledge of the Plymouth Road Troll, was already gone, trudging down the street and I was left looking down the path from which we’d traveled.
I’m always on the watch for the “Plymouth Road Troll”.
I’m pretty sure I had a sighting once but that is another story.
I found this interesting sign along my path to work.
Holy CRAP now I need to watch for Indians and the “Plymouth Road Troll”.
Lets get practical the train and the homeless are a bigger problem. I have found that if I cut under the Broadway Bridge I could cut 10 minutes off my commute.
Yes this looks harmless but there is a person that sleeps here. I slip by quietly.
The next hurdle is the train tracks.
For some reason I alway feel like I should hurry and be super quiet.
Eventually I arrive at home or work and I’m thankful for the opportunity to meet other commuters, to think, to appreciate the beauty around me, to burn calories so I can eat more. Good Bye BLUE PASS! Hello extra cash in my checking account!.