Friday, October 22, 2010

Stu's TDP before and after story‏. Story 3

I might not have the most dramatic pre- and post-TDP story to tell, as it has not yet been fully implemented near me yet. At this writing, neither the McKnight nor Mount Royal corridors has gone under the TDP knife. However, Perry Highway has, and this has most definitely affected my riding experience.

My house lies near CCAC North between the Perry and McKnight corridors, a little over a mile west of Vincentian Academy and McIntyre Square, a long but do-able walk from the 1D Mount Royal. Prior to the TDP changes, Perry Highway's 11C and 13C Express had very sporadic service. Some trips were bunched together, while at other times headways were very long, upwards of 75 minutes. North of my house, both 11C and 13C took very different paths, many trips using a particular path only once. This made it hard to ride a bus outbound to Northland Library, for instance, as it might take 4 minutes, or 15, to go that mile, or not go there at all. I could walk it faster and more reliably.

Headed toward Downtown, mid-day trips required a bus change in West View to a Perrysville or 500, making a 20-minute car trip a 75-minute bus trip. I often did it on a bicycle in much less time than the bus took, from 10 miles north of the city, less than an hour.

With TDP, commuting is different, but I don't know about better. Yes, the bus does come at very regular intervals, but it's only once an hour. I still have to transfer buses, sometimes with a zero wait, others 20 minutes. I have no service at all after 6 p.m., though I do have a new,
super-early 4:55 a.m. option.

What this has meant is that I hardly use the #9 Perry Highway, instead hiking the mile to or from McKnight for the un-TDP'd 12A and 13A, or the 1D Mount Royal. My road has no sidewalk, no lights, no shoulders, and poor sight lines. Yet I walk it 7 or 8 times a week, always in the dark. I get to see frogs and birds, but also potentially skunk, fox and large deer. You don't want a deer mad at you. They're big.

The bicycle is regularly becoming a viable alternative, even from 10 miles out. Not only can I beat the bus going inbound, outbound 12A trips with the bike on the rack on the front of the bus allow me to get home much faster than the 12A and a walk does, even faster than the old 11C used to.

I highly recommend combining a bike ride and the bus to get from place to place. While TDP's changes make the buses more efficient from the point of view of operating expenses, the bicycle reduces travel time to get to the bus. I refuse to be cowed by traffic on bike, any more than I refuse to be cowed by traffic on foot. Mostly I refuse to succumb to driving as the
only alternative.

The TDP is doing good, in general. For me, personally? The jury is still out.

Stuart Strickland
McCandless Twp.

About Stuart:

Stu had been a transit advocate for over 20 years. You can follow him on Twitter @bus15237 and you may want to visit his blog : Unicycle in Transit . He is living in McCandless Township with his wife and children, a typical white collar middle class family .

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